The 2009 spence trial college session

I’ve just returned from Wyoming where I taught at the Spence Trial College as I have every year since it began over a decade ago. This year my schedule only allowed me to spend a few days there, but it is still inspiring to see fifty five lawyers from around the country sacrificing weeks of their time to become better lawyers. My friend Josh Karton was at his finest as usual, teaching communication skills. It is impossible not to learn something no matter how many times you have watched Josh put on a seminar. Gerry was on top of his game as well in his demonstration of voir dire and the students were all eager to learn. I was sorry I couldn’t spend more time with them. As a means of getting lawyers to drop all the pretense and masks as well as get in touch with their inner self, each student must recite a poem and sing a song to the group. Among the very fine poems one, by Texas lawyer, Todd Kelly touched me. Todd is an experienced plaintiff’s lawyer (http://www.kellylawfirm.org/) who was there to learn how to become better at representing his clients. This is the poem he wrote and recited which I repeat with his permission:

A warrior went to rest today
I struggle for the words to say
His work will likely long endure
Because his cause and heart were pure

He spent his life in a battle few
would ever have the courage to
Hetook on power, greed and hate
With love and justice – he was great

He stood to face the evil foe
who live where ivory towers grow
He never backed from fear or wear
For his cause, he was just – there

He helped the injured and the poor
So that these people could endure
He never saw himself above
But rather fought for them with love

He fought with every strength he had
He fought even when things went bad
You always knew just where he stood
An always knew his heart was good

As the end of his own war drew near
He made sure that all would hear
Though pain remained he had to gaff
Just to make his lived ones laugh

For him it was not about his life
Or recognition for his strife
But rather it was all about
Those who live their lives without

We feel a loss today, I know
In fact I cannot rightly show
The way that I feel for this man
But I have tried the best I can

My friend and I – we met so late
But such is oft the hand of fate
As i write, I realize just what to say:
A warrior went to rest today

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