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.