These are my first words on a blog. It is a frightening experiment—that I should enter your world, without invitation, without yet knowing you as friends, or clients, or those whose shadows and mine have merged, or who have been readers of my books and who have therefore shared with me my thoughts and experiences and have made them their own. That has been a great gift to me.
But you of this other world, this internet world—I have not reached out to you except through my web site which, I am told, is miserably inadequate considering today’s more experienced ways.
What can I offer you? I am sitting by a stream in the country as I write—in Wyoming where I was born and where I have practiced law for many years, yes, for 55 years. I am truly a country lawyer. Yet I have spent much of my life trying cases in the great cities of this country.
I have learned things about our broken judicial system I want to expose to you.
I have ideas about our condition in this slave-hold under which many decent Americans suffer.
I have published sixteen books, and have tried many cases for people–some cases you may know about, like the Karen Silkwood case, the murder defense of Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, recently the defense of Geoffrey Fieger, the great trial lawyer who defended Dr. Kevorkian, and many others.
In 1994, I established the Trial Lawyers College at our ranch near Dubois, Wyoming, a non-profit institution to reeducate trial lawyers for the people.
My greatest fear is that I will die before my life’s work is complete. That unfinished business includes joining you in this internet world and sharing with you what I have learned. I hope you will hear my timid knocking at your door and let me in.
Welcome to the blogisphere and I’ve bookmarked your blog so that I can keep up with your writings. We need voices like yours out here.
Thanks for my #1 comment…it means a great deal to me.
Welcome to the blogosphere. You’ve already been bookmarked and I can’t wait to read you as often as you post.
Congratulations for getting in on the action!
Welcome indeed. I look forward to your contribution to the practical blawgosphere. While there are a few criminal defense lawyers who try to hold up our little corner, there is certainly no one with your renown and experience.
You’re welcome any time, Gerry. I met you 20 years ago at your office Christmas party when your door was well and truly opened. We were (still are, I guess) visitors from New Zealand. Looking forward to absorbing your wit and wisdom.
Thanks Mr. Spence. I’m a lawyer from central texas, I’m rereading “Win Your Case” and I will read some portion of it everytime I have a trial. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about everyday life that can help me be a better lawyer and a better person.
What a great idea, for a famous and talented trial lawyer like yourself to share some of your expertise and wisdom accummulated over 55 years with any other lawyer on the planet who’s interested and willing to take the time to read it.
Thanks, Gerry, from all of us.
Sorry, I failed to include the 83 in my email address.
Welcome to the internet, counselor. I share your fear—there are so many things left undone—and unlearned—and so little time—please write fast!
This is cool. Welcome to the blogosphere. I wouldn’t be surprised if this blog becomes the one of the most popular legal blogs — and in record time.
Keep up the good fight and let Einstein worry about time and how much is relative (including how much you have.) I look forward to your insight – call it as you see it we need that lone voice, “The King is not wearing any clothes.”
When you spend more time remembering yesterday, than thinking about tomorrow – you’re standing still. I know your love of a challenge and your eagerness to learn – Move forward with this new Blog. It will become your special way to touch the world, images included.
We eagerly await your touch, technology has placed us only a key stroke away. A large e-mail address book would make an old journalist muckraker proud (Edward R. Murrow).
Today – the Blog!
Tomorrow – an Internet Newsletter with an Internet Pod-Castings, from your home!
All my best,
Welcome to the legal blogosphere, Mr. Spence. We’re mostly friendly, and a few of us aren’t even lawyers, just people with an interest in the law that protects us all, or not.
I’m looking forward to reading what you’ve got to tell us.
The Internet is open to all – – the realm of freedom, of speech, expression, thought, response. Here one does not ask permission — one just is. It is first amendment yin and the yang.
Wolves prowl out there, waiting to pounce and devour the Internet. You know them. We battle them all the time — they want to own and control the Internet. AT&T, the Bells, other corporate masters who feel it is their right to harness this forum, so they can wring out every vestige of available profit. Never mind that it does not belong to them — might makes right.
The wolves are hunting where the game is most plentiful. They prowl with senators and congressmen, and state legislatures. They spread their influence and urge that the wolves know best how to herd the Internet, “Just give it to us,” they say. “We will make it better. Of course we need to recoup our investment. Trust us, we will be fair.”
