Legendary Trial Lawyer Gerry Spence Offers Advice to Young Lawyers

if you want to be a trial lawyer you

can't learn it we send these young kids

to to law school of a huge expense and

law schools are have become the

money-making engine of universities you

can put a couple of hundred kids in a

room and put up a single teacher up in

front of those kids to lecture to them

and the money rolls into the university

and the kids learn nothing I mean when

they get through law school they can't

even pass the bar without having hired

some kind of bar refresher course to get

them through the bar our young people

are being taught by mostly mostly most

often teachers who have never tried a

case or if they've tried a case very few

who are themselves incapable of making a

good defense for a criminal to somebody

charged with the crime or utterly

incapable of getting justice for

somebody who has been seriously injured

what happens in this country if the

rights of ordinary citizens can no

longer be enforced by caring successful

lawyers and so by the time we get it

through law school

we are thoroughly convinced that to be a

successful trial lawyer we have to be

skilled in fancy argument that polemics

of one kind or another prevail that

somehow we have to

we'll put aside our feelings and that if

we are really real and reveal ourselves

we will be shamed and laughed at and

found inadequate and so what is there

for us to do of course the truth the

exact truth is exactly the opposite of

that but when this happens to us we need

to know what's happening to us and if we

don't know ourselves how can I know you

as the juror how can I understand you as

the juror if I haven't been where you've

been if I don't struggle where you

struggle how can I possibly communicate

to you in any real way you can't become

a good trial lawyer without becoming a

decent person tonight I think that I

think most lawyers are decent people but

to become a really effective trial

lawyer one must become a real human

being we cannot be successful in a jury

trial before ordinary people unless we

are people ourselves unless we are real

ourselves if I can't be real myself how

can I expect you to be real if I can't

love my client how can I ask you to love

my client we have to be real human

beings and be as credible as real human

beings can be if we're going to be

successful and that isn't pardon law

school that isn't taught anywhere except

perhaps at trial lawyers College this is

a college that we hold at our ranch

which is now leased totally to the trial

lawyers college and lawyers who

represent people only people no

corporate lawyers can come no government


can come only people's lawyers can come

this is the start of the third staff

training all of the staff there are

trained by us and our pro bono as mi

what way what we do there is teach first

of all people how to be real isn't that

something that we have to teach people

to be real human beings they have to

learn how to how to write a poem how to

sing a song Oh Danny Boy the pipes the

pipes or blow in from Linda Glenn I know

the mountainside the summer's they have

to to walk out into the wilderness and

have an experience there with themselves

we also have them in gauge in

psychodrama which is a process by which

they are taught to reverse roles and so

once they learn how to reverse roles to

become the other they have learned what

they need to do in a trial they have to

reverse rules with the jury how what is

the juries agenda they have to

understand the judge what is the judge

trying to do they have to understand the

jurors and the prosecutors what is going

on in the courtroom they cannot

understand until they know how to

reverse rules and what's going on with

themselves so we teach at trial areas

college how to how to reverse roles and

how to apply that sort of teaching to

every segment of the trial and it

changes the lives of these these lawyers

young and old and they come out better

people and better trial lawyers