In March, an inaugural class of 48 Tyson & Mendes attorneys embarked on a three-month journey to deepen their trial expertise through a new, rigorous “TM Trial Academy.” This robust training program supports Tyson & Mendes’ continuous efforts to be the best law firm to work for, the best law firm for attorney professional development, and the best trial lawyers in the country to serve our clients. The firm also sees this program as an integral tool for training the next generation of defense trial attorneys.
TM Trial Academy attorneys from all Tyson & Mendes’ offices learned, performed, and received structured feedback on specific trial skills through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and small working groups. Professor Linda Lane from The University of San Diego School of Law led the development and implementation of the program. Professor Lane drew upon her background as a trial attorney and her academic expertise to educate our team. Experienced Tyson & Mendes trial Partners Kristi Blackwell, Mina Miserlis, Susan Oliver, James Sell, and firm Managing Partner Bob Tyson co-led each training session with Professor Lane.
The TM Trial Academy curriculum and mock trial were detailed and comprehensive. The in-depth Academy sessions covered Pre-Trial Motion Practice, Voir Dire, Opening Statements, Direct Examination, Cross Examination, Experts, Evidence and Exhibits, and Closing Arguments. In each session, Academy students learned basic trial strategy and techniques relative to each stage of trial, such as how to exclude a potential juror for cause or how to admit an exhibit into evidence. In addition, each Academy session taught students the advanced TM Methods for avoiding a Nuclear Verdict™ that must be employed through each phase of trial, including how to employ defense themes and how to argue noneconomic damages.
The three-month program culminated in an all-day, 150-person virtual mock trial in early June. Firm lawyers, law clerks, and staff role played judge, jury, witnesses, plaintiff, defendant, and bailiffs. TM Academy attorneys went head-to-head as plaintiff and defense counsel, trying a mock catastrophic injury case. Through the mock trial, Academy students had an opportunity to not only demonstrate the skills learned in the program, but also to be creative with the evidence and arguments through implementation of the TM Methods. In the end, jurors deliberated and rendered their verdicts.
The organizational complexity it took to successfully bring the program to fruition is a testament to Tyson & Mendes’ investment in training its lawyers to be the best trial attorneys in the country. The time, care, and dedication invested by the TM Trial Academy students reflected the firm’s culture and commitment to the highest standards of excellence in defending our cases. As one Trial Academy attorney said, “The program was intensive, and I now feel even more prepared to represent our clients both in and out of the courtroom.”
Tyson & Mendes will provide TM Trial Academy training for its up-and-coming attorneys annually. The firm’s attorneys continue to grow their confidence and ability to achieve superior results for our clients because of the firm’s commitment to continuous education. Read more about Tyson & Mendes training and education programs on the firm’s website.