“The most important thing to help people in the system is to address their thinking errors, and this all starts with their limiting, permission-granting beliefs and values about drug use or criminal thinking and conduct. There will be no long-term behavior changes without this work being done.”
In this week’s podcast, host Rafe Foreman sits down with Hawaii’s Stan Dokmanus, a Certified Criminal Justice and Addictions Professional and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, to discuss the overlap between criminal behavior and addiction. Throughout the episode, Stan draws from his extensive experience treating individuals with substance abuse disorders to give his insight into drug crime, the criminalization of addiction, and potential solutions.
Stan’s deep dive into this topic is centered on discovering the reasons behind an individual’s addiction and criminality, including how biopsychosocial factors can form the belief systems that fuel their behavior. In doing so, Stan asserts that professionals can directly address and change their client’s criminal behavior by touching their belief system, with the ultimate goal of offering alternative solutions to incarceration.
“We might be on different sides of a bridge but we’re both human. We can get closer on that bridge than we ever thought possible if we truly open up and try to listen and hear each other and find something in ourselves that connects with what that person has just said. You’d be surprised that we have more in common than we have different.”
In this week’s podcast, TLC graduate and F-Warrior board member Mike Smith shares his riveting testimony to the value of the TLC methods. An Atlanta-based workers' compensation and personal injury lawyer, Mike is a firm believer in the power of the TLC methods to positively change both the personal lives and practices of those who learn them, just as they did for him.
As you listen to Mike’s inspiring story, you’ll learn about the circumstances that led to his open embrace of vulnerability, connection, and storytelling in all areas of his life. From his first experience with TLC to his eventual application of the psychodrama methods in the courtroom, Mike’s personal journey has something that resonates with us all.
“The newspaper quoted, ‘the defendant hugged his lawyer after the verdict was read.’ That’s the relationship we had, and you only get there by caring about your client.”
In this week’s episode, TLC graduate and faculty member Jerry Bosch guides host Rafe Foreman through the ways in which the TLC methods helped obtain a not guilty verdict on an attempted murder charge, detailing the months he invested in discovering the story and innocence of his client.
As you listen to this captivating podcast, you’ll hear Jerry describe the value of the listening exercise in regard to an adverse witness. Jerry involves psychodramatic tools and techniques in this case to gain understanding from all sides, skillfully complementing this with improvisation methods to interview and cross the adverse witness. A true testimony to the success of TLC, Jerry’s thoughtful and reflective journey to not guilty is a learning experience for us all.
“They’re people who made a mistake. If you’re willing to put in the time and hold their hand through the process, they’ll never forget that.”
In this week’s podcast, Sarah Toney, a criminal defense specialist and TLC faculty member, discusses the world of DWI/DUI and the interplay between the TLC methods in both trial and pretrial settings. As a national leader in DUI defense, Sarah shares her insight into defending these crimes and how best to apply the TLC methods toward that goal.
From flaws and inconsistencies in field sobriety, breathalyzer, and blood testing to unnecessarily harsh sentencing practices, Sarah shines a light on a range of statutory issues, exploring the many ways in which everyday drivers can be subject to false accusations and rights violations. Paired with a comparison of laws throughout the nation, this episode gives listeners a comprehensive inside look at DUI defense to help them better navigate this complex legal landscape in their own practices.
Chris Trundy, a TLC faculty member from Massachusetts, discusses the delicate and powerful issue of institutional racism in the United States court system and the crossroads between civil prosecution of these claims and the TLC methods.
Standing among the top trial lawyers and psychodrama experts in America, Chris’ career took off in the early 90s when he served Massachusetts as a private court-appointed lawyer. Despite taking a high volume of cases and seeing first-hand how institutional racism impacted the lives of those he was representing, Chris is open about his initial skepticism.
As you listen to this week’s podcast, you’ll learn the stories and circumstances that influenced Chris’ burgeoning awareness — from sentencing biases to poor jury diversity — and gain invaluable insight into the ways that judges and trial lawyers can propel change from the inner workings of the justice system.
In this riveting interview, TLC alum and faculty member Max Mitchell draws upon his extensive experience representing Missouri’s most vulnerable criminal defendants to passionately and earnestly identify the good, the bad, and the ugly in the criminal justice system.
As a district public defender in Sedalia, Missouri, Max represents individuals with charges ranging from DWI to first-degree murder. This role has given him an inside look at the destructive effects that limited funding, insufficient resources, and unjust sentencing practices can have on the lives of individuals facing criminal charges in Missouri.
