By Stephanie Rice, TLC July 2011

I attended the July 2011 session of the college at the Ranch.  I went into the experience thinking I knew what to expect because I have worked and talked with past graduates about the college.  However, I soon discovered that I really had no idea what I was in for.  The ranch was simply amazing.  I have never in my life been in a place as beautiful and serene as Thunderhead Ranch.  People have said the Ranch is “magical” and I have to agree, that is the best way to describe it.

I learned so much at the college I don’t even know where to begin.  First and foremost, I learned how to be a person, which I know sounds ridiculous to anyone who hasn’t attended the college, but for anyone who has- you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I learned to not be afraid of my feelings or who I really am.  I can honestly say I became closer to the people in my class at the college than I have ever been to anyone in my entire life, which is absolutely liberating.  To be able to be raw and honest and emotional with people is a truly enriching experience and one that I have never been exposed to throughout college, law school, in practice or even in my day-today life. 

We kind of fall into this “rut” called the practice of law.  We answer phone calls, write motions, complain about over-burdensome discovery requests, meet with clients who ask too many questions and don’t ever pay their bills, etc.  We really just go through the motions everyday in hopes of making it through to the next day.  And I am relatively certain that not one of us became attorneys so that we could just “go through the motions.”  The college taught me how to really practice law the way I thought law should be practice prior to being indoctrinated in law school.  It taught me how to practice law as a human being.  It taught me that its okay to really “care” about a client and that if you cannot really feel your client and identify with their experience, then you will never be able to ask a jury to feel and understand it.

The college not only taught me how to be human at my office, but I sincerely believe that I learned how to be a better person in life.  Now, don’t mistake what I am saying here.  The college did not make me a better person.  It gave me the tools to be able to be true to myself and real, which in turn, has allowed me to be the raw, genuine person I have always been- just without being buried under the piles of paper to read, the hustle and bustle of life, the dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, the traffic jam on the freeway and the nagging husband asking me “when I’m going to be home.”  It showed me how to be me.

Trial Lawyers College also taught me the skills to be “real” in the courtroom- how to genuinely conduct voir dire as just a person having an honest conversation with a group of other people; how to conduct cross-examination without attacking the witness and causing the jurors to hate me and view me as the arrogant, egotistical lawyer they see on television; how to show the jury my clients injury is worth a certain dollar amount and how to ask the jury upfront and candidly to award my client those damages; how to not be afraid of the scary facts in my case and how to approach and confront them head on in an honest way, and so much more.

I would like to hope this article reflects just how positive the Trial Lawyers College experience was for me, but the reality of the matter is, no one will ever understand its value until being there.  It is very special place and I cannot express how thankful I am for the opportunity.  I have since pledged to live everyday of my life implementing the tools and skills that I learned at the college.

– See more at: https://blog.triallawyerscollege.orgPost.aspx?g=fc69af87-fa0b-4ff8-b7e6-8117ac0c396c#sthash.Ivm6T2F4.dpuf