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2023 Annual Conference - Steamboat Springs CO. July 23-25 - 07/23/2023 to 07/25/2023


Schedule (PDF)





CLE Affidavit

CLE Affidavit

Lessons from Darrow: Ethics and Advocacy in the Courtroom* (Ethics)

General Session

Franklin D Patterson

Karen Wheeler

Meredith L McDonald

Sandy Brook

Lessons from Darrow: Ethics and Advocacy in the Courtroom* This CLE workshop features a series of vignettes from the play “Clarence Darrow: A One-Man Play” (by David Rintels). Our Moderator, Meredith McDonald, will set the scene for each of these vignettes where Sandy Brook will perform as Clarence Darrow. The vignettes will be followed by commentary from our Panelists, seasoned trial attorneys Frank Patterson and Karen Wheeler, moderated by Meredith McDonald. Drawing from the vignettes, they will examine various examples of effective courtroom advocacy as well as ethical considerations that arise from Darrow’s advocacy, examining closing arguments, cross and direct examinations, and commentary on Darrow’s influences in his life as a lawyer. Clarence Darrow (1852-1938) “Our country, our civilization, our race is based upon the belief that for all his weaknesses, there is still in man that divine spark that will make him reach upward for something higher and better than anything he has ever known.” Clarence Darrow is widely recognized as the best and most influential trial lawyer of the 20th century. Darrow’s work in the courtroom addressed head on the most controversial issues of the day long before these causes were accepted or popular. In a series of landmark cases, Darrow advocated for racial equality, the rights of workers, the teaching of evolution, and the abolishment of the death penalty. The late United States Supreme Court Justice William 0’ Douglas wrote, “Darrow represented the weak against the strong and he always met bigotry head on.” Over a fifty-year legal career, Darrow is most widely known for representing John T. Scopes in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, in which he opposed Reverend William Jennings Bryan (three-time presidential candidate) in advocating for the right to teach evolution in public schools. Other notable cases include his condemnation of the death penalty in the defense of two young “genius” thrill killers, Leopold and Loeb; his representation of Eugene Debs, whose Railway Workers Union went on strike to protest intolerable working conditions; and his representation of Dr. Ossian Sweet, an African American accused of murder in defending his home against an angry crowd of racists. In total, Darrow tried 102 capital murder cases. Not one of his clients was put to death. Darrow believed that his client’s circumstances arose from larger philosophical and social wrongs. Darrow defended these cases not only for his clients, but also for the hearts and minds of the American people. Since his death in 1938, two bestselling books, dozens of articles, and a Chair at the University of Michigan Law School honor him.

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