I confess that I am not a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College, though several of my friends are. I also confess that I have never met Gerry Spence nor spent hours studying his various books and essays, though I occasionally peruse his blog. I know he has an amazingly dedicated and vocal following–akin to that of Apple Computer. Success speaks for itself. I cannot say that I agree with everything he says, but he and I generally inhabit the same ballpark.
I certainly appreciate his zest for raw advocacy and appealing to human, rather than legal, aspects of representation. I also appreciate his influence on several of my colleagues who improved their practice dramatically after attending one of Gerry’s seminars. I am actually a beneficiary of someone who often works with the Trial Lawyers College, Joshua Karton, and he provided me with invaluable insight into my abilities as an advocate. If the Trial Lawyer’s College mirrors the experience I had with Josh, then I wholeheartedly recommend it.
I also enjoy Gerry’s insight on Liberty. He voices his appreciation for our human rights while heaping [largely deserved] condemnation upon those who he perceives as a threat to the same. As a libertarian, I believe strongly in a broad and empowering interpretation of our Bill of Rights, and I maintain that our government’s main role should be to ensure that these ten principles are allowed to continue and flourish. The thing that gives us strength as Americans is not our form of government, but the rights it is intended to protect.
I appreciate anyone who loves advocacy as much as Gerry. He cut a successful path away from mainstream lawyering and created a brand of advocacy that is both effective and illuminating. Someone once told me that they hoped to follow in his path. I will not. I suspect he would not want me to.
Instead, perhaps I will borrow his machete for a little while as I create my own path.
Damn the torpedoes.