D.L. Rencher

Episode 006

D.L. Rencher

Firm: Rencher Law Group


Subscribe to receive the latest episodes in your inbox

Show Notes

From a complicated childhood dealing with parental substance addiction and peer engagement in serious crime, to theater in college and even the Marine Corps, D.L. Rencher has lived through many diverse experiences on his path to trial law. The one common thread through his entire life has been his commitment and fervent interest in social justice. Driven by this passion and his independent persistence, D.L. put himself through law school and dedicated himself to tireless advocacy in his work.

Listen as D.L. shares stories of his personal and career journey and story about a key case with a verdict (regardless of the outcome) that strengthened his relentless resilience to bring justice for his clients.

For his “Closing Argument,” D.L. shares his on the three ways to “go through a wall.” He talks about the importance of of giving everything you’ve got, to leave nothing behind. “Bring it to the table, because this is where it matters. This is the Arena of Litigation.”


1:19 – Why did you want to become a trial lawyer?
4:56 – What makes you unique?
5:38 – A case that matters.
8:22 – D.L.’s “Closing Argument”

Key Takeaways

  • While a notable accomplishment, the end of law school should never indicate the end of your hardest efforts. Stay persistent and dedicated, and put in your all.
  • You can’t control everything that happens in the courtroom. Sometimes a verdict may be beyond what you ever anticipated. Try to use less-than satisfying outcomes as motivation to push yourself harder.
  • No matter what your background is, you can do what your heart desires if you put in enough effort, time, and energy. You have to be relentless in your approach to achieve your goals.
  • Understand and embrace the awesome responsibility of advocating for others.


[Theme Song Plays]

D.L. Rencher: No matter what you did to get here, you got to work even harder to stay here. I just kind of developed this curiosity. The curiosity of what is advocacy about. Right out of high school, I was in the Marine Corps. Bring it to the table because this is where it matters. This is the arena of litigation.

Narrator: Welcome to Celebrating Justice, presented by the Trial Lawyers Journal and CloudLex, the next gen legal cloud platform built exclusively for personal injury law. Get inspired by the nation’s top trial lawyers and share in the stories that shape our pursuit of justice. Follow the podcast and join our community at TrialLawyersJournal.com. Now here’s your host, editor of TLJ and VP of Marketing at CloudLex, Chad Sands.

Chad Sands: Hello friends, and welcome back to Celebrating Justice, the podcast where we dive into the transformative world of trial law. In this episode, we hear powerful stories from trial lawyer D.L. Rencher. With the foundation built on passion, perseverance, and a deep seated belief and justice for all, D.L.’s journey is nothing short of inspirational. Before we uncover the stories behind his journey from the Marines to the courtroom, I asked him, why did you want to become a trial lawyer?

D.L. Rencher: I think early on, there was a sense of social injustice that my family experienced coming up. My parents were addicted to substances. My dad being a war veteran, and my mom being his counterpart. And just the introduction to what I call the criminal system, not the criminal justice system, laid the foundation for my sense of wanting to be a voice for others. But being the first one, not only to go to college, but to graduate and then to go to an advanced institution or higher institution, really started with having to take care of myself pretty early on. My dad died when I was 12, and so I found myself trying to take care of my mother as best I could. I worked very early on, working for an uncle, knocking at his liquor store. And working my way up, understanding that it takes hard work and effort to kind of get somewhere. But then there was this kind of brush with the law per se, where as a teen, growing up wasn’t always doing the right things and seeing my friends kind of getting involved, even more so with serious crime, seeing that all around me, I just kind of developed this curiosity, the curiosity of what is advocacy about why should certain things happen to people, and sometimes it doesn’t happen to others? Or why is this to the extent that it’s happening to this individual? I’ve always had that question. So that drove me, one, to want to kind of be a little rigid on myself and not take the traditional route. So I joined the military right out of high school. I was in the Marine Corps. 

I was an aircraft firefighter, emergency medical technician. Right after the Marine Corps, I found myself in a job working in the emergency room at a local hospital, and I became a trauma scribe. Then I became a cardiology technician, and seeing that threaded my idea that I wanted to go to medical school. But quickly I found myself not really wanting the rigors of hard sciences, but thinking about social justice more and more as I was at UCLA.

From there, I actually dabbled a little bit in theater, believe it or not. So I had a little bit of an artsy background, and so I was kind of a little bit all over the place at UCLA. But certainly into the kind of overall social justice. When I graduated from UCLA, I thought about, very quickly, taking the LSAT. I didn’t do the best on the LSAT in terms of what I expected to do, but it was enough to get me into some really good schools. And I took that path, and I excelled after my first year of law school. You know, they say that law school is the first year the most difficult? It was the most difficult for me. In fact, I almost failed out of law school my first semester. I was put on academic probation, but I can tell you that I learned a lesson. And that lesson is that no matter what you did to get here, you got to work even harder to stay here. And I did just that. And after that, I turned the corner. I found myself really getting good grades because I applied the practical knowledge I learned growing up and the struggles that I had and faced as a child with two parents that were dependent on substances and found their way to be kind of interacting with the criminal system. And I realized that I had nobody to rely on. And, you know, I was putting myself through undergrad, putting myself through law school. And so it was me and there was nowhere else to go. So I had to succeed.

