The Spence Method is the life’s work of legendary trial attorney, Gerry Spence. Through creative exploration, courage, and tireless devotion, he documented the method behind his trial process. The Spence Method is based on action and creativity. Implementing the Spence Method starts with you. Before you can understand and connect with the jury, you need to connect with yourself.
Before you can tell your client’s story, you need to understand your story and its universal truth. The Spence Method initiates personal exploration through the use of psychodrama. We call this, “working on the horse.” The directing skills of psychodrama (role reversal, doubling, chair back, soliloquy, empty chair, and magic mirror) are the crucial skills needed by the trial lawyer to bring their case to life.
The most effective way to accomplish this is through “scene setting.” Gerry Spence was a pioneer in utilizing psychodrama directing skills to present a deeper story that connects emotionally with the jury. He believes that you have a power of your own, one that no one else can match.
A good story is based on a theme that represents the principal point of your case. This is the starting point. The one sentence theme also anchors your story. The Spence Method helps you identify a theme that summarizes a story that stands for the ultimate point you will convey to the jury.
Before you can tell a story of emotional truth, you need to select a jury that is receptive to your case. The Spence Method ‘Voir Dire’ is based on building a tribe, authenticity, learning to be in the moment, showing a piece of yourself and who you are, listening—truly listening, and sharing the “danger point” of your case.
Once a jury is picked, you come to the Opening Statement. Gerry Spence believes once you used the Method to build a tribe in jury selection and after your Opening statement, the case has been decided by the jury. The Spence Method ‘Opening Statement’ takes practice. Before we deliver our story to the jury, we must first visualize the scenes that we will present.
Who is the villain? What is the trust relationship? How was the trust relationship betrayed? What is the weakness of the case and how do we confront it? What is it that we want from the jury? Utilizing the Spence Method means the options for telling your story are vast. You learn to set scenes in the Opening that are compelling and far different than a bland recitation of facts.
The Spence Method ‘Direct Examination’ is grounded on directing a story in the present sense, such that the jury is transformed live into witnessing live action. The Spence Method ‘Cross-examination method’ is rooted in telling your story through a witness.
Cross-examinations are the method by which we tell our story to the jury through the adverse witness and, in the process, test the validity of the witness’s story against our own
Closing argument is not a summation of facts, rather, this is your chance to “close the deal” based on everything you have done since the beginning the trial. If the attorney has been genuine, connected to the case, cared about it, cared about the client, laid it all down every day, day after day in the courtroom, then caring becomes contagious, so that the jury cares as well then, the attorney is ready and has earned the right to be heard, with the case already won. This is the Spence Method.
Fighting for the People | Gerry Spence | TEDxJacksonHole
Renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence reflects on justice in a powerful personal retrospective.
“This is a place where you come to be a human. What's amazing aboout Gerry is that he's one of the most famous trial lawyers in America but he doesn't want people to copy his arguments or to copy how he talks or dresses.”
“When you go to law school they teach you how to be a lawyer but they don't teach you how to care. Here's the best part of GSM. you will leave different. Not a different person, but a different lawyer.”
“The magic and the transformation that takes place here that I find remarkable is that by becoming better human beings we become better lawyers; by digging deep into ourselves we're better able to sense what may be holding our clients back and we can get at the real story.”
3-Week Program 2023
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