The interview begins with a brief discussion on Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case which upheld a defendant’s right to effective counsel at every stage of litigation. Max explains that this ruling is not always applied as intended, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes for criminal defendants, who may or may not be guilty.
To illustrate this assertion, Max cites instances of overburdened public defenders with dozens of active cases under their belts, police failing to inform defendants of their rights to a lawyer during the interrogation stage, and courts failing to prioritize the distribution of public defender resources to those with the most dire financial needs. He also shines a light on other, more overarching flaws in the criminal justice system, including the practice of keeping innocent people in jail when they can’t pay bond, biases from judges and prosecutors, and prosecution being based on the defendant’s history rather than the crime itself.
It is our hope that introducing these issues to our listeners will inspire them to begin thinking about how they can solve them. For more information on how you can gain the skills to make lasting change in the system, we invite you to browse our selection of TLC courses
TLC alum Greg Antollino (TLC July 2003) discusses his recent Supreme Court victory, in which the SCOTUS ruled that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited under federal civil rights laws. Greg's client was dismissed by his employer after a customer complained that he revealed his sexual orientation to her during the course of his work.
Greg's client passed before the SCOTUS decision, but Greg persevered on behalf of his client and all LGBTQ Americans.
The June decision represents the most significant LGBTQ ruling since the SCOTUS legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
In this wide-ranging interview, TLC faculty member and former TLC Board member Mel Orchard lends his wisdom, knowledge, and experience to the issue of Civil Rights and qualified immunity.
Mel has served as a trial lawyer for over 27 years, and his passion for his work still burns bright. Here he discusses his concerns about efforts underway to further limit the liability of corporations for harm to their workers and to the public - an issue of particular urgency in the harsh light of the Covid-19 pandemic. "Of the three pillars of our democracy, our judiciary is still, in American life, the most respected," Mel says. "We still have plenty of good judges; we still have plenty of good lawyers. We officers of the court are responsible for this pillar of our democracy. But the powers that want more power have been eroding this particular pillar of late like we have never seen. This is just one more chink at the bottom of the pillar. Do you think workers' lives will be safer or less safe when businesses will not be held accountable for unsafe practices?"
Mel touches on the importance of truly listening and being present, in life and in trial, rather than trying to spin and manipulate. "All you can do is listen, hope to find some common theme that makes sense, then put your trust in these people and tell an honest story."
Mel calls on his fellow TLC alumni to come together as a family to serve one another and strengthen the jury trial system. "Let's not go back on the teaching. Let's pay it forward and continue to provide safe spaces for us to be creative. We've got a world to change."
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman talks with photojournalist Amy Katz about her experiences in covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon. In this episode, Amy shares how she was tear-gassed within 5 minutes of her arrival in Portland, despite being clearly identified as a member of the press. "During my first visit to Portland...the police really respected that we were journalists. They also were not attacking protesters...so I felt safe. But it was a totally different scene when I arrived back in Portland on July 21."
Over the ensuing ten days in Portland, Amy was tear-gassed over twenty times. "I realized that if I was going to do my job, I had to learn how to operate blindly, assuming that I would be tear-gassed and would have my eyes shut for considerable amounts of time. So I started to practice putting on my protective equipment with my eyes closed and then learn how to operate my camera...with my eyes closed so when I was blinded with tear gas I could still take pictures."
On July 29, Amy was shot with rubber bullets while walking in a single file line with several other journalists, their hands in the air waving press passes, their shirts and hats emblazoned with PRESS or NEWS MEDIA, shouting “Press!”. The shooters, wearing US military camouflage and gas masks, refused to identify themselves or the particular agency who employed them.
In this interview, Amy details the need and urgency for justice in our country and outlines the things that TLC warriors can do to help stop the chaos.
Protests are not acts of terrorism. Symbolic action is needed for free speech. But the government used tear gas and shot at the Press - hardly a symbolic act. The government attacked and assaulted the Press, protestors, and citizens who held their hands over their heads, saying "Don’t shoot!"
TLC warriors are needed to fight Civil Rights violations at a courthouse near you!
TLC alum and faculty member Mike Marrinan discusses how holding police accountable on modest abuse cases could prevent more serious cases.
Mike is a San Diego attorney dedicated to representing victims of police misconduct in state and federal civil rights cases.
According to Mike, police culture has developed in a way that encourages and accepts the use of more force than is necessary. This culture tolerates the militarization of policing and breeds more and more abuse, especially when no one is held accountable.
Mike describes how video has changed the perception of the public regarding excessive force and raised public awareness and increased support for changing the protection of qualified immunity.
