“If there’s one takeaway from this entire thing, it’s if you’re arguing, you’re losing. No matter where you are in life — whether it’s a courtroom or with your significant other or your best friend or a complete stranger — if you’re arguing, you’re already down the wrong path, so take a deep breath, count to ten, and start over.”

TLC graduate and faculty member Renee Stackhouse (TLC Sept 2012) visits with host Rafe Foreman about the transformative power of TLC voir dire methods, both in and out of the courtroom.

Renee is a serious force in San Diego’s legal community, recognized equally for her tenacity, diligence, legal knowledge, and exceptional trial skills. As an advocate, Renee is lauded for her strategic and empathetic approach, and she is known as a leader in the profession and the community.

In this interview, Renee discusses how voir dire helps to identify the implicit biases that may affect a juror’s view on a case, and how honing your active listening skills can help you provide a non-judgmental, safe space for jurors to share their biases. “You have to be willing to be vulnerable with the jurors – to “show them yours” – before they will show up authentically with you,” Renee says. She describes how in voir dire (and in life), it is important to listen with an open heart and mind, even if you disagree with what someone is saying. “You have to provide a safe space for people to say what they need to say and feel heard, without trying to change their mind. That’s not our job. In a way, it goes against our training because we’re trained to pick a side and advocate for that side, but we have to give jurors the space to come to their own conclusions.”

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Episode Guest, Renee Stackhouse

In her years as a practicing lawyer, Renee has successfully represented clients in civil matters ranging from business disputes to construction defect and personal injury cases, while also growing a significant criminal defense practice. In addition, Renee has a strong military defense practice and is recognized for her understanding of military processes and protocols, and the nuances involved in representing service members in various matters. Her knowledge and understanding of the United States Military stem from her work as a civilian employee working in Marine Corps Community Services at Southern California’s largest base, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, from 1997-2007.

Renee’s zealous advocacy expands beyond her role as a lawyer – she is a dedicated champion of causes related to civil rights, diversity and inclusion, and equal rights for women. In 2018, Renee headed one of the state’s largest law-related associations, serving as President of California Women Lawyers. Her work with this organization inspired her new passion project, “MSheLE,” an online service providing quality continued legal education to lawyers geared towards issues women face in the profession.

Renee earned her J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, graduating magna cum laude, and earned a B.S. in Management and Marketing from Park University, also graduating magna cum laude.  She is a 2012 graduate and a faculty member of the Trial Lawyers College. She earned a Women in Leadership Executive Certificate from Cornell University in 2019.

Though she has myriad professional accomplishments, Renee is most proud of the small human she created with her husband, Phil; their son Gabriel.


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