“I wasn’t focused on trying to be perfect and that’s the influential thing students learn from the faculty and psychodramatists at the Trial Lawyer’s College. When I am in front of a jury, I’m no longer worried about screwing up, being awkward, or mispronouncing someone’s name. I’m focused on being real, telling my client’s story, and remaining present and honest.” – Lee Tucker, Sept ’15 TLC Graduate
Following Lee’s graduation from the Trial Lawyer’s College a few years ago, he has experienced a major difference in the way he approaches a case. With the use of psychodrama techniques like ‘role-reversing’, and learning how to listen so he can tell a more effective story rather than just a recitation of facts, he makes sure to connect deeply with his client prior to trial. He spends hours with them asking questions and living their day-to-day lives to grasp the emotions and feelings of his client about the case and how it has affected their lives, so, when he goes to trial, there is no hesitation for him to relate his or her story to the jury. It’s just natural. The power comes from knowing the client and the case inside and out (which not only comes from a tremendous amount of listening but also a tremendous amount of preparation), having credibility with the client and extending that to the jury during voir dire, and then easily telling an honest and authentic story throughout the trial – showing the client’s experience to the judge and jury and sticking to the truth of his clients’ lives.
Lee reflects, “In the courtroom, it’s tricky to be emotionally present and aware because as an attorney, you’re in a very structured evidentiary-driven room with people you’ve never met before, with judges you don’t typically know, and this formidable pressure to perform. But the techniques you can learn at the Trial Lawyer’s College, how students work with the instructors, along with the work of psychodrama, provide different strengths as far as connecting with people and being open and honest. A basic but important characteristic of being a lawyer that most of us forget is to remain present and listen. And at TLC, students have to listen and be patient because there are 50-60 other students/lawyers, going through similar things. The ability to listen, to role reverse, to play supportive roles for our classmates who are working on their cases – all these experiences at TLC gives the trial lawyer that ability to experience what others are going through, the opportunity to learn how to continue to be present no matter what is going on, the permission to feel what they’re feeling, and eventually become at ease, just like you need to be in a courtroom. At TLC, you learn how to create a connection through shared experiences, which then extends back home in your practice, your personal life, and finally in the courtroom.”
Attorneys are trained in law school to say things to get a result. The media warps their minds. The Trial Lawyer’s College takes a completely different approach to a trial, teaching attorneys that the most important aspects for any successful trial lawyer are to be true and honest, to themselves, to their clients, and to the case – even with its warts and problems. If you know ALL of the facts and what happened, and you have a genuine client, that’s going to come across powerfully in front of the judge and jury. A key facet of the Trial Lawyer’s College is to truly believe in yourself and continue to feel passionate about what you’re doing to keep justice. It’s the experience of going through clients’ personal lives and connecting with the people; including your jurors, your witnesses, or even the judge.
During Lee’s 2017 Grad course at Thunderhead Ranch, he tried three to four voir dire jury selection breakout groups with some of the best TLC faculty and was given many tools that within just a few weeks, he felt comfortable enough to feel completely natural in front of a jury on a case with no hesitation. Lee feels TLC instructors truly care for every student. They are some of the most unselfish and humble people who have done amazing work in their own practice, personal life, and with TLC students.
Want access to the interview transcript? Click here for a downloadable PDF.
Lee Tucker graduated from the TLC-1 September College in 2015 and has thus attended many regionals and other TLC courses including Grad-II, to continue his learning and personal growth as a trial lawyer. Lee graduated from the University of Dayton, School of Law in 1998 and began his career in plaintiff’s personal injury in 1999. He is the founder of The Tucker Law Firm in Seattle, Washington, where he has obtained significant settlements for individuals who have been seriously injured and for families whose loved ones have died as a result of another’s negligence and carelessness. Lee is a dedicated TLC student that continues to attend courses every year before tough cases. Lee regularly works with TLC local working groups in Seattle to continue his training.