Trial Law Institute

The Trial Law Institute (TLI) is an association of trial lawyers established under the auspices of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). The TLI’s primary purpose is to perpetuate, elevate and preserve the art of trial presentation and techniques, and to advance and educate on new technologies designed to enhance the admission of evidence in courtroom settings.  Membership includes all LCA Fellows and is open to others invited upon nomination or recommendation by members, but is limited to one percent of the bar, excluding judges, law professors and governmental lawyers.  Membership registration may be found at

The Trial Law Institute (initially the Institute of Trial Presentation) was established in 2009 based on the design of J. Ric Gass, of Gass Weber Mullins LLC of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Lead counsel in over three hundred jury trials, Mr. Gass maintains the goal of educating lawyers on advanced trial techniques learned and created over his long and illustrious career.  In 2012, Mr. Gass served as President of the Litigation Counsel of America and is now Chair of the TLI’s Advisory Board.  In 2013, he was appointed Life Dean of the TLI.

James A. Varner, Sr. (Jim), of McNeer, Highland, McMunn & Varner, L.C., of Clarksburg, West Virginia, and the late Stephen G. Morrison (1949-2013) of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, of Columbia, South Carolina, acted as Co-Founders of the TLI and taught at previous annual TLI Forums.

Though invitation only, the TLI is open to trial lawyers of every practice and orientation.  Its members are called upon to promote professionalism, ethics and civility throughout their practice of law and held to high ethical standards in order to maintain membership.  In the event of ethical concerns or complaints by the association or its members, membership may be withdrawn.  The composition of the TLI’s membership is highly diverse and designed to be inclusive, particularly among the newest generation of outstanding trial lawyers.

The annual Trial Law Institute Forum is the showcase event of the association.  At the Forum, selected trial masters from across North America instruct on advanced courtroom presentation.  The content of the Forum is geared toward a combination of past-generation tried-and-true techniques combined with the newest technologies available.  Although the annual TLI is its primary meeting at this time, future conferences may be expanded to accommodate a two-day event.

Members of the Trial Law Institute who are not already LCA Fellows are reviewed periodically for consideration of LCA Fellowship, which is limited to 3,500 Fellows internationally.


Trial Law Institute Advisory Board

J. Ric Gass
Gass Weber Mullins LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

David A. Axelrod
David A. Axelrod & Associates
Chicago, Illinois

Michael E. Barrack
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Toronto, Ontario

Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
Blanton, Rice, Nickell, Cozean & Collins, LLC
Sikeston, Missouri

Michael B. Brennan
Gass Weber Mullins LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Brian G. Cahill
Gass Weber Mullins LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sidney K. Kanazawa
McGuireWoods LLP
Los Angeles, California

Richard I. Levin
Levin Riback Law Group, PC
Chicago, Illinois

Anita Modak-Truran
Butler Snow LLP
Nashville, Tennessee

James A. Varner, Sr.
McNeer Highland McMunn & Varner, L.C.
Clarksburg, West Virginia

Kathleen T. Zellner
Law Offices of Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates
Downers Grove, Illinois


2017 Spring Conference & Celebration of Fellows

La Fonda on the Plaza
Santa Fe, New Mexico
May 3 - 5, 2017

Event Registration


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