National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Building Trial Skills: San Diego

October 5,2019 thru October 10,2019
Bahia Resort
998 W Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, CA 92109
Tuition: $2945.00


Are you ready to step into a courtroom with the ease and composure of a lawyer with countless wins at trial? What about walking into a tense negotiation showing so much confidence that opposing counsel settles the case rather than risks facing you in the courtroom?

For over forty years, NITA has offered trial skills programming taught by the best trial lawyers in the country, volunteers who donate their time and dedicate it to your professional success. Nowhere but through NITA can you receive personalized coaching by a veritable “who’s who” of advocacy experts—trial lawyers, judges, and law professors—from coast to coast.

This particular course features Keynote Speaker, Patricia Refo, Partner at Snell & Wilmer and President Elect of the American Bar Association. To read more about Patricia, please visit her firm's website, here.

Download PDF of the course brochure here


There’s no better place for you to practice what we preach than in a NITA classroom, where our advocacy instructors:

• help you break down what makes for effective openings and closings

• instructs you on how to direct and cross to greater effect

• demonstrates what are the best practices for admitting and using exhibits

• provides you with the tools to utilize the right tactics to impeach and rehabilitate witnesses

• a professional presentation and demonstration on how to put a focus group together and how to use them to win your case

• how to use technology in the courtroom. TrialPad will be available for the participants to practice using during the program


In front of the camera, you’ll perform each of these aspects of a trial, and learn not just from your own mistakes (and triumphs), but from those of your groupmates, too. On-the-spot video review allows you see and hear yourself the way jurors do. But unlike in a trial where the outcome is real, with NITA you get to make immediate course corrections and practice them over and over—with only your old habits at stake.

NITA’s “learning-by-doing” method, when practiced in the safe harbor of the classroom, allows you to feel more comfortable taking calculated risks and performing under pressure, without ever jeopardizing your client’s case or your own reputation.

The capstone of your training? Conducting a trial before actual jurors. Afterward, you’ll watch your jurors deliberate, then have a chance to question about the particulars of your performance. Within days, you’ll return to your office empowered to make immediate use of everything you’ve learned—skills that will serve you until the day you retire.


Now, you might argue that you don’t have time to leave your work and clients to attend a multi-day training session. Or maybe you can’t justify investing even more money in professional development after law school tuition and loans.

Our question for you is, what is your current skillset costing you in terms of confidence untapped? Leadership unstirred? Verdicts un-won?

Even if nine out of every ten of your cases settle before trial, when you learn trial skills by actually doing them, it translates into better outcomes for your clients. Whether you litigate, mediate, settle, or simply meet face to face with your client for advice, understanding the complexities of a trial empowers you to be a more influential advocate for your clients, in court—and out.

Scholarships are available for this program through the NITA foundation. Additional information on how to apply for a scholarship, can be found here


– Course Materials

– Video Performance Review and Feedback

– Interactive Jury Trial with Feedback

– Keynote speaker who will address why trial skills are important for lawyers in 2019 when ADR is taking over litigation. Past keynote speakers have included Chief Counsel to a major corporation, high profile national trial lawyer, and a prominent judge, all discussing the importance of developing litigation skills in today’s legal environment

*Qualifies as one credit toward the NITA Advocate Designation.


"I thought the course was excellent. I feel much more confident about my ability to do direct, cross, enter exhibits, present opening/closing statements, etc." - Sarah Fitzgerald, Thompson & Knight

"I am amazed at how much I was able to learn about myself, new techniques and effective case presentation. I gained more from this seminar than I ever thought possible, and I think this course is vital for any lawyer who finds themselves in a courtroom." - Mallory Deckard, Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn LLP

"I really enjoyed the course and thought the practice of getting on your feet and practicing the trial techniques was very beneficial. I also thought the instructors I had each day were very knowledgeable and helpful." - Jeffrey Basso, Campolo Middleton & McCormick LLP

