Gerry Spence says “Constitutional rights are those rights that serve both the innocent and criminal alike. When such rights are wrested from the criminal, they are also taken from us.” As stated in the Trial Lawyers College Mission Statement; The Trial Lawyers College is dedicated to training and educating lawyers and judges who are committed to the jury system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals; the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression.
The Trial Lawyers College is comprised of a tribe of civil plaintiff and criminal defense lawyers from across the nation to have a place where they can learn the TLC methods that will empower them to fight for their clients and ultimately win justice in their cases. The TLC Founder and famed trial lawyer, Gerry Spence, created this College that is non-profit and trains only those lawyers who represent the people — not corporations, not big money, only ordinary people. Gerry said, “It is wrong to deprive people out of justice when they are entitled to it. I told myself, I have to do more because there are no colleges in this country and none today that teach ‘peoples’ lawyers’; lawyers who fight for the rights of people like you, ordinary people who go down the life of their lives doing the right thing and then suddenly they wake up and have been injured, or their loved ones have been injured, or they’ve been charged with crimes that they haven’t committed. It never happens to any of us, until it happens.”
Many of the TLC tribe of lawyers fight in the deep realms of the justice system with practices in areas of civil rights, capital murders, birth injuries, consumer protection, trucking accidents, first amendment litigation, death penalty, juvenile advocacy, among many, many more. And all these lawyers have taken what they learn at TLC to change their professional practices, their personal lives, and ultimately, their clients lives. TLC lawyers time-and-time again fight to bring justice to the clients who need it most. Arizona civil rights attorney, Joy Bertrand, is an example of that. In September 2018, Joy took a civil rights case in Milwaukee for her 18-year old African American male client. After attending church service, Joy’s client was in the backseat of his grandmother’s car driven by his grandmother and another woman (both white) in the passenger seat, when they were pulled over by local police that claimed they were investigating an armed robbery, but they have yet to produce the people who reported the robbery. This case sparked wide media attention into police misconduct and what is constitutionally right and wrong. A notice of claim is now pending against the City of Wauwatosa for the September racial profiling case.
Joy Bertrand is an experienced trial lawyer based in Scottsdale, Arizona but practices nationally. She has a distinguished career in state and federal courts whose practice focus is on federal litigation with an emphasis in criminal defense, employment discrimination, and civil rights litigation. Joy’s teaching and research interests include trial advocacy, high-profile case media management, federal sentencing policy, and electronic discovery under the Federal Rules of Evidence. She graduated from the Trial Lawyers College in 2011 and joined the faculty team shortly after.
When Joy first started considering a specific area of practice, she did not think she would fall into civil rights. “When I went to the Ranch in 2011, there was a very difficult 1983 case out of Milwaukee that was heading for trial. It was really compelling to me. My practice profile changed after the Ranch to being much more open to 1983 work.” It’s difficult to fight government agencies with unlimited budgets who have every reason to fight and hide the truth. After Joy attended TLC’s 3-Week College, she became much more appreciative that doing civil rights work is a vocation and almost an obligation to her.
“With every one of these cases I do, whether they’re racial discrimination, police misconduct cases, or even pregnant women in custody, every time I say, ‘If this is what we know about, what do we not know about?’ I think it’s important in a watch-dog role to shine a light on police conduct and note that we are speaking for those well beyond the one client. If you have the stomach to do this kind of work, you have the opportunity to be a truth-speaker and to be a real change agent and that is what this country is in dire need of. I think even personally, these cases can be demoralizing, judges don’t like them. You’re in the midst, looking at a line-up of lawyers on the other side that are contracting with insurance companies or government lawyers bringing as many lawyers as they want and dealing with trained witnesses. If you fight those odds and that system, then I say ‘do it’. This work to me is at the heart of being a trial lawyer — facing down the government and demanding accountability.”
Joy is among the many TLC trained lawyers who fight for justice every day and fulfill the very reason Gerry Spence founded the College: to represent and obtain justice for individuals; the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression.
Are you one of these lawyers who seek only to provide justice for the people? To advocate for what is right in a nation that is so divided? Join us at an upcoming regional seminar or Thunderhead Ranch course. Come join a host of other trial lawyers who fight for the people, to learn the methods that will help you win justice for your clients.
Want to take it even further? Become a TLC graduate by attending the 3-Week College in July or September to learn from lawyers like Joy Bertrand and so many others who will teach you how to dive deep into the methods to win justice.
TLC’s July 3-Week College
July 8-31, 2019
Application Deadline: March 26, 2019
TLC’s September 3-Week College
September 12 – October 5, 2019
Application Deadline: May 18, 2019