ABOTA's Mission
 

The American Board of Trial Advocates is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. First and foremost, ABOTA works to uphold the jury system by educating the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury.

 

Preservation of Trial by Jury

Educating the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury is the primary goal of the ABOTA Foundation. We have a number of educational programs for teachers and students to preserve the constitutional vision of equal justice for all Americans and to preserve our civil justice system for future generations. 

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Professionalism, Ethics, and Civility

ABOTA is an organization that requires its members to be responsible for elevating the standards of integrity, honor, ethics, civility and courtesy in the legal profession. Members cultivate a spirit of camaraderie and fellowship among each other and work to encourage and advance members of ABOTA professionally.

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Preserving the Independence of the Judiciary

Preserving the quality and independence of the judiciary has been a hallmark of ABOTA’s efforts over the years. ABOTA works to maintain and support public confidence in the judiciary by providing timely assistance to members of the bench in responding to adverse publicity, misinformation, or unwarranted criticism of an individual judge or the judiciary.

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Professional Education Programs

Masters in Trial
Los Angeles, CA
June 6, 2014
Click here to Register!

Masters in Trial
Hot Springs, AR
June 13, 2014
In Conjunction With the Arkansas Bar Annual Meeting

More Information to Come

Masters in Trial (In Conjunction With) State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting
Austin, TX
June 25, 2014
Save the Date!  
More Information to Come

ABOTA National Trial College
Harvard Law School
June 22-27, 2014

Masters in Trial
Minneapolis, MN 
August 21, 2014
Venue:  Minnesota CLE Conference Center
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
Columbus, OH
September 12, 2014
Date, venue subject to change
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
Tennessee 
September 19, 2014
Date, venue subject to change
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
Eastern Pennsylvania
October 9, 2014
Venue:  National Constitution Center
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
Montana
October 17, 2014
Date, venue subject to change
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
San Francisco, CA
October 24, 2014
Venue:  Milton Marks Auditorium
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
Seattle, WA
November 7, 2014
Date, venue subject to change 
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
Sacramento, CA
November 21, 2014
Date, venue subject to change  
More Information to Come

Masters in Trial
New Orleans, LA
December 5, 2014
Date, venue subject to change
More Information to Come

 


 

 



 

Public Education

Justice by the People  
Helping educators teach about the importance of trial by jury.

James Otis Lecture Series  
Educating students so they will have knowledge of and respect for the U.S. Constitution.

Teachers' Law School  
Teachers attend a modified law school specially designed for them.

Journalist Law School  
Supporting journalists who cover the courts consisting of a free four-day intensive seminar on the legal system. 
 

Spotlight
ABOTA Issues White Paper Showing America's Courts are in Peril
America’s tradition of impartial courts no longer free from political intimidation; fair resolution of disputes in danger
 
The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an organization dedicated to the preservation of a fair and impartial judiciary 
and the right to trial by jury, announced today the release of its white paper, “Preserving a Fair, Impartial and Independent Judiciary.” The white paper addresses a rapid convergence of challenges that threaten to impair Americans' treasured right to even-handed justice.
 
The American justice system — with its reliance on the rule of law, neutral judges and citizen juries — dramatically reinvented the legal realm more than 225 years ago based upon egalitarian principles. Recent history has shown increasingly frequent episodes in which judges, seeking to perform their duty to enforce the constitution and laws, have been subjected to unwarranted public criticism.
 

 

In the News
Lack of civic education does not bode well for nation
ABOTA Foundation to bring national decision makers together to reinstate civic learning in schools
 
In the last decade an alarming trend has developed that will have a long lasting impact on America’s citizenry. Most states do not emphasize civic education in their schools, which includes learning about the U.S. Constitution, voting, jury duty, government, law, current events and related topics. 
 
America’s school systems are in an era of dwindling budgets and expanding needs. Social studies courses — history, government, and civics — are not teaching the basics of American government, which is dramatically impacting the civics skills of students.
 
The trends have been well documented. The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests revealed that only 27% of fourth-graders, 22% of eighth-graders, and 24% of twelfth-graders performed at or above the proficient level in civics in 2010, the last year the civics assessment was administered to students across the nation. The percentages of students at or above proficient in 2010 were higher than in 2006 and 1998 at grade 4, not significantly different from the percentages in the previous assessment years at grade 8, and lower than 2006 at grade 12. 
 
A 2012 study by the Center for Information and Research in Civil Learning & Engagement at Tufts University showed that most states do not emphasize civic education and that only nine states require students to pass a social studies test to graduate from high school.
 
“These trends do not bode well for our nation,” said Michael T. Callahan, National President of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Callahan, along with a group of planners, have studied these trends and have been working to find ways to return civic education to American schools. But the road has been tough, they say.
 
“The ABOTA Foundation has supported civic education with resources to educate young Americans so they can defend the basic freedoms guaranteed to them by the Bill of Rights,” he said. He added that the ABOTA Foundation, the non-profit arm of ABOTA, produces Justice by the People as a free, downloadable, online resource at www.Scholastic.com. The 10 lesson plans and one interactive game focus on the basic freedoms of trial by jury and other constitutional liberties. The ABOTA Foundation also sponsors mock trial programs, lectures and a teachers law schools throughout the country.
 
Callahan said that while ABOTA has had success in reaching millions of teachers and students, there is no requirement for teachers to teach civics except on Constitution Day (every Sept. 17) when it is federally mandated for schools to teach about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.