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman takes you on a journey through the essential TLC Trial Skills, from voir dire through to closing argument. Gain insights on how best to integrate TLC's groundbreaking methods into your case as Rafe describes the how and why of the various skills and methods.
Listen as Rafe takes two jurors on a carefully guided path toward cause. Learn from the wisdom of Helen Simotas as her quote about "seeing" brings light and understanding to this program. Feel the tension between inclusion and exclusion, and carve your own path up that steep grade. Engage yourself on a deeper level and feel the emotions as you listen to the sage wisdom of Don Clarkson and explore the depths of who you are or want to be. Learn the difference between cockiness and humble confidence as you shake your core to embrace new and exciting opportunities.
TLC seminars return this fall with October seminars on Cross-Examination and Voir Dire, and continue in December with Discover the Story of Your Case.
"When you walk into a courtroom with TLC training...you're exactly what the jury doesn't expect a lawyer to be. You're a human being, and there is a common bond, and walls coming down between jurors and TLC-trained lawyers."
In this week's podcast, host Rafe Foreman talks to TLC faculty member and former F Warrior Alumni Board member Ron Estefan. In this wide-ranging interview, Ron discusses the strength of the F Warrior alumni organization and its efforts to keep TLC graduates engaged, active, and involved through the development of TLC regional programs, local working groups, TLC's Warrior Magazine, and many other efforts.
"It is so TLC to not let things keep us from what's most important to us, which is finding a way to connect with each other for the benefit of our clients," Ron says. He describes how the powerful in-person methods of TLC drove faculty and staff to look for creative ways to carry those methods forward into the virtual learning environment necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. "We have been training hundreds - literally hundreds - of TLC alumni in recent weeks in virtual refreshers, and the results are terrific. We can't wait to extend it to a full-length seminar in our virtual regionals this fall."
TLC's fall virtual seminars kick off in October with courses on Cross-Examination and Voir Dire and round out with Discover the Story of Your Case in December.
It began for us back in 1215, when King John signed the greatest document of freedom and human rights ever imagined. That document, the Magna Carta, established the full right to a trial by jury of your peers.
In today's podcast, TLC alum and faculty member Vicki Slater (TLC 2003) takes us back over 800 years to the foundation of our greatest freedom. Enjoy her recitation of a seminal case 400 years after the right to a trial by jury was established. An upstart advocate fought for his client, a Mr. Bushel, who dogmatically refused to be manipulated by the King. That advocate was responsible for the foundations of the First Amendment to the US Constitution as he was prone to practice his religion in public speeches.
Vicki then transports us to the present day, where current events still prominently feature freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the most sacred right of all, the 7th Amendment’s right to a Trial By JURY. Listen to this enthusiastic, entertaining, and educational journey with the perfect narrator, Vicki Slater.
Have you ever wanted to talk to the jury after a trial? TLC podcast host Rafe Foreman recommends it, and in fact insists on it himself. Imagine the insights you could gain from talking to an actual juror about the trial.
Today we have what is likely to be an epic podcast, and a first in TLC history. TLC Graduate Benjamin Cloward (TLC Sept 2013) recently won a $38 million unanimous verdict for an inadequate or negligent security case in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today Ben and one of the jurors on the case join Rafe to give you a few key insights into the trial, her role and experience as a juror, and Ben’s own unique interpretation of how TLC methods and collages helped secure this victory.
Ben reveals some critical insights as to how he accomplished this tremendous feat and how it impacted the jury from the point of view of an actual juror. The vulnerability shown by both of our speakers here today reveals their passion, their drive, and their sincerity. You will not want to miss this journey down the justice highway.
“If there’s one takeaway from this entire thing, it’s if you’re arguing, you’re losing. No matter where you are in life -- whether it’s a courtroom or with your significant other or your best friend or a complete stranger -- if you’re arguing, you’re already down the wrong path, so take a deep breath, count to ten, and start over.”
TLC graduate and faculty member Renee Stackhouse (TLC Sept 2012) visits with host Rafe Foreman about the transformative power of TLC voir dire methods, both in and out of the courtroom.
Renee is a serious force in San Diego’s legal community, recognized equally for her tenacity, diligence, legal knowledge, and exceptional trial skills. As an advocate, Renee is lauded for her strategic and empathetic approach, and she is known as a leader in the profession and the community.
