So Much to Be Thankful ForNovember 18, 2010
Had anyone asked us—the 3 Sisters, Mary, Fredi and I—ten years ago what we would be doing today, I doubt that any of us would have predicted that we would be part of a partnership created to help people, particularly trial lawyers, realize their full potential. And yet, that is exactly where we are.
The three of us met ten years ago when we were part of an organization that provides continuing legal education programs to trial lawyers. Through this experience, we were exposed to psychodrama. As many of you know who have read this blog, psychodrama is an action method, a way to communicate deeply and meaningfully. It is the exploration of the truth through dramatic action. A psychodrama not only brings out the humanity of people, but also the universal stories and truths that connect us all.
Psychodrama can be therapeutic as it gives participants the opportunity to explore events from their lives to gain greater understanding of the self and to begin to heal old wounds. Psychodrama also empowers those who experience it to become more fully present in the here and now, enjoy greater spontaneity, realize their own potential, and create the life they each want to lead.
Over the years, each of us dedicated ourselves to doing as much of our own personal work as possible so that we can better know who we are, how we came to be that way and what we can do to shape our future. Our journey has not always been easy and each of us has traveled psychodramatically through many painful moments from the past. With each passing experience, we grew as human beings and as lawyers. By learning more about ourselves, we are more able to understand others. Over the last ten to twelve years, we have shared our skill and knowledge of psychodrama with other lawyers across the country and helped them to discover and learn to use the tools of this powerful method to represent their clients. We have exposed them to ideas and techniques that can assist them both in preparing and presenting their clients’ stories in trial. Teaching at various workshops improved our skill and stimulated our creativity. These experiences also increased our desire to develop our skill and proficiency in using the psychodramatic method to help others. After years of training and study, each of us was certified as a practitioner (CP) of psychodrama by the American Board of Examiners. Mary and I have continued our training and hope to soon be certified as trainers (TEP’s). Fredi, in her inimitable way, said, “Basta!” The three of us continue to go to workshops, often together. Psychodrama continues to help us each individually and provides many tools we call upon and employ both personally and professionally. To say that our lives have been enhanced as a result of our exposure to psychodrama would be an understatement.
In the mid 2000’s, we began to brainstorm ideas for working together, for taking our creative ideas and sharing them with others. Originally, our thoughts were simply playful, more fantastical than practical: a 3 Sisters coffee house, bookstore, stand-up comedy and yarn shop. As we grew as people, our ideas grew. The idea of a Trial Boot Camp for Women took shape after several troubling experiences throughout the years. Two of us attended one program as part of the teaching staff where our male colleagues introduced the other male faculty as talented and skilled trial lawyers but ignored the many accomplishments of the female staff members. One of our friends, a courageous lawyer who does employment law, got up and started to introduce the talented lawyers she knew and named the women attorney staff in the room. Other female professionals we have talked to over the years have had similar experiences and often feel invisible at seminars and workshops. Issues unique to women are rarely acknowledged, much less addressed with any sort of depth or understanding. And so, we conceived the idea of a program where women could come together to work on issues unique to them and to meet and build relationships with other female trial lawyers.
In the late summer of 2009, Fredi and I began talking about making our idea of creating a program specifically for women trial lawyers a reality. Our concept was to develop and design a program to nurture female trial lawyers and help them develop their own voice, recognize their unique talents as women and bring them into the courtroom. In September 2009, Mary, Fredi, Lynne Bratcher and I traveled to Colorado, where we brainstormed and outlined our ideas for a Women’s Trial Boot Camp.
After a successful inaugural run in May, 2010, we decided to create other programs with the same mission in mind. We also wanted to invite other teachers with whom we enjoyed working in the past and who we believe share the same thoughts, ideas and feelings about teaching (Lynne, Carl Bettinger and Charlie Abourezk) to join us. We did not and do not intend to be a traditional provider of programs for trial lawyers or for women only. Our ideas, beliefs and vision are much broader. And men are more than welcome at all of our programs, with the exception of the Women’s Trial Boot Camp.
It’s hard to imagine that we embarked on this great journey from a fun, playful conversation. But that’s the nature of spontaneity and creativity. We missed teaching together. We wanted to do something different, something that was collaborative, receptive and adaptive. We wanted to meet interesting and interested people. We’ve accomplished a great deal this year—–2 programs, and coming next month, a book.
We wrote the book because we wanted to reach more people who were interested in being better lawyers for clients and to help them learn to master the tools of psychodrama. We wished to keep the dream of Jacob Moreno, the father of psychodrama, alive. The book’s name is Trial in Action: The Persuasive Power of Psychodrama. It is being published by Trial Guides. We are extremely proud of it, as it will expose psychodrama to a wider audience. Check out the book and reviews at: http://www.trialguides.com/book/trial-in-action/
Because of how well our 2010 programs have been received, we have four (4) programs planned for 2011:
- Trial in Action: The Persuasive Power of Psychodrama – Feb. 17-20 – New Orleans, LA
- Second Annual Women’s Trial Boot Camp – May 12-15 – Palm Springs, CA
- The Art of Telling Our Clients’ Story – Aug. 11-14 – Portland, OR
- Trial Intensive: Voir Dire and Group Formation – Oct. 20-23 – Palm Springs, CA
In addition to Lynne, Carl and Charlie, who will be faculty for one or more of the programs above, John Nolte will be our special guest at the New Orleans seminar. Details about all of our programs and testimonials from participants can be found on our web site at http://www.the3sisters.org.
Our partnership is still is in its infancy. But we are filled with excitement and enthusiasm, and we love working with all the people we’ve met. It’s been great collaborating with each other. It’s nice to be teaching with old friends once again. We have so many people to thank—those who supported us during tough times and those who have joined our journey, because we wouldn’t be here without them. It’s been a spectacular year, and we are grateful for everything that has happened. We look forward to next year!