“I win because I’m the person who cares the most in the courtroom, not because I know the most.”
This week’s podcast features Kiesha Cannon, a captivating voice for the vulnerable and the accused, who shares her insight into the simple secrets behind effective communication and connection both in and out of the courtroom. Drawing from her equally-inspiring personal and professional journeys, Kiesha provides a stark reminder of the importance of living authentically and listening with an open heart.
“The whole point of psychodrama is to tell the story, and the ways that lawyers have incorporated this method to tell their client’s story with such love and interest and time and attention is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever seen another human being give another human being.”
This week’s podcast continues our ‘Words Matter’ series with Jody Anderson, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Psychodramatist, who shares her personal and professional insight into the impact of language on the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of a trial lawyer’s clients. The daughter of beloved TLC Psychodramatist Kathie St. Clair, Jody follows in her mother’s footsteps with a moving exploration of the power of authenticity and spontaneity in establishing a positive attorney-client relationship.
“They always told us in Tennessee, ‘Great songs aren’t written — they’re re-written.’ I think that saying could apply for us in our work as trial lawyers.”
In this multifaceted episode of the TLC podcast, host Rafe Foreman is joined by singer/songwriter and trial attorney Sam Wooden to continue our ‘Words Matter’ series. Offering his perspective on the connection between art and the performance of the trial lawyer, Sam shares the story behind his love for music and its parallels with his discovery of psychodrama and his application of these methods to win justice for his clients.
Armed with his guitar and his voice, Sam supports the link between the art of creating sound and presenting a powerful argument to the jury with a real-time performance of his music. This sparks a moving dialogue between Sam and Rafe, who draw upon their own experiences to solidify the messages of connection, compassion, creativity, and spontaneity that lie behind the TLC methods and the duty of the trial lawyer.
“How do you know that words matter? You know because they make you feel something.”
In this continuation of our podcast series titled Words Matter, Los Angeles Public Defender Kim Savo shares her insight into the connection between poetry and the presentation of a compelling opening statement.
A wordsmith by nature and a passionate advocate for the accused, Kim stresses the importance of emphasizing the emotion behind a story, rather than leaning on the facts, to move jurors to justice. Staying true to the TLC methods, her moving discussion with host Rafe Foreman offers a refreshing look at the artistry behind a trial lawyer’s words.
“As advocates in the courtroom, the truth carries the day, and we have the obligation to seek the truth, to speak the truth, and to correct lies and misstatements when they’re in violation of the truth.”
In this first installment of our four-part series titled ‘Words Matter’, host Rafe Foreman takes the mic to introduce the why behind this pressing topic. Why do words matter? What do words, particularly falsehoods, have the power to do? This timely episode, inspired by the recent events at our nation’s Capitol, explores each of those questions and more.
While Rafe doesn’t have a straightforward solution to America’s rising issue of weaponized misinformation, his words serve to encourage further thought, discussion, and personal accountability among those who hold the highest obligation to promote the truth.
“Our great-grandfather stood to fulfill a sacred duty...to do more than he ever thought he may have been capable of doing...at a particular time in the existence of the world for the survival of generations of all of us to come. The warriors that stand in courtrooms today—with their hand on a vulnerable, suffering person or their families—are doing that extremely honorable and important and courageous task of a warrior assigned the same type of commitment to help to make it a better world.”
This episode of the TLC podcast features brothers Harley and Robin Zephier, co-authors of the book Warrior Is and members of the Mnincoju Lakota people. In a captivating discussion with host Rafe Foreman, the brothers share their profound insight into what it means to be a warrior through the story of their great-grandfather, Mato Niyanpi “Saved by Bear”, a proud Lakota warrior who performed an act of commitment and courage during the Battle of the Greasy Grass in 1876, interweaving his legacy with the story of humankind as a whole.