In this interview, Renee discusses how voir dire helps to identify the implicit biases that may affect a juror's view on a case, and how honing your active listening skills can help you provide a non-judgmental, safe space for jurors to share their biases. "You have to be willing to be vulnerable with the jurors - to "show them yours" - before they will show up authentically with you," Renee says. She describes how in voir dire (and in life), it is important to listen with an open heart and mind, even if you disagree with what someone is saying. "You have to provide a safe space for people to say what they need to say and feel heard, without trying to change their mind. That's not our job. In a way, it goes against our training because we’re trained to pick a side and advocate for that side, but we have to give jurors the space to come to their own conclusions."
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman interviews TLC graduate, trial lawyer, and faculty member Greg Westfall on the transformative power of TLC methods in preparing for and trying a criminal defense case.
In this wide-ranging interview, Greg discusses the importance of meeting your clients where they are, rather than trying to make them fit an expectation. "People will sense if you don’t like them or are afraid of them. You have to love them. If you do, then you’re thinking about them – what they want and they need." Greg does what it takes to get a complete picture of his clients' story - going to their homes and walking their streets. "Going into the setting gives you a different perspective on the story than you get if you're just listening to the client tell it."
Greg is the faculty leader for TLC's intensive course for criminal defense attorneys, In Defense of the Damned (IDD), scheduled for June 2021. IDD students participate in two days of psychodrama, followed by breakout sessions on opening statement, voir dire and cross-examination using their own cases.
Greg says it is the job of the criminal defense attorney to forge an emotional connection between the defendant and the jury; skills they will learn at the Trial Lawyers College. "We are community people," Greg says. "We are people who live in groups. Your jury is looking at your client and asking, 'is this person one of us?' They are looking at the criminal defense attorney and asking, 'is this person one of us?' It's our job to help them see themselves in our clients and in us."
TLC alumna Ginger Ortiz (TLC Sept 2011) takes us through a deep exercise on getting in touch with our humanness. Through her own experience, she carefully guides us to help find the source in ourselves, our clients, and those we serve. She cheerfully reminds us that we must be vigilant in working on the mission statement to be inclusive worldwide.
"As we all learn together, and as we all grow together, it's really individual growth that is the most transformative,” Ginger says. Using her own brilliant example, we learn about shaking up the "snow globe."
According to Ginger, "Once we start working, once we begin, things start to happen." Exploring what is in your "snow globe" is often difficult, but Ginger does not shy away from hard work. She has made it her life’s work to help those who have suffered injustice. She has a huge capacity for holding people's stories, and for making space to be a receptacle for others. Ginger challenges us to answer; HOW do we punish someone whose life has been so scarred?
Milton Grimes is a true American treasure. He is perhaps best known for his representation of Rodney King, whose savage beating at the hands of police, followed by the acquittal of the officers involved, sparked the 1991 LA riots. In addition to being a long time TLC faculty member and serving on the TLC board of directors, Milton is still a very active community activist for freedom and civil rights for all. He recently marched in California with his daughter to show support for those who have been oppressed and killed with a knee in their neck.
Milton decries racism and cites a recent statement signed by all 9 justices of the Washington Supreme Court challenging the legal community to take concerted action in supporting racial justice.
Milton provides an inside look into the long-standing problem of disparate treatment while in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. This interview is a message of hope from a battle-scarred and true warrior for justice. Beneath his armor, you will find a heart as big as the sky. Tune in for the magic of Milton Grimes,
Host Rafe Foreman talks with TLC alumni and faculty member Ashley Parris (TLC 2008) about how TLC alumni and faculty are developing innovative working and teaching methods to cope with and transcend the challenges of recent months. Ashley joined the faculty team of the Trial Lawyers College in 2017, and in this episode describes how she connected with other TLC faculty and alumni to process individual and collective anxiety and stress, and how the group was inspired to reach out and help others.
"Whose hand is on your shoulder? Whose shoulder is your hand on?" Ashley asks. "This is the time to reach out to those people."
"We have all felt rejected and excluded at some point. When we drill down to the feeling and the emotions that sit behind it, everyone can relate to that. And that's the place that you need to get to. And that's why this work is so valuable. And that's why we keep practicing it, and why we're determined to keep it alive to teach it to others."
Host Rafe Foreman talks with TLC alumni and faculty member Caroline Durham (TLC Sept 2014) about the stone catcher's path. Caroline uses her wit and wisdom in sharing her perspective that we are vibrational beings and how we can reach across time and distance to relate to one another. "We are never really separated from one another, unless we choose to be," Caroline says.
Caroline's concept of "Sacred Friends" (they're not who you think!) will cause you to ponder your next move.
