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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I register or apply for a course? 

Registration is open to U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) who meet all of the following criteria: 1. The registrant is currently licensed to practice law in the United States;  2. The registrant is a member in good standing of a State Bar; and  3. The registrant does not currently represent insurance companies, large corporations or governmental entities other than legal services or public defenders.  Note: The Criminal Defense (formerly Death Penalty) Seminar is open to U.S. lawyers, death-penalty case investigators and mitigation specialists with permission of the Registrar.  Paralegals from qualifying law firms may attend the Psychodrama for Lawyers course with a qualifying attorney from their firm, and permission of the Registrar.

For the college’s current offerings, visit the Courses page.  Every effort is made to ensure that course information is accurate; however, changes or corrections may occur. Check the Courses page frequently because you will not receive e-mail updates from the Registrar prior to the course.  Course prerequisites are specified in the individual course descriptions.  

You can register online by visiting our Register for a Course page.  Register as soon as possible to assure a place in the course(s) you want to attend. If you delay, the course may be full (or the application deadline for the Trial Lawyer's College 3-Week Course may have passed).  Registrants will receive a confirmation notice via e-mail at the address provided during registration.  Registration is not considered final until payment arrangements have been made with the Registrar. 

All courses provided by the Trial Lawyer's College are CLE accredited by the state in which the course is held.  It is your responsibility to apply for CLE credit in the state (or states) in which you practice law. After you submit an online evaluation of the course you attended, the Registrar will e-mail you the paperwork you may need to apply for CLE credits.  For more important information, visit the CLE Credits page.  

If you choose to withdraw from a course, you may be eligible for a refund.  Visit the Payment, Cancellation and Refund Policy page for details. 

How are applications to the 3-week course evaluated?

Applicants to the Trial Lawyer's College 3-Week Course are offered admission on a competitive basis.  Admission decisions are made by the TLC Board of Directors based on the strength of your application and the overall pool of applicants competing for admission. Key factors include trial experience, the 850-word essay and character references. The board is interested in learning as much as possible about your personal qualities and background, as well as your professional experience and goals. We will not consider letters/emails of recommendation or other supplemental materials such as court decisions. The board will learn everything it needs to know from your online application. Requests for financial aid are confidential and are not considered by the board. TLC administrators consider requests for financial aid after a lawyer has been recommended for admission by the board. All financial aid at TLC is need-based.  All admissions decisions are made at the same time, not on a rolling basis. Decisions are made approximately two months prior to the course. Applicants will be notified via e-mail of the board’s decision (accepted, declined or placed on a waitlist).  Visit the Courses page for application deadlines, notification dates and detailed course information. You can apply online by visiting Register Now.

What essay questions are on the application to the 3-week course?

You will be asked the following essay questions on the application to the Trial Lawyer's College 3-Week Course: 

  1. In 850 words or less, please tell us about yourself and why you want to attend the Trial Lawyer's College 3-Week Course. For example, what life experiences have most shaped you? What is your greatest accomplishment; and what is your greatest loss? Please tell us about your dreams and your failures. We are not interested in the name of your law school, the clubs you belong to, your golf handicap, or your financial or social successes. We are interested in learning something about you, as a person. We want to know about your life goals as a trial lawyer, as well as what you hope to obtain from attending the Trial Lawyer's College. 
  2. Do you need financial assistance? If yes, in 100 words or less, please explain your circumstances. This question appears on a separate page from the essay. 

Application Tip #1:  Prepare your answers offline.   In preparation for completing the application, you should prepare your answers offline. Here’s why: You cannot save your online application for later editing. You must complete and submit your application in a single web session, so please ensure that your Internet connection is stable and that your full attention is devoted to the task at hand. When you copy your essay into the application, choose "paste as plain text" for optimal results. Once you click "Finish", the application is submitted to our Registrar. 

In your application, you are asked to state any criminal convictions, list 3 (non-family) references, state any need for financial aid, and provide an essay. Please have all of this information at hand when you begin your application.

Application Tip #2:  Respect the word limits and check your grammar and spelling.  We anticipate receiving many competitive applications so please make certain your application is thorough and well written. 

Application Tip #3:  Apply early.  To avoid technical or any other last-minute problems, we recommend submitting your application at least 5 days prior to the deadlines, as follows:    March 8: Application deadline for TLC 3-Week Course in July 2017    May 3: Application deadline for TLC 3-Week Course in September 2017

What is the 7-Step Certification Program?

The 7-Step Certification Program is an alternative way to become a graduate of the Trial Lawyers College. Instead of attending  the Trial Lawyers College 3-Week Course, enrollment in the 7-Step Certification Program gives you the opportunity to complete 7 Regional Seminars and 1 Graduate Course over a five-year period. Upon completion of the program, you will graduate from the Trial Lawyers College.

How do I enroll?

It’s easy. No lengthy application is required.

You begin the process by attending a Regional Seminar and continue by attending your 2nd and 3rd Regional Seminars.