Heard it before? A wolf only sees prey. It never changes. Welcome to the new landscape of the world you’ve lived in for 55 years — the fight against corporate dominance wages on, even here.
Welcome Gerry, Having watched your video on the murder trial in Oregon I look forward to hearing from you, and participating in a dialog. Trial advocacy can be taught, and you are one of the great teachers of the discipline.
Welcome to the internet world, Gerry. My fear is that you could find the “wild west” aspect of the blogosphere a bit daunting, like hecklers shouting down a complete idea, but we shall see. So far it seems like sane folks interested in your thinking.
As I mentioned to you at the Feiger trial, which was a thrilling culmination of years of fascination with your litgation and psychological thinking, I’ve listened to your “how to argue and win every time” book on tape maybe 50 times. I use it in my counseling of witnesses and attornies re: communicating with jurors – and I’ve also recently used one of your books, to very positive effect, to help one of my psychological counseling patients. This was a man who struggled greatly with his intense anger and disgruntlement with many things in the world, but always ended up isolated and frustrated, rather than engaged and moving forward. Your explication of the problem in inducing others’ fear has helped him in a way I have not been able to for quite a long time.
As you seem to be aware of, the access to the vein of feeling and diplomacy that you advocate has tremendous enlivening potential for all of us in so many areas. I have not yet read your autobiography, but I am fascinated by what life experiences could have created such a rich and layered and exacting understanding of our collective psychological functioning.
At the same time, I ALSO feel a bit skeptical about the notion of “slavery” and “freedom” you put forward – and am trying to imagine what alternative state of affairs you are envisioning. It is a bit of the same feeling as when I read or hear Chomsky speak – a portrait (in his case) dripping with critique but absent of a realistic rendering of another conceivable state of affairs.
There is no doubt we are all mostly slaves to a sense of feeling we have to keep up with emblems of success or “making it” – and the media has been able to saturate us with these images like in no other time. But hasn’t some version of this always occurred – and how, now, can we really feel much differently, given this immersion?
Holy cow! Let you *in*?? This is incredibly exciting, that you are now blogging. Gerry, many of my readers have started to view the legal system as broken, due to following the SCO litigation for five years now. I wonder if by any chance you’d be willing to take a look at the recent trial transcripts and analyze what worked well, what didn’t, etc.?
I would be fascinated. I’m not asking you to take a position. Just analyze the trial itself, which was a 4-day bench trial.
If so, here they are:
Day 1: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080501212419403
Day 3: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080502212524244
Day 4: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080504140923574
Complete archive of all filings in SCO v. Novell:
Also the proposed findings of fact/conclusions of law:
Thank you for taking this step. The public, as well as attorneys, need to hear your wisdom. Welcome!
My door is always open to you, as you were kind enough to open the door, my eyes and your home to me in 1997.
I’ve so enjoyed going over the Feiger transcripts,
and you must remember that you do more good for more people by midmorning Tuesday of a slow week than most people do in their whole lives.
May you continue your wonderful work for a very, very long time.
Peace, Love & Respect always,
TLC Class of 1997
Cedar Rapids, IA
I just finished watching the stunning documentary about Walmart’s operations overseas when I read your blog. The Chinese slave laborers have never tasted freedom.
Asilomar TLC Regional, Jan 2008
*Thank you* Mr. Spence, you are more than welcome.
> These are my first words on a blog.
> It is a frightening experiment
the sort comment:
bloging is like walking around a big town and leaving gifts in the doors of strangers. Just enjoy it, sice you don’t owe us more than we are grateful to accept.
the long comment:
I’ll borrow from your courage to write in a language I don’t master at all in order to give an advice to someone almost twice my age:
Be prepared for some strange things:
– most of your readers will be absolutely grateful but they wont share their feeling with you (it’s hard to do it when in person so just imagine how hard it is in writing)
– some will criticize every little misstep because they will be really admiring your work so much that they’ll want it to be perfect
– the few that don’t respect you at all will post far more comments and far stronger than everybody else.
All of the above maybe have to do with the fact that your readers see the text and forget there’s a live person expressing himself through the text.
Welcome! I share your fear–there is so much to do and learn and not enough time to do it! Write fast counselor!
Welcome. You’ll certainly have a broad audience and I will be reading as well.
Welcome to the blogging
Thank you from the thousands of future readers that t up to now have never had the great experience of knowing you or about you or your insightful writings. (There are still a few)
The internet will introduce whole new groups of people who sorely need to hear a viewpoint other than what the media and the corporate world force feed them.