Chad Sands: I’m curious to hear how you consider yourself unique when it comes to being a trial lawyer.

D.L. Rencher: Well, you know, I was thinking about that. That’s an interesting question because, you know, for me, it’s tireless advocacy. I think that’s a little different. I may not be the smartest guy in the room, but you’re certainly not going to outwork me. Not only issues, not on the law, not on what needs to happen inside that courtroom. And I mean justice for my client. And so I strive for that. And I’m tireless in that regard. So I’m relentless. I don’t let up, and I don’t stop until we get the desired result. I truly think that that’s my edge.

Chad Sands: Your persistency. 

D.L. Rencher: Yes.

Chad Sands: I know it can be hard to pick one, but can you share a story of one case and its lasting effect on you?

D.L. Rencher: Well, there are many, to be honest with you, but I kind of draw experience on my most recent trial experience, which was the end of last year. And I represented a tech professional who was a good earner, I would say, in his lifetime. But he could have been so much more in terms of what his potential was, based on his education, background and experience. It happened that he ran into essentially the wrong place at the wrong time, something that we’ve all experienced in our lifetime, where you get somebody who is engaged in something on the road. He was with his then wife and a friend, a couple of friends in the backseat. They were driving through the city, leaving one place, going to another, and they’re essentially cut off by an individual who sideswipes them. They pull over to exchange information that individual’s kind of in denial mode. And an altercation began where my client’s hand and fingers were broken. And because he relied so much heavily, being an engineer, being a cloud architect or what he was doing at the time, on his hands, he couldn’t utilize them anymore. And so it was a battery of experts that came in. We had a hand expert and we laid sufficient evidence. He escaped criminal liability, but we caught up with him civilly. And I found that the jury was a little bit biased towards my client. And I was really grappling with that because I think that he deserved more. And ultimately it was a good verdict on his behalf. But I think that he deserved more. And one of the things I learned is that as a trial lawyer, you can’t control everything that goes in the courtroom. And I think that kind of sticks with me. Although we won and it was a lasting verdict, I think that overall, I wish that we could have done better for him in the long term because he did, unfortunately, develop a disability, as a root of this incident. And while we’ve kind to be able to take care of him comfortably, I think we could have done better for him.

Narrator: At CloudLex, we understand the challenges personal injury law firms face every day. That’s why we’ve built the legal cloud platform to help you stay productive and keep your cases moving forward. CloudLex provides a comprehensive suite of applications and features to support every stage of intake, pre-litigation, trial, and more. From innovative case management to insightful analytics and HIPAA secure client communication, CloudLex empowers your firm with the technology to thrive. Build your firm of the future and see for yourself at CloudLex.com.

Now here is this episode’s “Closing argument.”

D.L. Rencher: I’ve touched on it a little bit. No matter what your background is, you can do what your heart desires, if you put enough time, energy, and effort. I wasn’t dealt the best hand in terms of coming up, but I had two loving parents and loved each other. They fought. I lost one very early on and I had to fight and take care of my mother. And so not to just talk about myself in terms of my struggles, but I know that if you really put your mind to something, that you can accomplish it, especially through law school. One of my mottos is that whenever you approach a wall, you have the ability to do a couple of things. You can go over the wall, you can go around the wall, and if the wall doesn’t move, you can go through it. And I mean that. And that’s how you have to be: relentless in your approach, in what you do. And if you believe in yourself that you can accomplish it and become a lawyer, then you can. I always had to talk to be a lawyer, and everybody told me that I was capable of being a lawyer. I didn’t know that myself, and I had to find that out myself.

Like I said, when I got my LSAT scores, they weren’t the best. I got into law school, said, hey, you know what? This might not be the place for you, your first year, first semester. I had to turn things around, and I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, do you want this? Go get it and live for that, and that’s what I do. Early on, I interned in the district attorney’s office. I did some criminal defense. Then I did medical malpractice defense for about five years. Then after that, I started to see a different path, a path where I could really take what all I have to bear to the table for my clients, which is myself and my experiences and understanding their experiences will give me the edge in their case. And that’s why I use the word tireless, relentless. Because I accept that awesome responsibility and I advocate for them and I go for it. We truly have people’s lives on our hands, understanding that carries with it, a great deal of responsibility and awesome responsibility. And so whatever you have to grapple with, whatever you have to bring to the table, bring it full force because this is where it matters. This is the arena of litigation.

Chad Sands: That was trial lawyer D.L. Rencher, the founder of Rencher Law Group, based in San Francisco, California. Thanks for sharing those stories. To learn more about D.L., visit his website RencherLawGroup.com. All right, I’m Chad Sands. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

Narrator: You’ve been listening to Celebrating Justice, presented by CloudLex and the Trial Lawyers Journal. Remember, the stories don’t end here. Visit TrialLawyersJournal.com to become part of our community and keep the conversation going. And for a deeper dive into the tools that empower personal injury law firms, visit CloudLex.com/TLJ to learn more.