Equal Justice Works fellow participates in trial advocacy training

Alyssa Phillips holds a two-year legal fellowship at CCH through Equal Justice Works, a prestigious national program. Alyssa’s fellowship is sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and AbbVie.

She was among 30 young attorneys participating in a training by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). The program was held at last week’s Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Conference in Washington, D.C.

We asked Alyssa to report on the conference.

National Institute for Trial Advocacy is the nation’s leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. NITA’s model is centered on the concept of learning by doing. The first day of the program the Equal Justice Works fellows selected learned strategies from practicing attorneys and judges about how to write and present opening and closing statements and engage in direct and cross examination within a trial context.

The following day fellows actually participated in a mock trial. Each fellow was assigned a partner and given a fictional case to litigate in front of a judge. The judges then provided feedback and suggestions on how to be more persuasive in a trial setting.

Through the training I learned how to write and present legal arguments in a more effective way. Through the NITA program I learned organizational strategies to more efficiently write legal arguments.

Alyssa Phillips at a Waukegan outreach session.

Having to actually stand up and present the arguments in front of a judge and other attorneys about an area of law with which I am unfamiliar taught me how to be a better orator. The strategies I learned will help me be a better advocate for my clients in and out of court. Hearing constructive criticism from experienced attorneys and judges was a great experience to have early in my career. I am very grateful for the experience.

Alyssa joined the CCH staff in September 2017, where her work includes legal outreach in the suburbs. She is a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School and Wheaton College.