Trial Lawyer Talk

Trial Lawyer Talk

Trial Lawyer Talk, Ep. 62: Don Clarkson

June 04, 2020

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Talk, we are humbled to have Don Clarkson join us to explain "Donisms." Don Clarkson is a phenomenal psychodramatist who pioneered psychodrama training for trial lawyers. Gerry Spence brought Don in when he started the Trial Lawyers College in 1994. The idea that Gerry and others had was that to become a better lawyer, you need to become a better person. You need to pursue your journey inward of self-exploration and figure out who you are. Then, you can use this insight to become your true self and your full self in the courtroom.

Today, Don discusses what many lawyers around the country know as “Donisms.” “Donisms” are pieces of wisdom that Don uses to help educate lawyers to become better people. And to become better husbands, wives, parents, children and lawyers. In this episode, Don explains the meaning behind several “Donisms.”
About Don Clarkson
Don Clarkson, owner of Clarkson & Associates, began training in psychodrama at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1961. He attended the Moreno Institute where he trained with Dr. J. L. and Zerka T. Moreno. He is certified as a Trainer-Educator-Practitioner by the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. He was on the faculty of Howard University. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Don pioneered psychodrama training for trial lawyers through the National College for Criminal Trial Lawyers.

* You cannot tell someone else’s story until you know your own story.
* Listening is like holding another person. (Our greatest tool is our ability to listen.)
* You need to say something for yourself - regardless of whether it is going to do any good.
* Our job in life is to recognize the holes in the ground from our childhood or from our past so that we don't fall into them again.
* If you can’t talk about something, it’s out of control. (If there is something that bothers you in life, that’s really the direction you need to go.)
* The place that seems most dangerous is where safety lies.
* Love is the essential ingredient out of pain. Once you manage to endure the pain and come out of it, you allow yourself to be loved.
* Our goal in life is to understand who we are, to forgive our parents, and to forgive ourselves.
* Without pain there’s no growth.
* People pleasers often don’t get pleased.
* How we leave each other says how we’ve lived together.

Don ends by sharing how to hold someone and how to say goodbye. He explains, “I make it a purpose not to pat (someone’s back). And I make it a purpose also when I see someone to look at them. When I'm getting ready to leave, I say to myself, this may be the last time in life that I ever see you. So I want to take this moment to feel who you are.”