National Association of Attorneys General

National Association of Attorneys General National Association of Attorneys General

NAGTRI Completes Successful First Year and Schedules More Training

In its inaugural year, under the guidance of Director Chris Toth, the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute (NAGTRI) conducted 23 national trainings in locations that spanned the country — from New York City to San Francisco and from Tampa to Seattle. Along with our core courses in all aspects of trial and appellate advocacy, cybercrime, and bankruptcy, NAGTRI inaugurated courses in mortgage fraud, collections, and habeas corpus defense. We partnered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to offer training on intellectual property and with the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia University Law School in sponsoring a well-attended charities fraud course that included policy issues as well as specific training on the investigation and prosecution of fraudulent conduct in the charities sector. Finally, NAGTRI, in conjunction with the Conference of Western Attorneys General, trained 14 Spanish-speaking attorneys in the Attorneys General offices to act as faculty for 26 Mexican state prosecutors in a NAGTRI-developed trial advocacy course in Austin, Texas, in the spring.

NAGTRI faculty, consisting primarily of extremely talented and dedicated volunteer lawyers from Attorneys General offices, also traveled to 13 different locations to deliver mobile training. The 2008-2009 mobile trainings included computer forensics, ethics, trial advocacy, depositions, e-discovery, state defensive litigation, and ethics. These courses were conducted both at Attorneys General offices on the mainland as well as in Guam and Hawaii.

In all, NAGTRI provided training to over 1600 attorneys, paralegals, and investigators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five territories. These trainings were made possible both through the generosity of the NAAG Mission Foundation, which funded a majority of the courses, and the Attorneys General who lent the expertise, knowledge, and talent of attorneys in their offices to act as faculty.

Upcoming NAGTRI Courses

Knowing that he would be deployed to Iraq this summer for a year, Chris established a strong foundation on which NAGTRI can continue to build while he is serving overseas. NAGTRI has a variety of substantive course offerings already planned and more to come. This month an antitrust trial advocacy training will be held in Princeton, N.J., and hosted by Emily Myers, NAAG antitrust counsel. It will be led by Andy Rossner, the recipient of the first NAGTRI Faculty of the Year award. Much of the early success of NAGTRI can be credited to Andy’s vision and his dedication to quality training. Those who have had the privilege to receive trial advocacy training from Andy are well aware of his unmatched ability to encourage and teach the intricacies of advocacy. In September, Paula Cotter, NAAG energy and environment counsel, will travel to Lincoln, Neb., and in partnership with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, will host a conference for representatives from the prairie states on Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs). The course will cover the basic outlines of the federal statutes and regulations that govern CAFOs, right-to-farm laws, a discussion of state law approaches, the financial structure underlying feedlot operations, an ethical case problem written to reflect CAFO issues, and a panel inquiry into the future of CAFO rulemaking and regulation.

In October, Hedda Litwin, NAAG cyberspace law counsel, will be conducting a cybercrime training for prosecutors, in collaboration with and supported by the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law, specifically focusing on child pornography and other Internet crimes against children. In addition, NAGTRI will reprise its highly successful habeas corpus defense training in Austin, Texas, and a depositions and negotiation training in San Francisco, Calif. Karen Cordry, NAAG bankruptcy counsel, will again be conducting her sought-after bankruptcy training in Nashville, Tenn. Those attorneys who have been tapped for management positions may be interested in attending the October “Moving into Management” training that will be held in Madison, Wis.

In the spring, Dennis Cuevas, NAAG consumer protection counsel, will head to Indianapolis to provide a week of trial advocacy training. Prior to that, NAGTRI will host another “train the trainer” course so that we can increase the number of experienced attorneys who have been trained to teach using the method developed by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Finally, we are working on plans to once again partner with the Columbia University Law School’s Attorneys General Program to develop a charities fraud course.

The NAAG Mission Foundation has pledged the funds to cover the courses already planned for this fiscal year. NAGTRI is actively pursuing other avenues of funding so that we can continue to provide quality training and develop new courses for the Attorneys General offices. In the meantime, we have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Practicing Law Institute (PLI), which has generously agreed to offer its Web-based courses to attorneys in the Attorneys General offices on a pro bono basis. Information concerning the MOU has been forwarded to all chief deputies and NAGTRI points of contact. Once the point of contact in each office provides PLI with the names and e-mail addresses of attorneys wishing to take advantage of this offer, each listed attorney will receive information on courses that PLI offers and how to sign up for them.

In addition to the national trainings, mobile trainings are already being planned for Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas. Mary Winzenburg, NAGTRI program coordinator, serves as the primary contact for NAGTRI mobile trainings. She can be reached at (202) 326-6263 or by e-mail at

On the research side, NAGTRI published a brochure on student loan forgiveness for public employees and a manual, written by Dan Schweitzer, NAAG’s Supreme Court counsel, on preparing cert petitions and oppositions. Two consumer interns, funded by the Center for State Enforcement of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Laws, Inc., have researched issues of interest to consumer counsel in the Attorney General offices.

This summer, NAAG interns are working on various projects: updating the compendium of state and federal criminal environmental enforcement laws (available at; analyzing case law regarding prosecutions of doctors for violations of the Controlled Substances Act; examining the impact of global climate change on SEC disclosures, and researching a number of issues in e-discovery and e-health. We encourage states to send in suggestions for future research projects that NAGTRI might be able to undertake.

For more information on NAGTRI courses and research offerings, please contact Judy McKee, NAGTRI acting director, at 202-326-6044 or

Who's My AG?

Find the attorney general who represents you.

Meetings & Trainings

Stay informed of NAAG meetings and the NAGTRI trainings we offer.

AG Spotlight

Karl A. Racine, District of Columbia Attorney General

Karl A. Racine is the District of Columbia attorney general.