People so often are busy playing their roles that they hesitate to shed those roles to relate soul to soul. Just about everyone likely yearns to find people with whom to relate soul to soul, but is not ready to bare their soul to just anyone — and to trust them to keep all confidential — and is not ready to have just anyone bare themselves to them.
That is all the more why I get such a winning rush when I join together with lawyers applying the Trial Lawyers College trial workshop method, where we cut through and beyond any personal or case B.S., pretensions, posturing and promotion, and dive right into helping the on-deck lawyer move his or her pending trial closer to victory.
How fortunate I am that numerous quality area (in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia) lawyers experienced with — or ready to learn and apply — this approach gather monthly to help each other move their pending trials to higher quantum levels of preparation and to greater potential for success. These gatherings are true battery recharges.
At a recent trial workshop, we had three criminal defense lawyers, three civil lawyers, and a great psychodrama expert working with a civil lawyer on one of his upcoming jury trials. One of the lawyers served as director of the gathering, starting by asking the on-deck lawyer a little about his case, asking about what aspects of his trial he wanted the group to focus on, asking to introduce us to the key actors in the case in the first person, and asking to give us word pictures for the scenes of the essential parts of the story.
During this workshop, we engaged in the psychodrama of role playing and reverse role playing, which helps transport everyone involved to the center of the story while conveying the lawyer’s most persuasive version of the story, and feeling the case and conveying the feeling of the case and the feelings of the actors in the case, without descending to legalese and unnecessary argument minutiae.
Towards the end of our two-hour workshop, we went around the room, with each participant sharing with the on-deck lawyer after he has bared his self and soul, to return his skin to where it was, so that he may may move forward even more fully on the road to victory.
And from there, we all spent a few minutes together before departing, with small shoptalk feeling out of place, and with continuing to be our real persons the only way to go. A few of us got together for lunch, which made for an even nicer transition before all going in our own directions for the rest of this weekend day.
Wow! If only my return to court will involve such encounters. Some lawyers in the courthouse halls represent some of the greatest attributes of those who join in these trial workshops. Some other lawyers have the potential to reach such levels. Plenty of other lawyers do not want to tinker with their approach if they do not see their system as broken. We criminal defense lawyers must so tinker.