President's Message: Seminars Do Not Grow on Trees - By J. Gary Trichter

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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

The days of being a generalist in criminal law are long gone. Today, to be effective and professional, the criminal defense practitioner must at least know immigration law, many aspects of forensic science and appellate law. Keeping up with case and statutory law, we lawyers have a never ending ethical duty to stay current. Enter TCDLA!

Your Association’s primary duties have been and are to make it easier for you to not only keep up with the law, but also to improve trial skills and techniques. By the end of 2011, TCDLA and CDLP will have put on 46 seminars, totaling 63,119 CLE hours, having taught approximately 5,756 lawyers. Indeed, our Association is the third-busiest CLE provider in Texas with only the State Bar (#1) and the University of Texas (#2) doing more. It is my belief that we are the number one provider in criminal law.

The time and effort the home staff, your brother and sister VOLUNTEER course directors and speakers put in to making our seminars successes is, in terms of dollars, invaluable. Think of the many and varied CLE programs that have been available to you. Our CLE ranges from Capital Murder, to voir dire, to trial skills, to DWI, to forensics, to federal law, to immigration, to eyewitness identification, to innocence, to appellate law, etc.? For me, as a DWI specialist, I have to keep up on physics, spectrometry, chromatography, physiology, anatomy, optomology, nuerology, pharmacology, toxicology, chemistry, biology, and statistics. I also need to have a thorough knowledge of Doppler Radar and Lidar, breath testing devices, and the gas chromatograph. Fortunately, our Association provides our DWI practitioners all of the above practice areas in very cost-effective seminars at numerous convenient locations. Equal quality convenient seminars are available to our other criminal law disciplines, too.

Our seminar aim is to identify needed and new educational topics and then to bring them to you. We also strive to do this in our Voice, both in the magazine and online. Your TCDLA is always looking for motivated VOLUNTEERS to help us help you. That said, if you have a desire to present on a topic at one of our seminars , then I invite you to contact Joseph Martinez, our executive director, and tell him of your interest. He will put you in touch with one of our course directors for you to further explore your interest. Further, if you have an interest in writing an article, a column, or a blog for the Voice, then I encourage you to contact our editor, Greg Westfall.

As your president, I ask you to consider being more involved in TCDLA—after all, it is YOUR ASSOCIATION. Consider speaking or writing for us. On the flip side, I ask that you make a special effort to thank and appreciate YOUR VOLUNTEER course directors, speakers, and writers for their past and continuing contributions and generosity. On the topic of recognizing good work and VOLUNTEERS, our SDR editors, Kathleen Nacozy, Tim Crooks, and Chris Cheatham, also need to be thanked for their regular case updates. Note, too, their user-friendly change (or soon to be changed) SDR format.

In closing, please remember that our seminars do not grow on trees. Absent our highly professional home staff and the generosity of your brother and sister VOLUNTEERS, your TCDLA cannot continue to provide you with the quality products you need. And so, take a minute to say “thank you!” They will appreciate more than you know.

J. Gary Trichter
Your President