Christopher T. Whitten

Superior Court
Phoenix, AZ

See Full Bio

Mary Jo Barr

Law Offices of Gilbert & Barr
San Diego, CA

See Full Bio

Susan Nolting Burke

4th Judicial District
Minneapolis, MN

See Full Bio

Maureen Reidy Witt

Holland & Hart LLP
Greenwood Village, CO

See Full Bio

Mark S. Caldwell

Boulder, CO

See Full Bio

Robert L. McGahey

Denver District Court
Denver, CO

See Full Bio

John W. Madden IV

Denver District Court
Denver, CO

See Full Bio

Elizabeth Espinosa-Krupa

Law Office of Elizabeth Espinosa Krupa
Denver, CO

See Full Bio

Tom R. French

8th Judicial Dist Court
Fort Collins, CO

See Full Bio

You may check in for the program starting at 9:30am on Saturday, October 5th  The program will start promptly at 10:00am on that date and will conclude Thurday, October 10th, at 5:00pm  The program will be held at the following location.
Bahia Resort Hotel
998 W Mission Bay Dr
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 488-0551

Participants are responsible for making their own hotel arrangements. Please contact the hotels directly for reservations and additional information.

Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa
3999 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109

Bahia Resort Hotel
998 W Mission Bay Dr
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 488-0551
Cut-off Date: September 4, 2019

Online reservations: Bahia Hotel
Toll-free reservations:

Group Code: NIFTASD


Once the facility has been confirmed transportation information will be provided.Parking Information

Once the facility has been confirmed facility parking information will be provided.Meals

Once the facility has been confirmed meal information will be provided.
Please let the program coordinator know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions.


Attendees are encouraged to wear "courtroom attire" during the program.  Not only might a lawyer's appearance have an effect on the trier of fact and is thus a matter of concern for the serious advocate, but it has been our experience that attendees dressed more formally than the usual CLE  attire find themselves more easily “getting into character” and presenting a more polished performance.  Dressing for court also provides each attendee with more realistic feedback when watching the recorded performances each day.  On occasion, there may be a casual day during the program that will be announced on-site. The hotel has laundry service. 

CLE Credits

All states have different MCLE requirements. Please make sure that the state(s) you require credit for were either noted in your registration or communicated to the Program Specialist prior to the start of the program. NITA will not apply to states for course approval after the start of the program. Please note that if you do not complete the program in its entirety, some states do not award partial credit.

For an estimate of credit hours by program type, please see below.

States Based on a 50 Minute Credit Hour:
Trial Program: 36-75 Credits
Deposition Program: 16-25 Credits
Specialty Program: 8-22 Credits

States Based on a 60 Minute Credit Hour:
Trial Program: 30-63 Credits
Deposition Program: 13-21 Credits
Specialty Program: 7-20 Credits

If you need to know the exact number of credits for a specific program please contact your Program Specialist.


Program materials will be shipped approximately four weeks prior to program's start date from our fulfillment company Wolters Kluwer. The materials packaging will be from Wolters Kluwer not NITA so please watch out for this shipment.

If you sign up 2 weeks prior to the course you will receive the case file electronically and the textbook will be shipped UPS Ground to the address on your application.

Pre-program preparation requires that you become familiar with the FACTS associated with the case file and/or problems.  In order to get the maximum benefit from the program, it is imperative that you prepare as much as possible in advance, as time for preparation during the program is extremely limited.  Please refer to the program schedule for assignment details to prepare for your performances in each workshop. 

Advocate Designation

Are you serious about developing a well-rounded foundation in advocacy skills?
Prove it by completing the NITA Advocate Designation program.

Be recognized for your NITA training! Achieving a NITA Designation allows you to demonstrate your expertise to clients and colleagues. Upon completion of your required coursework, NITA will send you a letter, certificate and an e-mail with a special graphic logo attached. Use these documents to demonstrate your advocacy knowledge through your website, advertising, etc. The NITA Designation logo will also be added to your Martindale-Hubble profile.

The required courses for the NITA Advocate Designation include one building trial skills course, one deposition skills course and one specialty course. The courses can be purchased individually but we also offer discounted package pricing.


(Total price if programs are purchased individually: $7135)

In addition to this trial skills course, here are the other upcoming required courses in your area: