Blame the Maple Syrup

Trial Lawyers College

The first time I saw Gerry Spence speak was at an ATLA CLE in Dec. '01, though I sensed him before my eyes saw him.  Spence fills up a room.  If you're sitting with your back to him as he walks in, the hairs on your neck will stand up.  Before you're conscious that he's entered, you can feel him there.  I've never seen charisma adequately defined.  But when you meet Spence, you'll understand.

When Spence finished his speech, over half the room leaped up.  It seemed that everyone wanted a piece of the man, if only to shake his hand.  Many people (including me) went to law school after reading one of his books.  Unfortunately, few lawyers realize that Spence has been teaching lawyers his tricks for over ten years.  Trial Lawyers College.

His methods center around psychodrama.  Through a series of role playing exercises you learn how to "crawl into the hide" of your client, opposing counsel, the judge, or your opponent's best witnesses.  Think of it as How to Argue and Win Every Time for the courtroom. 

The training culminates into Spence's two trademarked moves - the first person opening statement, and the "soft-cross."  (Read pp. 175-176 of How to Argue and Win for an example of a soft-cross).

He offers a full-length program - 21 days in Wyoming.  The selection process is quirky, and fewer than 1 in 7 applicants are accepted.  But to ensure that no one is left out, there are usually five or six regional seminars across the country. 

I've been to two regional seminars, and Spence has instructed at both.  At the seminar I attended a year or so ago, he and Milton Grimes did a mock voir dire.  And Spence is around for the meals and activities, and I've even had breakfast with him a couple of times.  Not because I'm special, but because Spence makes times for everyone.

So if you like Gerry Spence (or, if you don't like him but realize he has a lot to offer), you should attend one of his seminars.  You can obtain more information here.