January 01, 2019 ABA-TIPS/ABOTA National Trial Academy

ABA/ABOTA National Trial Academy

Presented by the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

The National Trial Academy sponsored by the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) offers a unique, interactive, diverse program combining today’s latest technology with the country’s top trial lawyers as personal mentors. With a three student per faculty member ratio, each student will receive individualized and personal mentoring. View our brochure for more information.

2020 National Trial Academy Leadership

Director: Joseph J. Ortego

Director-Elect: Fredrick H. L. Mcclure

Presiding Judge: Honorable Janet J. Berry

Presiding Judge: Honorable Lynn Simons

Here is What Past Attendees Had to Say About Trial Academy

"The Trial Academy was a life-changing experience! From the well thought out live demonstrations to the personalized guidance from the mentors, the Trial Academy should be a requirement for all attorneys seeking to refine their litigation skill set." - Julia Jones Wonnacott - Fidelity National Law Group

"The Trial Academy so closely resembled an actual trial that the participants- faculty and students-lost themselves in the experience: preparing and presenting witnesses, evidence, and arguments with the same passion usually reserved for real clients. Both the technical skills and self-confidence of the students improved daily and the commitment from the indefatigable instructors was unparalleled. It is definitely a worthwhile career investment and experience." Ileana Blanco - DLA Piper LLP (US)

“The ABA-TIPS/ABOTA Trial Academy provides personalized mentoring and training that sharpens advocacy skills for varying levels of experience. The Trial Academy blends a small group instruction format with daily ”hands-on” practice opportunities. The strict faculty selection process guarantees each student will have the benefit of learning strategies from the best and brightest of our nation’s litigators.  The experience is well worth the investment.“ Philippa Ellis, Director 2019 National Trial Academy, In-House - Home Depot

"The TIPS/ABOTA Trial Academy allowed me to observe the talent and techniques of some of the best trial attorneys in the country, receive individualized tips and feedback from my mentor, and practice each phase of a trial in a no-risk setting.  I walked away with a better understanding of the trial process and confidence in my enhanced skills as a trial attorney." Serena M. Warner, Esq. - Angelo, Kilday & Kilduff, LLP


ABA Midyear 2018: Hands-On Experience with the National Trial Academy

Fred McClure and Chris Marks talk about the National Trial Academy.


You have probably received many brochures advertising various trial education programs. However, the National Trial Academy, sponsored by the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) offers a unique, interactive, diverse program combining today’s latest technology with the country’s top trial lawyers as personal mentors. Our faculty consists of six defense lawyers, six plaintiff lawyers, district judges, supreme court justices, jury consultants, professors and technical engineers who are all seasoned experts in their particular specialties. Affectionately called the country’s top “Boot camp for Lawyers” in the September 2002 issue of the ABA Journal, the intense 4½ day program utilizes a wide range of individualized teaching methods and approaches not found anywhere else.

The TIPS Trial Academy will limit participation to just 36 students, approximately 18 each from the plaintiff and defense bars. Employing state of the art technology and instruction, including the use of a 21st Century Courtroom, the students will be exposed to a broad array of trial techniques and methodologies ranging from computer animation and litigation software technology to instruction on voir dire by nationally renowned jury consultants.

With a three student per faculty member ratio, students receive the most individualized mentoring available at any trial academy. Moreover, having faculty members and students who represent both sides of the trial bar, students will be critiqued from both perspectives and learn from each other on how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments as well as schooling on professional and ethical conduct in a courtroom.

The National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, is where it all happens. The National Judicial College is where practicing judges from around the world come to be educated in all aspects of trial practice.


Academy Highlights

  • Offers a unique, interactive, diverse program combining today's latest technology with the Country's top trial lawyers as personal mentors
  • Faculty includes expert defense lawyers, plaintiff lawyers, district judges, Supreme Court justices, jury consultants, professors and technical engineers

CLE Credit

The students at the National Trial Academy will qualify for Continuing Legal Education credits in all states. Students who attend the Trial Academy will earn approximately Thirty-Five (35)  - Forty-Two (42) CLE Credit Hours depending on which state you live in.

The ABA will seek 35 hours of CLE credit in 60-minute states, and 42 hours of CLE credit for this program in 50-minute states including 1 hour of Ethics Credit in 60-minute states and 1.2 hours of Ethics credit in 50-minute states. Credit hours are estimated and are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules. Please visit the program website at ambar.org/tips for program CLE details or visit americanbar.org/mcle for general information on CLE at the ABA.

This transitional program is approved for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys in NY. For more information about CLE accreditation in your state, visit ambar.org/tips or contact Danielle Daly at Danielle.Daly@americanbar.org

Scholarships Available!

ATTENTION TIPS MEMBERS: Scholarships are available for this program. For programs with tuition costs over $500, qualifying attorneys will receive at least a 50% reduction in the course fee(s). To request an application or receive additional information, contact Jeane DuBose at 312.988.5673. 

Who Can you Contact?

To ensure individual teaching and instruction, enrollment in the TIPS/ABOTA National Trial Academy is by application only. It is strongly recommended that any person who wishes to be considered for the 2020 TIPS/ABOTA National Trial Academy apply immediately. Please fill out the attached application and, along with a check payable to the American Bar Association, return it to Ms. Janet Hummons of the American Bar Association, Director of Meetings and Continuing Legal Education, TIPS, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654; telephone number (312) 988-5656.