In the courtroom, Bill Gilbert fights tooth and nail to get justice for his clients. But his advocacy doesn’t end when he steps away from Gilbert Law Firm. In his time off, Bill teaches at the Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming.
The college’s mission is to teach trial and advocacy skills to civil plaintiff and criminal defense attorneys around the country so that they are equipped to defend their clients’ rights and obtain justice to the best of their ability.
As a graduate himself, Bill has a deep respect and appreciation for the work done at the Trial Lawyers College. Below you can find a brief glimpse into what it’s like to study and graduate at this special place.
About the Trial Lawyers College
According to their website, the Trial Lawyers College “is dedicated to training and educating lawyers and judges who are committed to the jury system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals; the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression.”
The college philosophy and a lot of its traditions draw inspiration from the indigenous culture of the Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes that are native to the area. When students graduate, they are designated as an “F” Warrior (and yes, the “F” stands for what you think it does). Chief James Trosper, Sundance Chief and Ceremonial leader of the Eastern Shoshone tribe, has presided at every graduation Bill has attended except one.
The Shoshone and Arapaho have always been very supportive of the college. They are a people that have suffered oppression at the hands of the United States government and its settlers, and they believe in the mission of the college.
Chief Trosper once said:
”“This is land that my ancestors hunted and foraged for centuries… This land we stand on today now provides a home for a different breed of Warriors, but Warriors nonetheless who are committed to becoming better lawyers, better advocates for those in need, better human beings.”
Graduation and Sundance Ceremonies
Graduation is done in ceremonial fashion in the tradition of the Shoshone and Arapaho’s Sundance Ceremony. If it is held outdoors, the Sun Dance stake is set at sunrise to mark true East. This marks the entrance to the sacred circle.
The drummers start as the students are lining up. The students enter the ceremonial site only after it is blessed by the Chief– or whoever is presiding if the Chief can’t make it. As the students enter they smudge with white sage and sweetgrass on each side of the entrance.
The students enter single-file with military veterans first and last in the column; the line moves clockwise until the circle is complete. Selected faculty then address the class with specific readings. The Chief then addresses the students and gives a very heartfelt and meaningful talk about Native American history, honor, government oppression and the need to fight on behalf of the dispossessed.
The drums start again, students are then brought clockwise around the circle by a faculty member one at a time to be blessed by the chief and to receive their medicine bundle and become warriors. The faculty is blessed with the first student they bring around. In the photo at the top of the page, Chief Trosper is blessing Bill with the ceremonial eagle feather and smudging him with white sage.
After the students all complete the ceremony, the dancing begins.
Contact the Gilbert Law Firm today
Bill is committed to the Trial Lawyers College’s mission and its legacy as part of the traditions of the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes. But he also has another reason for working with the college: it makes him a better person, and a better lawyer.