Having just returned from 5 days, 4 nights of “CLE” (continuing legal education), I am drained! Never before has CLE resulted in such an emotional toil. Seems incredibly strange. Interestingly, much of what I saw and learned was very familiar. It’s the way I instinctively try cases anyway. I’m not quite sure where that instinct came from. I’ve always sort of assumed most lawyers tried cases this way so I was surprised to hear they don’t. And, of course, I have seen so many lawyers in trial who do not work this way; I just assumed they were the minority rather than the majority.
I met some amazing people. I got to know some wonderful friends. I am lucky. I am blessed to have this experience, yet it’s an uneasy blessing in some respects.
This particular training, while titled Advanced Trial Techniques, is really psychodrama techniques training. Psychodrama is a practice that employs guided dramatic action to examine problems or issues raised by an individual. In our context, the problems or issues raised are related to our clients. I’ve always believed to help our clients we must be aware, empathetic, engaged, compassionate, understanding, and totally emerged into the details of their offense and their life. You must be willing to crawl into their skin and try to understand. As a criminal defense lawyer, that journey can often include a degree of depravity. But that’s how we cope with what we find and see through our work.
Thanks to my friends for taking this journey with me. Thanks to TCDLA (Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association) for continuing this journey.
Edit: 6-19-15: I am reminded of this experience as TCDLA begins to open registration for this year’s seminar. I cannot begin to tell other lawyers just how valuable this seminar is. It’s important to trial lawyers. It teaches an understanding that can not be ignored if you wish to be a successful trial lawyer. This advanced technique is not for the weak. It is for the strong. It is for those willing to explore themselves and the way they approach others – including juries. The good news is that it is something that we can learn when we are open to the process.