At the time your register for your 4th Regional Seminar, you will be asked to submit an 850-word essay (as you would if you were applying for the three-week College) for review by the Executive Director and select members of the TLC Board of Directors. For guidance on the essay, visit our Admission FAQ. Email your completed essay to the Registar.

All admissions decisions to the 7-Step Certification Program are made on a rolling basis. Decisions are made prior to accepting your registration for the Graduate course. Applicants will be notified via e-mail of the board’s decision (accepted or declined).

For additional questions, please e-mail

What courses are required?

Over a five-year period, you must complete eight courses:

  • Psychodrama for Lawyers (must be one of the first 3 courses taken)
  • Discovering the Story
  • Voir Dire
  • Opening Statement
  • Direct Examination
  • Cross Examination
  • Closing Argument
  • Graduate Course (must be the last course taken)

Some courses are offered as combinations of trial skills, for example Discovering the Story and Opening Statement. The Board will decide if that course may count as one or both skills for the 7-Step Certification Program.

How many lawyers have graduated from the 7-Step Certification Program?

The 7-Step Certification Program was established in 2006 and since then, more than 50 lawyers have graduated from the program. By comparison, since the Trial Lawyers College was founded in 1994, 1100 lawyers have graduated from the 3-week course.

Which trial skills will be taught at Regional Seminars in the future?

It’s important to plan ahead because we do not offer every trial skill every year.

For the College’s current offerings, visit the Register for a Course page.

Why doesn’t TLC provide Internet service or wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) at Thunderhead Ranch?

The Thunderhead Ranch is an isolated place of tranquility and it is an integral part of your experience at the Trial Lawyer's College®. The TLC Board of Directors has established The Thunderhead Ranch as an Internet Free Zone. This is intended as a gift to you to ensure that you have the opportunity to fully enrich your intellect, health and relationships without the continuous distractions and interruptions that the Internet causes. The policy is not intended to be punitive. We ask you to honor our efforts to provide an environment to all that is Internet-free. Some students arrive at The Thunderhead Ranch expecting to text, check email, and make and receive phone calls on a nearly continuous basis. Please don’t expect to do this! If you have an emergency and need to use the Internet, you can contact Laurie Goodman, TLC's Executive Director, and she will make the Internet available to you. While cell phone reception and Internet access is not available on campus, it is available on the hill directly behind campus, about a 5 minute walk. Your family and colleagues can leave phone messages or fax materials to you. If you want to use a land-line at The Thunderhead Ranch to stay in touch with your family and colleagues, bring a phone card to make long-distance calls from telephones in the dormitory.

What does it cost to attend a course? 
The cost of attendance includes tuition, room and board, course materials, and in some cases, shuttle transportation.  $1,699.00 for a Regional Seminar (Exception: Special format seminars) $1,899.00 for a Graduate Course $1899.00 for the In Defense of the Damned Seminar $3,950.00 for the Trial Lawyer's College 3-Week Course For detailed information, visit the Courses page.

How do I apply for a scholarship and how does TLC decide who receives assistance? 

Financial aid is awarded based on need only. Two types of awards are offered: scholarships and interest-free monthly payment plans. We use the information you supply on your registration form to make a scholarship decision. If you request a scholarship, the Registrar will contact you within 14 calendar days after you register for a course.  

What is the deadline to apply for financial aid? 
The priority deadline is 28 calendar days prior to the course. If you miss the deadline, you may or may not receive financial aid. 

Will applying for financial aid hurt my chance of being admitted to a course?

No. There is no disadvantage whatsoever in the registration process for financial aid applicants. Requests for financial aid are confidential. 

Will I receive the same amount of financial aid for every course I take? 
No. Award amounts will vary from course to course, based on changes in your financial circumstances and the availability of funds in TLC’s Scholarship Fund.


Payment, Refund and Cancellation Policy


What is your payment, cancellation and refund policy? 
The following policy applies to all accredited TLC courses offered in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The entire balance for a TLC course is due 90 days after the start date of the course, unless other arrangements have been made with the Registrar or Financial Officer. Any registrations made within 5 days of the start of the course must be paid in full at the time of registration. Tuition payments are only transferable to another TLC course within the same calendar year or to a substitute participant for the same course. 

Cancellations must be e-mailed to TLC’s Registrar, and

For all courses except Graduate I and Graduate II: Cancellations received at least 14 calendar days prior to the course will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 13 – 6 calendar days prior to the course will receive a 50% refund. We regret that no refunds can be made 5 calendar days or less prior to the start date of the course.

Graduate I and Graduate II Course Cancellation Policy: All students must remit a non-refundable $500 deposit at the time of registration to hold their space in the course. After that, the traditional cancellation policy applies.

Staff Training

2017 Staff Training will be held May 18-25 at the Thunderhead Ranch for current and invited TLC staff. Plan to arrive by 6pm on May 18 for dinner; the course will end at 5pm on May 25.

Please contact Laurie Goodman ( for more information.