“I’m reminded of a quote I heard years ago, ‘New York is the city that never sleeps’ but truthfully, it’s the city that is never awake, they’re like zombies; they need to de-familiarize themselves from their surroundings and routines to wake up. Going to the 3-Week TLC Course gives you that feeling of ‘OK! I am finally present; now I am awake’. One thing TLC’s Executive Director, Laurie Goodman said at my first regional in Georgia was,‘Stay away from your phone and emails; we want you to be present so we can have the opportunity to experience something special together.’” – Ibrahim Awad, 2017 Summer Session Graduate
After Ibrahim Awad (Atlanta, GA) graduated from the Trial Lawyer’s College in July 2017, his increased self-confidence led to making a $250,000.00 demand, more than 4 times the initial offer, months of returning home. It took spending hours with his client and employing the TLC methods he had learned to understand the extent of what was taken from this mans life.
Ibrahim went to his first regional in Georgia in early 2017, after which he decided to apply for the 3-Week July College. “I thought I would be cheating my clients if I didn’t take the time to better understand my practice and perfect my skills. I had no idea about the amount and depth of what I would learn.”
Since Ibrahim graduated from law school, he has felt the pressures of being a trial lawyer; the feeling of being numb, having nobody see what is being weighed on your shoulders, and feeling like no one knows the burdens you have as an attorney. But at the Trial Lawyer’s College, you’re invited to talk about those fears, you’re encouraged to dig deep into the emotions you’ve never been able to express, and for a rare moment in the legal profession, time slows down. Through listening, you learn how to empathize with your clients and colleagues on a level you never knew was possible. Ibrahim felt connected to his classmates within hours of arriving at Thunderhead Ranch. “When you arrive to your first TLC course in Dubios, Wyoming, you’re sharing a dorm room with another trial attorney. You’re depending on the help of others in the kitchen and you’re treasuring moments of companionship around the campfire with your colleagues. The interactions were never artificial, but organic.”
False Interpretations of Psychodrama
Psychodrama is often misunderstood, but at the Trial Lawyer’s College, you learn it’s a time and a method for students to connect and identify with each other, teaching trial lawyer’s to be able to do this with their clients. You learn it’s impossible to not empathize with your clients, colleagues and even family members on a much deeper level because every human being has gone through some trauma in their life. When we talk with someone who has dealt with trauma and are revisiting it in front of us, we instinctually want to help. Through remembering our own trauma and pain, it is easier to understand, be compassionate, and become connected to this person.
Ibrahim explains, “If attorneys never go to those depths, if they don’t peel back their own emotional fortresses, they only shoulder other people’s pains and struggles without relieving them. Even worse, attorneys often sacrifice their relationships with their spouses, children, and family members. They overlook investing time to better those relationships because they think that empathy is finite and can only be rationed out timidly. Since that emotion is being consumed by their practice, there’s nothing left for their family. Empathy can be seen as the never-ending sea on beachfront property; the more time we explore with our client, the farther we go into the sea with them. The person on the shore may look at you and say, ‘Wow, you’ve gone such a long way’, but only the two on the boat know how far they’ve gone and how much more there is unexplored. When you begin to extract the emotional content from these pains and struggles, the psychodramatic journey becomes a cathartic experience.”
Ibrahim’s First Settlement Following the Trial Lawyer’s College 3-Week Course
While Ibrahim was at the July College, he worked with his classmates and TLC’s faculty and utilized numerous psychodramatic techniques and re-enacted several scenes from his client’s life. This knowledge ultimately allowed him to negotiate a much higher settlement for his client.
A young man was injured in a car accident with his 9-month pregnant wife. The insurance company’s initial offer was $60,000. After Ibrahim finished his course at the Trial Lawyer’s College, he knew that offer was not nearly enough for derailing his client’s life trajectory. Even after discussing the details of the case with his client for several hours, Ibrahim realized that his client’s own valuation and that of his co-counsel was less than what Ibrahim believed.
“It wasn’t about the scale of his pain, it was that he couldn’t pick up his son because of the pain; the guilt my client felt, the shame, the embarrassment, the humiliation, the first chance of being a father and a good husband, was totally sabotaged by this drunk driver. I finally convinced both my client and co-counsel to send a final demand two weeks before trial for $250,000.00. That demand was accepted within two days. I called my client to inform him of the news, but he wouldn’t believe me. He thought I was joking. So, I forwarded him the acceptance letter from defense counsel, and he finally realized it was not a joke. My co-counsel, John Hadden, who has not yet done the Trial Lawyer’s College 3-week course, agreed to donate $5,000.00 to TLC because he saw the impact it had on our case, first-hand.”
Since the client had a congenital defect in his spine, there was a real risk in turning down the initial $60,000 offer, but after discovering his client’s story, he felt the confidence to go to trial to get the amount his client deserved. Fortunately, in this case, a trial wasn’t even necessary.
Want access to the interview transcript with Ibrahim Awad? Click here.
Ibrahim has been practicing law since 2012 where he graduated from Georgia State Law School. He is the founder and owner of the Awad Law Firm in Atlanta, Georgia where he specializes in criminal defense and personal injury.
Ibrahim plans to attend at least two TLC courses every year so he can continue practicing and embracing the TLC methods that have been immensely improving his law practice and personal life.