By establishing a parallel between the values of the Lakota culture and the core mission of the Trial Lawyers College, Harley and Robin offer a refreshing perspective that transcends the boundaries of time and background. Tying it all together with the current turbulent political atmosphere of both our nation and our world, this episode offers a timely reminder of the importance of coexistence, unity, and interconnectedness and the role of the trial lawyer in upholding them.
“It’s not going to be a straight line from here to a better world, but what other choice do we have?”
This unconventional episode of the TLC podcast features Bernie Cantorna, a Centre County, Pennsylvania District Attorney who served on the TLC faculty from 1997 to 2016. As he catches up with host Rafe Foreman, Bernie explains why he chose to become a DA and offers his unique insight into the inner world of a prosecutor from someone who’s been in both shoes.
As a former general practitioner representing both civil plaintiffs and criminal defendants in a range of emotionally moving cases, Bernie saw a problem that needed to be fixed. Like a true TLC warrior, Bernie cleaned up a corrupt DA’s office by taking on the role himself, proving that it’s never too late to do the right thing. His testimony serves as a powerful reminder of the ability of the TLC methods to transcend occupation and make a lasting impact from all angles of the criminal justice system.
“We have a real power right now to change the world we live in and leave it better for the generations to come, but we must come at it from a place of love. We have to be brave enough to be the light.”
In the fourth and final installment of our podcast series titled “What Do Trial Lawyers Do?” TLC graduate and faculty member Jacqui Ford offers a striking reminder of what it truly means to be a trial lawyer. A passionate advocate for the accused in Oklahoma City, Jacqui discusses the meaningful differences that she and her colleagues can make on their clients, the courtroom, and the community, tying her remarkable personal testimony together with the values of truth, authenticity, and self-reflection that lie at the core of the TLC methods.
“Fighting is an end in itself if the cause is right, so you’ve got to keep fighting. Even if you aren’t having success at times, you’ve got to stick with it.”
In this third installment of our series titled ‘What Do Trial Lawyers Do?’, host Rafe Foreman explores the ins and outs of practicing civil rights law with Albuquerque, NM attorney Zackeree Kelin. Beginning with a deep dive into Zack’s experience contributing to the formation of the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission following the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, this riveting discussion could not be more timely.
Later on in the podcast, listeners are introduced to the practice of American Indian Law through Zackeree’s personal experience representing clients before the Navajo Nation Tribal Courts. A fervent advocate for the constitutional rights and basic human dignity of vulnerable populations, Zack is a TLC warrior through and through.
“Part of being a trial lawyer is being a good investigator — getting out of the office, visiting clients, visiting the scene, visiting witnesses, talking to people — and getting the evidence you need for your cases.”
In this second installation of our podcast series titled ‘What do trial lawyers do?’ host Rafe Foreman chats with Kansas City civil law attorney Tom Dickerson to discuss the ins and outs of representing personal injury plaintiffs. By exploring his own successes and setbacks, Tom offers a treasure trove of tips and tricks for burgeoning personal injury lawyers to elevate their skills both in and out of the courtroom and be fearless advocates for their clients.
From motor vehicle accidents to dog bites to medical malpractice cases, Tom has dedicated his practice to standing up for everyday people facing life-changing injuries by fighting against insurance company misconduct. This passion and know-how is channeled into this engaging deep dive into personal injury law, where he fervently discusses the progression of his career and everything he’s learned along the way.
“We help the people that have been neglected, left out, and desperate, and we give them life when everybody else has left them for dead.”
In this first installment of our four-part series titled ‘What Do Trial Lawyers Do?’ TLC graduate and faculty member Patrick McLain shares the intricacies, peculiarities, and triumphs of being a military trial lawyer. Hosted by Rafe Foreman, this engaging and informative dive into military law guides listeners through its unique structure and the ways in which it compares to other areas of the legal system.
As a military law attorney with an impressive track record representing military members, Patrick connects these topics with the Trial Lawyers College methods and the turbulent atmosphere of 2020. By bringing his story full-circle, Patrick’s insight epitomizes what both TLC and the legal career are all about: loyalty, community, and connection no matter what life throws our way.
“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.