REPORT FROM SPENCE REGIONAL SEMINAR LEAVENWORTH, WASHINGTON

Here is a late report of the Trial Lawyer’s College regional meeting in Leavenworth, Washington. The theme was “Discovering the Story” and it was very well attended with some 94 lawyers.

 I picked Gerry up at the airport and we made the 2.5 hour drive there talking  the whole way. At 82 years of age my friend’s mind is sharp and he gets along better then my 76 year old body moves. We missed a turn (I was driving) because Gerry was playing his recording in rap music about being a trial lawyer and I didn’t hear the navigation system tell me to take the ramp. But, we simply went the back way and his recording was very good. We had an inability to agree whether the orchards near Leavenworth were pear or apples (I said apples and I was wrong) . I’ve missed discussions with Gerry and it was a great opportunity to reconnect.

Gerry and I spoke the first night. We had psychodrama exercises the next day and workshops.  Don and Kathy did their usual great job. Josh Karton took a half day on communications which wasn’t enough for me. He is outstanding. We had workshops on discovering the story and Saturday night Gerry and I did a question and answer program in the evening.

I never participate in one of these events without getting more then I give.  Discovering the story is essential to winning the case. What does that mean? To me it involves (1) finding out all the underlying facts from the client’s perspective. Through role reversal and re-enactment we learn things an interrogation would never reveal (2) determining what the central story is for this case. Why has this lawsuit been brought? Why should the jurors care about the facts involved in this case -how does it impact them? What makes this a case where justice is important? It is the theme of the case and I don’t mean slogan. and (3) how to  tell the story. What viewpoint to tell it from, how to frame it and how to deliver the story – these are essential for a proper presentation of the case. Josh re-enforced the fact that lawyers tend to spend time on details, such as dates, car models and other non essential facts, when they should tell their story without those unnecessary distractions. It was a good learning experience.

Laurie Goodman had things organized. The staff was an outstanding group and I enjoyed being around such talented people. People were enthusiastic and it was a success from my perspective. By the way, the food is outstanding at this resort. If you get a chance to attend next year, take it.

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