"The College will always have that psychodramatic underpinning, that self-discovery and true knowledge of self, coupled with love, the most powerful thing there is. You can be who you are and be powerful. You don't have to be anybody else. You are enough."
TLC alumni and Board member JR Clary talks openly with host Rafe Foreman about story and its importance. “A story must be told in a way that allows the listener to understand that from my own human experience I can connect to the story you are telling. It awakens within me feelings of, for example, betrayal, or hurt or pain or immense joy. And because your story is awakening that feeling within me, we are like two piano strings that once one has been struck, the other resonates."
JR has served on the Board of Directors for the Trial Lawyers College since 2010 and currently serves as the TLC Treasurer.
"During my trip, I learned that in Latin American culture, hummingbirds symbolize strength, hope and migration. I knew that I wanted to use that symbol in my paintings when I got home."
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman interviews Portland artist Janie Lowe on her travels along the US/Mexico border and the artwork that resulted from her journey. Explore paintings from Janie's Borderland Stories collection as you listen.
In May of 2019, Janie traveled from her home in Portland to get a first-hand view of the people and the environment along the border between Texas and Mexico. Her travels took her from Brownsville to El Paso, donating supplies and volunteering at respite centers, visiting with landowners, and seeking to understand and capture the struggle for survival along the Rio Grande river.
Janie discusses the efforts underway to construct a wall along the border and how the wall will impact residents, migrants, and the environment. "The closer we got to the wall, the more opposition there was to it. I didn't talk to one person on the border that thought it was a good idea to put the wall up and that it would do any good at all."
She shares how what she observed surprised her, saying, "I think that I expected to go down there and be heartbroken and see all this injustice, but you don't see people rushing over the river, you don't see this rush of people. You don't see the detention centers. What I did not expect was the hope that I saw and felt. That ordinary people step in and do what needs to be done for humanitarian purposes, just to help people out. People will step in and do things where the government has failed."
"I believe...we’re going to see an incredible explosion in everything that TLC is, everything that TLC stands for, and everything that TLC can be."
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman interviews TLC President John Sloan on the strength of the Trial Lawyers College. A TLC graduate and seasoned trial lawyer, John graduated from TLC in 1998 and joined the faculty in 2002. He was named to the Board of Directors in 2010 and has served as President since 2014.
In this interview, John shares his belief in psychodrama as the bedrock of the Trial Lawyers College, and as an essential tool in connecting with clients and jurors. "The surprising thing is that through the psychodramatic method, you're going to find something in common with everyone." John first discovered psychodrama at the Trial Lawyers College in 1998, more than 18 years into his practice. "I had had some success by then, but I realized at TLC that I really didn't know very much about what was available to me in the practice of law. I didn't understand the power that could be at my beck and call if I was willing to put in the work to...discover the story, discover the emotion of the story, to learn to love even the unlovable client."
John describes the challenges the Trial Lawyers College faces in planning seminars and colleges in the midst of a pandemic and discusses how the College might evolve in the future, from video conferencing to offering more advanced training at regional seminars. "We have an incredible staff committed to our method, who have worked their butts off for years in continuing our method, perfecting it, and figuring out better ways to teach it. The Trial Lawyers College is strong, is going to continue, and is going to be better."
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman interviews TLC graduate, trial lawyer, and focus group researcher Bruce Phillips on creative ways to continue to drive your cases and your practice forward during tough times.
In this wide-ranging interview, Bruce describes how he has come to see the importance of blending the personal with the professional, rather than trying to keep them separated, as a tool for bringing new insight and intuition to trying a case. An accomplished musician, Bruce describes how "TLC was where I quite denying that side of myself and tried to find a way to integrate it into my practice." Whether literally composing a piece for use in a video to be used in a case, or simply playing music as a way to relax his mind and look at the issues in a different way, Bruce says he has found that bringing more of himself into a case allows him to be more connected and creative.
In 2019, Bruce started exploring the idea of conducting online focus groups in addition to traditional face-to-face sessions. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic made the move to online essential and helped to promote broader use and improvements to web meeting technology. "While we're all sitting at home during this period of isolation, who else is sitting at home? Jurors!" Bruce says, encouraging his fellow TLC alum to explore this new opportunity. "Many of the TLC techniques can still be used in the online videoconferencing setting."
Bruce encourages TLC graduates to get in touch with him if they are interested in exploring the idea of online focus groups further. "Call if you're running your own focus group or you just need some help getting started. Right now is a wonderful opportunity to be of service to one another. The universe will bring it back in due time."