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.