The consciousness of the citizens of this country is deadened but, I believe and hope, not dead. Your blog will bring many out of their coma of consciousness where they have been for so long.
You may doubt this but blogs travel to many places other forms of writing don’t.
Your voice is the clearest and most sincere in the blogsphere. Thank you for starting and writing it.
I look forward to reading your comments more regularly. You have added so much to my life.
Great stuff. Why is it that there is such a problem in the legal profession? Hmmm, Dicken’s wrote about a day when there were problems with the legal profession (in “Bleak House”). His voice, and educational efforts, via his fiction, helped to bring about a reform way back then.
I wonder if your efforts duplicate the efforts of Lawrence Lessig (as for the last 10 years he took on copyright freedoms, and next 10 years he is dedicating to taking on “corruption”). http://lessig.org/info/bio/
When I think of the two of you on a somewhat common battle path to clean up the legal and political worlds (the two are so closely related these days)… I think of the battle at the O.K. Coral, and I have this image of two fellows called Earp and Holliday putting it all on the line for a purpose that they considered their moral destiny. In today’s Tombstone, do we really need the McLaury, Claiborne, and Clanton law firms of the world?
Good luck using you new web “six shooter”, I am sure that it will make some noise, let us hope that many will listen.
Welcome to the internet! Don’t let what you find here discourage you.
Not since Posner started blogging have I been as excited about the potential of a new blog. For law students like myself, blogs from practitioners have been revolutionary in extending our ability to learn from those who have gone before us. I’m looking forward to the posts to come.
I have avoided blogs so far- this will be the first one I will follow. I understand your trepidation. Thank you for once again launching into the unknown and untried (at least for you and me). Should be another good ride.
Welcome to the web. A wise old woman said “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” Gerry Spence has always fought like hell for the living.
Welcome and the best of luck to you.
You need not worry that your website or your blog are not obscured with technical nonsense. I find them both to be refreshingly clean and uncluttered. I never knew who you were before today, but I very much enjoyed reading your first blog. I think that I will be reading your blog frequently.
Thank you for your effort, your fine clairvoyant senses and unselfish wisdom.
2008-07-19 Montevideo, Uruguay
Tom Marchant, your encouragement helps. Your metaphor of being in a crowed room is making it easier for me. Thank you. Gerry
The only streams near me now are in my head. I just feel the desire to type something here…something that may appear stupid and strange. Maybe I can learn to Blog with coffee in the morning. Mark, will you help me? The combination has been dangerous in the past.
A lot of change occurred in ’99 in Wyoming. Peace and less conflict within…seems to have be replaced with other conflict with others that really aren’t in “my group”. So, can a group be created on the web? Maybe I should quit blogging on your blog. have fun!
I see your face here …. and smile. Your voice is sweet and strong as always. Welcome to this voice. May you find it worthwhile. I know those listening will find what you say to be worthwhile. I watch and wait with baited breath.
“I hope you will hear my timid knocking at your door and let me in.”
Timid knocking? No! Kick that door down, come on in and teach us what you know!!! We’re trial lawyers, we’re impatient, we’re opinionated (hence all the comments) and we’re eager to learn from you.
Hey, and there’s an upside. Because it’s the internet, we can’t interrupt you while you’re “speaking”…. : )
Your blog is a welcome surprise! As my teacher, my past employer, and most importantly, my friend, I look forward to seeing your words. You and your words have always been an inspiration to me.
I’m a great admirer of Gerry, so take my questions in the spirit I ask them. Gerry has never lost a criminal case. Define “lost.” Has Gerry ever plea bargained a case because Gerry thought it was a sure loser? Were there any cases where Gerry “lost” a case by obtaining a lesser offense conviction? At any rate, I’m sure happy Gerry is here. So, even if Gerry has technically “lost” (or not) a case, we can learn a lot from the master.
A (belated) “welcome to the blawgosphere!” I just discovered your journal, by way of Robert Ambrogi’s site. Nice to hear another respected voice online.
I have added your blog to my blogroll; hopefully others will do the same.
I wish you the best of success and look forward to some insightful reading.
I saw you speak at Boalt Hall a very long time ago when I was a very young lawyer and it was inspiring to say the least. I have now been a plaintiff’s trial lawyer for 24 years. I was particularly amazed at your most recent victory in Mr. Feiger’s case, which I followed closely. So glad you started a blog!
