Where Do Your Attorneys Learn Their Courtroom Skills? GGI-Member Texas-Based Law Firm Director and Shareholder Co-Chairs the TADC Trial Academy for Young Defence Attorneys
By Joe Krug, McDonald Sanders, PC
Every two years, somewhere in Texas, young attorneys gather to practice courtroom skills that will someday help them make a positive difference in the lives or businesses of their clients. Over a two-day span, the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (TADC) conducts a demanding Trial Academy designed to give those young attorneys across the state a valuable opportunity to practice those skills while engaging in a complex case problem.
The 2018 Milton C. Colia TADC Trial Academy ran from 23-24 February in the Tom Vandergriff Civil Courts Building in downtown Fort Worth, TX. It included over 40 participants, featured dozens of volunteer attorneys with years of experience who served as faculty members and, for the first time in Trial Academy history, there were currently sitting volunteer judges and justices present in each student breakout courtroom. Putting on the Academy is a significant undertaking that requires volunteers to be recruited well in advance, personal schedules to be juggled and coordinated, and the logistics of several breakout courtrooms, judges, lunches, and more to be managed.
Such an event doesn’t run smoothly without dedicated TADC leadership and members. When Chantel Crews, President of the TADC, contacted George Haratsis at GGI-member law firm McDonald Sanders, PC, with the opportunity to co-chair the upcoming Academy, he jumped at the chance. Along with co-chair Doug Rees, another TADC member from a different firm, George rallied volunteers from his contact list across the North Texas region from as far west as Amarillo and over to Dallas/Fort Worth. George, recognising the value of giving every student participant the chance to hear critiques from active judges, also reached out to his contacts at the courthouse, eventually establishing judges in each breakout session both days of the Academy. It’s not often that an attorney gets to hear straight from the judge’s mouth how to improve their courtroom techniques, but the 2018 Trial Academy gave students that chance. Of course, a trial wouldn’t be complete without witnesses, which George found at the Fort Worth-area law schools and law firms.
So where and from whom do the attorneys your firm or business works with learn their courtroom skills? In the case of these 40+ young attorneys, the answer is from an esteemed roster of faculty with years of litigation experience, several sitting judges and justices, and from ambitious peers, who test each other during very real courtroom settings over the course of two days. Wherever your GGI-member company or firm is located, perhaps your own local bar association or area lawyer group is running a similar academy, teaching and improving the young attorneys so they can better help you down the road when you need it most.
George Haratsis of McDonald Sanders, PC runs a robust practice, focusing on areas including appellate, education, energy, oil, gas, and public utility, and labour & employment, as well as litigation matters involving business and commercial interests, tort defence, and trusts and estates. He is an active TADC member and GGI event participant.
George Haratsis, Director & Shareholder McDonald Sanders, PC
McDonald Sanders, PC
Advisory, Law Firm Services
Fort Worth (TX), USA
T: +1 817 336 8651