TLC: The Final Word

When I walked off the ranch ten years ago it was because I found the benefits associated with attending Trial Lawyers College events as a staff member to be outweighed by all the baggage associated with attendance: People wanted things I did not understand and I was spending far more time scratching my head trying to figure out why people were behaving as they did than I was learning to become a better lawyer. In sum, the place became oppressive: so many wannabes and so little time. I didn't want to waste the little time I have.

I feel the same about the TLC posts on this blog now. Interest in the blog grows, comments increase in number, but to no real avail. While I appreciate the fact that some folks find the comments on TLC here of interest and believe that this blog provides a forum they might not otherwise have to discuss the college, I don't feel the need to host the effort. In recent weeks, I've received dozens of anonymous comments from folks with axes to grind: Some hate Spence; some hate TLC; some hate me; some are simply incoherent. I've printed most, but not all of them.

I have a suggestion: Someone interested in an alternative forum ought simply to create another blog site. Call it what you will. I will provide a link to it if informed of its existence.

But there is no premium in my continuing to write about the college. I learned things there, and I left ten years ago because I concluded that what I gained from involvement did not come close to matching the cost of continuing on. When I returned for a visit at a reunion this past summer, I was stunned by the change in tone. I asked questions about what had happened, and poked around a bit. I shared what I learned here.

The college believes the issues I have raised lack merit and choses not to answer: That is its right, and it is the right of others to profess their fealty to the goings on at Thunderhead Ranch.
The amazement I experience watching doings at TLC is giving way to a sense of tedium: A bunch of middle age lawyers decide to play warrior: watching this is like watching Shriners parade at a circus. After you've seen a dozen or so folks walk by in the funny little hats, they all start looking the same.

I have friends who are still active in TLC, and I am not at all worried about my opinions straining the relationships. These friendships transcend club memberships. I value strength of character, not ritual efforts to become a character. A bunch of people I don't know who are involved announce enmity toward me: I greet that with the same indifference I would the howl of a disturbed rider on a municipal bus.

TLC may or may not survive. Gerry Spence may or may not be America's "Finest Trial Lawyer." Those are other people's issues. I've lingered on them too long and would rather move on to new interests. Leave 'em be, I say. Life is hard and if the college provides shelter from some, let them have it.

I spoke to a recent exile from the college this morning on the telephone and listened to real tears of sorrow. This soul had trusted and loved and was now cast aside like yesterday's outworn fashions. I reminded the person that times change, and that people change. We are sometimes divorced from familiar moorings and tears are as much a sign of pain as they are the means to nourish new growth. Letting go can be scary and exhilirating. But far better to star in one's own drama than be a prop in the drama of others. It's time to heed my own advice.

Thanks for reading and happy hunting along life's way.

Comments: (14)