All the best,
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Gerry– I, too heard you speak in Los Angeles 24 years ago when I was a newly minted (but not classily schooled) lawyer. Of course it was memorable, but I only did a small stint as a Plaintiff’s lawyer and civil litigator. I ended up dong a LOT in Family Law. Needles to say, I FULLY agree with you about the feelings and right brain angle. But I have taken a LOT of heat for it!
Since I started as a lawyer, I have seen the carnage wrought to families by divorce in the court system–and now I think it is time to speak out about it. (I am getting my e-book out.) How do you think I can best dodge the bullets various folks will shoot at me?
I’d love any help, tips (or endorsements) you feel moved to provide. This is a toxic mess.
THANKS– even if just for reminding me I am NOT crazy!!!
Best wishes and good luck with this new adventure. As elsewhere, people on the internet are just “friends you haven’t met yet.”
Soon you will have more commenters than you can read. I therefore pounce on this opportunity to say that (1) you’ve been a phantom mentor to me for 21 years, although we’ve never met, and (2) your “Making of a Country Lawyer” is guts, printed and bound. Welcome.
You didn’t tell us you were out here blogging away while we were in class. I am happy that you have found a way to make your thoughts available to us now that we have left the ranch. Don’t be scared, your words will always have a home in my ears.
I am just glad that there is a medium for you to use to share your thoughts. Its just like it was at the ranch when you would sit with us and enjoy your oatmeal. The “real world” isnt the same for me any more. After graduation, I drove home three days in silence with my fellow warrior brother.
It wasn’t that we didn’t try to listen to the radio, but rather that we found that it distracted us from the surrounding beauty of the landscape. Even when we stopped at Hooters for dinner, all the bright lights and noise seemed a bit overwhelming. Luckily for us the sight of our waitresses helped to keep our attention focused.
Miss you Paw Paw,
P.S. I added you to my blog and will keep you honest with a comment from time to time…
Dare to be right! Dare to be True!
You have a work that no other can do;
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.
You opened the door to your life to me several years ago as I read my first of the many of your books. In the process of opening your door to me, I found that I opened my door to you. I have never been happier to have someone in my life, for I have learned a great deal from your collective wisdom, and found a kindred spirit.
I have now read all of the entries on your blog. It took me a while, but as I did, I felt like I was once again in your presence–I felt inspired.
I will return to this blog from time to time for inspiration, and to visit with someone who is now my friend. Write on, Gerry, the world needs to hear your voice.
Peace and love,
Is there a source where one can obtain the actual transcripts of your trials? Reading those certainly provides a “flavor” of the proceedings that can be obtained nowhere else.
Jim M. Thanks for asking. I have never tried to gather them up. Some are available only through the court reporter who took the testimony. Some of these are not available. I have a couple that I have used for writing my books, but generally, when the trial is over, I go on to the next one.
Thanks for sharing!
I am quite late in discovering your blog, but even as a non- lawyer, I am grateful for your wisdom and insight over the years.
I look forward to reading your comments for a long time to come as well as the wisdom shared by your “tribe” . . .
This is great. The domestication of man, followed by catching wild pigs. I tried to drag a photo of a wild pig on here, but it never took.(software)
On the state of injustice, the PAC $$$ Senators write the laws for those who issue up PAC $$$.
And to have it so, most Americans are not dealing in a system that provides justice, but the opposite.
For 10 years complaints had been made about the KING of Scamning, the CON Bernie Madoff, as complaint after complaint had been made to the SEC… the SEC just laughed at those who filed the complaints. Just last year, the major lawyers who sued for Security fraud were put in federal prisons.
Often, the biggest crooks have great influence over Government officials to derail any justice.
Welcome to the BLOG-O Sphere, America is eager to get your insights, because America has been led astray by a system of corruption so deep, it has endangered the Nation.
You were wondering about blogging? Are you kidding, make my day any time! A voice of reason on the blog: thank you thank you thank you
Love you and you legacy Gerry! I have been blessed by getting the chance to meet you and your family in 1994 and even several years later too. I still eagerly follow the news about you and your son Kent’s fantastic trial work! May God continue to bless you and your family (TLC too). I still love reading and re-reading the books you have written Gerry. You are an inspiration to us all.