What is it that makes the closing argument such an important part of the trial?

From the moment you meet the client you always envision yourself standing before a jury giving that closing argument. It is kind of the most dramatic part of the trial. Everything works up to that crescendo. I think it is such an exciting trial skill and I also think it is one of the skills that you can be creative with. It can reflect your personality and I really think that TLC does so well because you can employ all these incredible skills and really put your mark and your creativity on it. That is what is so exciting about teaching closing argument.   

What was it originally that encouraged you to go to the College?  

It is like no other trial skills college. The focus on the personal work and the approach is kind of like no other. The fact that it is based in psychodrama was new to me but I knew some excellent lawyers that had been through the program and like I said it is unlike any other skills base. It is not about copying somebody else, it is about finding the power within you that sets you apart from other lawyers. Gerry is famous for saying “It all begins with you.”  I would add, “The power is within you”, to be exactly the kind of advocate that your client needs. I think that TLC taps into that.

What kinds of changes have you noticed in your own practice since starting with the College?  

I think my blood pressure has gone down. I think it is a much more consistent way to live and to practice. I am certainly a better lawyer as a result of it. I hope that I am a better person. 

What do you hope students will get out of attending this closing argument seminar in Georgia?I hope that for those who have not been to a TLC event before, that they will experience something that I experience every time I am with my colleagues — that special energy that just comes with our curriculum and our alumni.  TLC inspires a sense of creativity and collaboration and insight that just does not exist other places. These are top lawyers at the top of their games. It is really a laboratory where most creativity happens. I hope that people experience that because I think it is really refreshing. It is always recharging for me to go and be with people who have been exposed to or interested in the College.  

Is the collaboration better with return students?

You know, I think it is fabulous when there is a mix of new students and return students because everybody learns from everybody else. I think what is great about being through the college is everybody starts where they are at. We all have something to learn from somebody else. We are always, always working on our craft and ourselves. I think that the fact that you have been through the college, you are that much more evolved and you are ready to work on more stuff. You are never done. You are never done with yourself. You are never done with your work as a lawyer. There is always something to be learned. Everybody starts from a different place. So the fact that now you start with a different experience with somebody else, but you are more open and maybe a little bit more insightful. It is not like you get to some end-place. Being a great lawyer is not a destination. It is really about constantly evolving and developing. It is like a kaleidoscope, you see it all a little differently now and with each change in yourself and in your practice and then your skills; you see something different, something new that you have not seen before that is what you work on. That is what happens when you get together. There is some real innovation that goes on there that I think doesn’t go on at other places.  

Can anybody at any skill level benefit from coming to a TLC seminar?

Absolutely!  It is never the same twice. For instance if you come to the program in Georgia to closing argument, you will learn a lot, but you will still have more to learn!  I mean,  Gerry Spence still has more to learn. He would tell you that. It’s just that after one TLC course, you find you are just more ready now to learn about those things that you did not maybe see before. There is always something to learn. The great thing about a TLC seminar is that the time is not what it was at the College, it is not three weeks; it’s a weekend. I like the concentration of the one skill because it allows you to focus just on that and with that focus I think comes some real insight. 

Well, it all sounds exciting and refreshing.  Good luck at the seminar in Georgia.  What a great time to be down south!   

About Nancy Iler:

Nancy Iler lives in Ohio and represents individuals and families who have been injured as a result of negligence or carelessness. Nancy began her career as a registered nurse, and in 1987 graduated from Cleveland- Marshall College of Law. Her medical background and exceptional litigation skills have resulted in courtroom verdicts and settlements involving medical malpractice, nursing home abuse cases, and cases involving catastrophic personal injury and death. She is a 2003 graduate of the Trial Lawyers College and faculty member since 2010. 

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