  • Thanks for giving us a voice. Sadly, with you depa...
    Thanks for giving us a voice. Sadly, with you departing from the debate, TLC will continue its lies, manipulation and hyocrisy. I hate to see you go, but understand your reasoning.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 11:30 am by Anonymous
  • Oh boo hoo hoo. So Katelyn cried on your shoulder....
    Oh boo hoo hoo. So Katelyn cried on your shoulder. They have used her for years and will continue to use her. She has the power to stop the use and abuse but has neither the will nor courage to do so. I don't feel sorry for her. Move on! Or as you advise, let go.
    Jake -
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 11:49 am by Anonymous
  • Jake
    Pretty cold. But I can't say I disagree with ...
    Pretty cold. But I can't say I disagree with you. If more people would stand up and quit when they are treated badly by the leaders of TLC, maybe things would change. We are enablers and as guilty as they are when we allow them to keep treating those who have given the most badly, hatefully and like they are expendable. Sadly, I agree with you that it is unlikely Katelin will ever leave TLC. She is so desperate for daddy's (Gerry's) love that she will put up with any amount of abuse he throws her way. She has done it for years. No reason to stop now. Especially when she gets a hefty paycheck for doing so.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm by Anonymous
  • Rex told you to stop bitching. Norm , folds, & tak...
    Rex told you to stop bitching. Norm , folds, & takes his tent, and goes. so TLC-esque. But, scrub the Board, first, too much was out there. Yep, Norm Mr Above the little whiny mid age wantabes, Norm the WARRIOR, with little skin in the game. Rex tells Norm, stop bitching.. Norm quickly folds, like a cheap suit, almost an empty suit. PERIOD. Ironic, a call, the crying on Norm's sholders. Stop bitching Norm, close the Portals. March to Rex's orders, and stay in line TOADY.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm by Anonymous
  • Looks like all it took was for Rex to post on your...
    Looks like all it took was for Rex to post on your blog and you threw in the towel. Boy that Rex has power! No wonder he is counsel to TLC.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm by Anonymous
  • I can't imagine why, with such insightful comments...
    I can't imagine why, with such insightful comments as the above, you would decide, in the immortal words of B.B. King, that the thrill is gone. But I agree that it is and look forward to other topics.
    On the other hand...there is ONE thing...that notion of the plunger. Can't quite put that one behind me (so to speak).
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm by Anonymous
  • Just an observation:
    Norm carried around some heav...
    Just an observation:
    Norm carried around some heavy baggage for
    some time related to TLC, as exhibted on
    his Blog site, in his many writings.
    He must have found it tiresome to
    contend with all that arose out of
    the cyber spaces.
    He has only so much time in the
    He must know that TLC/ GS have left
    vast heavy baggage for others around
    It is way too big a problem for
    Norm to solve-- that dawned on
    him, finally.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm by Anonymous
  • Good riddance to Katlin et al. TLC has way too muc...
    Good riddance to Katlin et al. TLC has way too much psychodrama. Makes sense to get rid of them. Afterall, two psychotic espisodes in just a few years. One required Mr. Spence to fire up his plane and fly a psychotic student home (several years ago) and this summer an ambulance had to be called to take a psychotic student to the hospital. Let's have more of Rex's power point presentations about "where is the puck" and on metaphors so TLC can become more like AAJ. Presentations at TLC will be based on level of donorship. A club for the wealthy, white plaintiff's lawyers. Guess we will have to suffer through presentations by all the board members! Oh goody, can't wait. Thanks Norm for abandoning us simply because your ole pal Rex told you were were nothing with nothing important to say. Good boy Norm.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm by Anonymous
  • In all fairness to Norm, he must be busy, and hav...
    In all fairness to Norm, he must be busy, and have better things to do than respond to some snarly posters, given recent developments on the hedge fund guy, whose wife had a inclination to copy dicy stuff before the divorce went down. THE SEC matters are rearing ther ugly head, lately.
    Norm, has compared this TLC situation to a divorce telling some woman,(TLC enablers) so much in so many words, left around the blog.
    Norm must have so many irons in the fire, clients calling, schedules to meet, frankly, I think he was very generous with the time, here, not sure how much he read, or grasped, but, stuff appeared---HERE...
    What happened in TLC some time in the past has got to be at about the bottom of Norm's priority list.
    There is only so much time in the day, Norm knows how to set priorities.
    Good luck to all those whose thoughtful comments, were not appreciated, and in many instances they were not crap(despite the brand of R P), some just never cared to really digest them, in the crux of it all.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm by Anonymous
  • Rex to Norm: the world economy is going up in flam...
    Rex to Norm: the world economy is going up in flames, email( 9/21/09)
    Norm's client, a guy associated with a hedge fund that used to have over a trillion $$$ in assets had been shut down.( P-Capital)
    SEC puts Norm's client in its target list after Madoff, so much flak taken by SEC.
    Norm:9/22/09. His final word on TLC, as converging events came into matters.
    Thanks, Norm for giving us an opportunity to comment. Good luck on all your more pressing matters in real courts etc.
    Ironic, the ex wife is the one who caused a world of trouble for the hedge fund guy, with the SEC now doing its thing. Norm, not like you are representing Mr down and out, who has no money,(not a pot to P-IN), and so is it now NORM, MR billable hour, and why waste time with a bunch of snarly people who Rex sets the tone: CRAP.
    Kind of relative, but, this all fits.
    Posted on October 22, 2009 at 6:33 pm by Anonymous
  • Now, that Norm has moved on to
    Blue Fairy tales, d...
    Now, that Norm has moved on to
    Blue Fairy tales, don't expect the
    Earl of Lancaster to issue any
    proclamatons on " the world economy is in
    flames", and all he sees, here is " crap".
    The Earl is now delighted that the day
    starts out with Blue Fairy tales for
    the children.
    Norm is in his element, now,
    and Mike is into the Bear's cave,
    enthralled in the latest witches brew
    from Conn.
    Posted on October 23, 2009 at 3:05 am by Anonymous
  • If I have to see that "where is the puck" presenta...
    If I have to see that "where is the puck" presentation again, I'm going to swallow the puck in an effort to commit suicide.
    Posted on October 23, 2009 at 4:09 am by Anonymous
  • Some pertinent parts of the TLC bylaws:
    "ARTICLE T...
    Some pertinent parts of the TLC bylaws:
    "ARTICLE TWO - Purposes ... This corporation will operate under the terms and provisions of the Internal Revenue Service Code commonly known as "501(c)(3)" and shall be entitled to all the rights incident to such busines operation. The organizaton shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or sex."
    "ARTICLE THREE - Meetings ... The presenc e of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the members shall constitute a quorum and shall be necessary to conduct the business of this organization...."
    "ARTICLE SIX - Board of Directors ... The business of this organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of not less than seven (7) nor more than eleven (11) members together with the Officers of this organization....The Directors to be chosen for the ensuing year shall be chosen at the annual meeting of this organization...and they shall serve for a term of one (1) year. Two members of the Board of Directors shall be appointed as follows: one (1) member of the Board of Directors shall be appointed for a one-year term each year by the Advisory Committee ...."
    "ARTICLE NINE - Committees....An Advisory Committee shall be created to research, discuss and recommend action to the Board of Directors on such issues as the Board of Directors may request input and/or as the Advisory Committee deems necessary. This Committee, however, shall remain strictly advisory and shall not be empowered to vote on matters with the Board of Directors. This Committee shall be comprised of the members of the Board of Directors of the F Warriors Corporation....The Advisory Committee shall meet annually with the Board of Directors of this organization....This Advisory Committee shall exist until such time as it is terminated by the Board of Directors in its discretion."
    Posted on October 23, 2009 at 5:47 am by Anonymous
  • How I read the bylaws is that th FWB gets to appoi...
    How I read the bylaws is that th FWB gets to appoint an alumni rep to the TLC Board. What the hell are they waiting for? Jude Basile to tell them who he wants as an alumni rep on the board? Come on FWB, grow a spine and give us, the alumni, the people you are supposed to serve, a decent rep to the board who will speak on behalf of the alumni and not kiss the big boards ass and do their bidding. Norm might be a good choice. At least he would ask the tough questions and hold TLC accountable which is more than I can say for the FWB Board.
    Posted on October 23, 2009 at 8:22 am by Anonymous

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