“How you spell love with your clients is exactly how you spell love with your kids. T-I-M-E. And if I’ve got to go and sit in a holdover with my client and get his story, I will.”
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman interviews TLC graduate, trial lawyer, and faculty member Greg Westfall on the transformative power of TLC methods in preparing for and trying a criminal defense case.
In this wide-ranging interview, Greg discusses the importance of meeting your clients where they are, rather than trying to make them fit an expectation. “People will sense if you don’t like them or are afraid of them. You have to love them. If you do, then you’re thinking about them – what they want and they need.” Greg does what it takes to get a complete picture of his clients’ story – going to their homes and walking their streets. “Going into the setting gives you a different perspective on the story than you get if you’re just listening to the client tell it.”
Greg is the faculty leader for TLC’s intensive course for criminal defense attorneys, In Defense of the Damned (IDD), scheduled for June 2021. IDD students participate in two days of psychodrama, followed by breakout sessions on opening statement, voir dire and cross-examination using their own cases.
Greg says it is the job of the criminal defense attorney to forge an emotional connection between the defendant and the jury; skills they will learn at the Trial Lawyers College. “We are community people,” Greg says. “We are people who live in groups. Your jury is looking at your client and asking, ‘is this person one of us?’ They are looking at the criminal defense attorney and asking, ‘is this person one of us?’ It’s our job to help them see themselves in our clients and in us.”
For over two decades, Greg Westfall has been a “courtroom lawyer.” In the criminal arena, Westfall has handled thousands of cases, tried close to 100 and handled more than 75 appeals. He has tried many murder and capital murder cases, fought against the death penalty, and fought against support of terrorism.
Along the way, Greg has developed a reputation for intense preparation and formidable trial skills. He is particularly known for his work on complex criminal litigation – alleged white collar/business crimes and murder cases. Greg’s reputation has earned him recognition by his peers as a Thomson/Reuters “Super Lawyer”® every year since the list was created, an AV® Rating from Martindale Hubbell and a listing in their Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and recognition as a Fort Worth, Texas Magazine “Top Lawyer” every year since the list was created.
In 2010, Greg extended his practice to civil litigation and accepts select civil cases. He has found that his business school background, experience with white-collar criminal cases, and 20 years in the courtroom have prepared him very well for the more paper-intensive civil work. Greg’s civil work has encompassed defamation, breaches of fiduciary duty matters, violations of civil rights, and employment matters.
Throughout his career, Greg has been keenly interested in how we can better communicate with juries. He conducts focus groups for other attorneys and writes and teaches extensively on the subject of juror communication and persuasion both in Texas and at the Trial Lawyers College.
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