“It was the best professional decision I have made in my life and the best three weeks of growth as an attorney that I’ve had in twenty-one years of practice. I discovered I was in my ‘lawyer head’ instead of in my heart, which kept me from being the best lawyer I can be. I can tell you these words, but until you experience it for yourself, you will never understand.”
Jon Hawk is a personal injury trial attorney in Macon, Georgia who has tried cases before juries for over twenty-one years. He first attended TLC’s 5-day Psychodrama for Lawyers in 2017. This time spent at the ranch, and at this course (now taught as ‘Trial Skills Foundations’) piqued his interest, so he listened to episodes on the TLC Podcast and thought more about applying to the Flagship 3-Week College.
“I wasn’t sure if I would ever come back for the three weeks because I am a solo practitioner. But as the year went on and I listened to more podcast episodes, something inside me started to think gradually that ‘you need to do it; apply to the College and just commit to it, be gone for three weeks and things will be okay.'”
The Three-Week Colleges in July and September are TLC’s Flagship Course. Gerry Spence, TLC Co-Founder & famed Trial Lawyer started the College twenty-five years ago, in 1994, and then debuted a month-long program to immerse the students in an in-depth experience on a remote Wyoming ranch to learn the TLC methods which are based on ‘Psychodrama’ – the art of putting stories into action so one can actually see past events in their lives, thus giving them an opportunity to heal old wounds. After the first College, the participating trial lawyers quickly saw the possibility of using the Psychodrama methods in their practices and in the courtroom. Since then, TLC has become a unique laboratory, the only one in America, that is constantly striving to apply these valuable methods in more effective and more life-changing ways to the betterment of justice for clients.
From start to finish, this comprehensive 3-Week College teaches trial lawyers to take a fresh look at courtroom procedures with extreme detail and provides hands-on tools to help achieve justice, even as fewer jury trials are granted, and the playing field is tipped ever-more sharply to favor corporate and large government lawyers. Competent trial skills are critical to being a force in the courtroom, and TLC teaches that a trial lawyer’s power starts from within. Knowledge of oneself, as often learned through Psychodrama, gives the lawyer the capability to better connect with each person in the courtroom including the witnesses, the judge, and the jurors. Students learn the power of TLC’s methods that come alive through creative, spontaneous, outside-the-box innovations that better inform juries and move them to justice.
During the very first week, students work with TLC’s trained faculty to get out of their heads and into their hearts. Gerry Spence, who has long been critical of how law schools train lawyers to advocate in the courtroom, teaches TLC students that, ‘It all begins with you, and in jury trial, as in life, great power is born of being a person.’ Jon admits he felt a little overwhelmed during this first week but felt driven and more motivated than ever to apply these methods to his trial skills.
“In the first week, I was really impressed with the level of talent of the lawyers around me. I thought it was great they were getting to learn these methods at such an early stage in their career. I wasn’t sure I could measure up to some of these lawyers, but then remembered I didn’t need to compare myself because when that creeps in, we start making mistakes in the way we think. So I started to focus on absorbing what I was learning.”
During the second week, lawyers start to integrate what they learned into trial skills and how the personal is connected with the professional.
“Through the second week I started realizing I had better start taking notes, I must catch myself and really grasp this because I’m not going to have another chance. Then I began to swing into the second week learning the way to apply it, and it started to make more and more sense.”
The final week, lawyers continue to work with TLC faculty to integrate what they had learned during the first two weeks and improve their delivery and communication skills and apply all they had learned to their own upcoming cases.
“Going into week-three, a lot of us felt excited to ‘get back into it’ after a short break in Jackson Hole. At the end of the College, during our graduation ceremony, everyone was delighted that we had accomplished it! Several of my colleagues reflected with feelings of empowerment saying, ‘Wow! This was life-changing’, and a couple of my new friends told me they thought I was lucky I was going to try a case when I returned home.”
After Jon had worked on his case during the 3-Week College, he immediately returned home and won justice for one of his deserving clients in rural South Georgia.
“Two weeks after I left Thunderhead Ranch, I had a jury trial in rural Georgia, where it’s consistently been known as a hard place to get plaintiff verdicts. When I left the Trial Lawyers College, I felt I had all this great instruction and advice inside me but was nervous about applying it in the courtroom. I quickly learned all my training affected the way I responded to everything in trial. It felt so good that I wasn’t only successful, but more importantly, I was more authentic and comfortable with my jury. I was easily able to put the methods into action in the courtroom, and having it work in my trial, helping me better connect with the jury and seeing it all play out made me so excited. It was not a big verdict, but it was a very good and just verdict, and no one, including myself, thought we would obtain that result.”
Join the TLC Tribe, with lawyers like Jon, and Apply for the July or September College.
TLC-1 July 8-31, 2019
Deadline: March 26, 2019
TLC-2 September 12 – October 5, 2019
Deadline: May 18, 2019