Micronesian Legal Services Corp. is hosting training by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy in its offices throughout Micronesia.
MLSC offices in Majuro, Marshall Islands; Kosrae, Chuuk, and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia; and the Northern Marianas each had one or more days of trial advocacy practice in intensive workshops during the past two weeks.
The MLSC offices in Yap and Palau will have this training in the coming week.
The NITA trainers are Michael and JoAnne Roake, who live in New Mexico. Michael Roake is the director of NITA's Pacific Region Trial and Deposition programs, and JoAnne Roake has been a faculty member with NITA for many years. Both are energized. Each share many practical tips. Each provide both group and individualized comments.
The training in the CNMI occurred last Friday, Aug. 10, at the Guma Hustitia. The training was top-notch and intensive, on topics that included depositions, direct examination, cross-examination, and ethics, among other things. Participants each had time practicing skills on deposition, direct and cross-examination in a mock trial scenario with a case problem that had been provided ahead of time.
MLSC staff who participated in the training included Marianas Office attorneys Jane Mack and Dimitri Varmazis, Central Office acting director Ben Weber, and MLSC board of directors member Lucia Blanco-Maratita. Weber has participated in the training in the other sessions throughout Micronesia, so acted as a witness in the Saipan training, along with MLSC paralegal Frank Rogopes, and MLSC summer law intern Siniva Bennett. Paralegals Maria Muna Polly Anne Sablan and secretary Lolita Nazaire also participated in set-up, registration, and as observers/stand-by witnesses.
The training was specifically arranged for the benefit of MLSC staff, but because it is generally applicable and useful in all areas by trial practitioners, each office has opened its training to other participants. In the CNMI, a limited number of attorneys were invited to attend. The Bar Association CLE coordinator, Deb Fisher, promoted the program here and there was more interest than available slots for attendance, so the Bar Association held a raffle. The lucky 13 who attended the program at minimal cost (to cover a light lunch) were David G. Banes, Charles E. Brasington, Deborah E. Fisher, Nancy Gottfried, Braddock J. Huesman, Teresa K. Kim, James B. McAllister, Brien Sers Nicholas, Richard W. Pierce, Loren A. Sutton, Christopher M. Timmons, Colin M. Thompson, and Michael A. White. Attorney Jennifer Dockter participated as a volunteer witness.
The NITA training was made possible by a Department of Interior grant, about which MLSC was notified by Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (MP-Ind).
MLSC applied for the DOI grant and, according to MLSC acting director Ben Weber, it was “an amazingly efficient process” after the application was submitted. The training has been so successful that we look forward to more opportunities for such grant-funded learning. (PR)