REPORT ABOUT THE SPENCE TRIAL LAWYERS COLLEGE

On Sunday I left Gig Harbor for Wyoming about 4:15 AM  to make the flight from Seattle to Salt Lake  and then transfer to another plane for the flight to Jackson Hole. In Jackson the weather was beautiful, in the mid 80’s  and the Teton’s still had snow. After  collecting my bag I headed out in the rental SUV for the ranch.

As always, there was construction and rough road along with the slow moving cars pulling trailers, but I made it to Dubois,Wyoming, some 86 miles away, about two  and a half  hours later. In Dubbois I made my annual stop at the Cowboy Cafe to have their hamburger  and french fries before heading on to the Thunderhead Ranch where  the college is located. The ranch is  some 25 miles  East of Dubois and 75  miles Northwest of Riverton, WY. However, a good portion of those  miles are on a rough dirt road  to the ranch. By the time I got there in the midafternoon on Sunday the students had been there for a couple of weeks going through psychodrama and trial training.

This group of students were one of the best groups I’ve worked with in some time as far as  their enthusiasm and desire to learn. They were of all ages and gender. The subject was jury selection when I arrived. Gerry Spence gave a talk at 9:00 am until noon. That afternoon and evening we broke into groups to practice under supervision of staff members  who had been through the program and the graduate program.  We quit at 5:00. After dinner the groups worked again from 7:00 pm to 9:00. I gave a talk one evening from 7:00 to 9:00. The morning I left Gerry had lectured on cross  examination and they would work on that in groups.

The students were more than 1/3 women. They were were of different  ages and  experience. A number of public defenders along with plaintiff injury  lawyers. The staff was also a mix of gender, age and practice areas. I enjoyed seeing my friend Gerry again. He  is 83 years old, writing  two books, teaching and working on his photogaphy exhibits. We talked about planning another  photography trip together, but agreed it had to be easier on us, given our age, than previous  trips we had made together.

Of course, I always learn a lot more than I teach. For one thing, you can’t help but  learn when you watch people attempting to do something involved  in trial and teaching them how  to do it correctly. They mirror the difficulty we all have in doing it right and correcting them results in learning  on both parts. This was something like the 17th year of teaching for  me.

My friend  Dana Cole was there again. He was  in the class the first year I taught (which was  the second year Gerry started  it) and he was  there again. He has  not only come back to teach every year, but he used to stay during the entire course plus  attend other sessions held there. So it was a reunion of  sorts since the staff had been students when I taught there. I’m tired,  but happy I  made the trip. Next week on to New York and the Inner Circle Convention.

Keep fighting for justice for  your clients.

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