Trial Lawyers College
Prominent trial attorney Gerry Spence, considered one of the most successful trial attorneys in America, conceived of and formed the not-for profit Trial Lawyers College in 1994. His primary purpose was to share his experience and methods for success developed in his fifty plus years of practice with lawyers dedicated to obtaining justice for the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the defenseless and the damned and to train trial lawyers be better advocates for people. The Trial Lawyers College trains a new breed of lawyer - a lawyer who is a person first, who passionately fights for and believes in justice and, who gets to know and understand and most times care deeply about his or her clients. Forty-eight lawyers are selected from 100s of applications each year to attend the "not for profit" Trial Lawyers College. These individuals learn how to ""crawl into the hides of their clients," to feel and experience their pain and to understand and care for their opponents. In the course of their training, they "become" the judge, the juror, the client and the witness. By understanding themselves better, the lawyer gains a deeper understanding of other people. These lawyers learn the power of credibility. They learn by repeated efforts in the makeshift courtrooms at Spence's secluded, austere ranch - how to select and connect with a jury, how to make an effewctive opening statement, how to deliver a winning final argument and empower a jury to give justice to their clients. They have learned to trust themselves, to trust each other, and to trust juries. By the time the several week session is over, these lawyers have learned more about the essential ingredients of trial lawyering than most lawyers learn in a lifetime. They learn who they are and what assets they can best bring to a courtroom. The trial lawyers who attend the Trial Lawyers College learn to fight for justice and to help people realize that in America the law can still deliver justice to the injured and justice to those accused of criminal wrongdoing. Most "students" at the College, those chosen from the 100s of applications received each year, are already accomplished trial lawyers. Many lawyers who attend the more than three week program are already some of the best trial lawyers in the country.
Information about Gerry Spence
Gerry Spence, recognized nationwide for his powerful courtroom victories, including that for the estate of Karen Silkwood against Kerr-McGee and those for the criminal defenses of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos and White Separatist Randy Weaver, takes pride in being a country lawyer. Born, raised and educated in Wyoming, Spence graduated first in his class from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1952. Spence first gained national recognition when he received a $10,500,000 verdict against Kerr-McGee in the Karen Silkwood case on behalf of her children in 1977. (The largest Plaintiff's verdict in the United States at the time). Later he earned such verdicts as $26,535,000 against Penthouse in a libel case for Miss Wyoming and successfully defended Sheriff Ed Cantrell in the famous Rock Springs, Wyoming murder case where Cantrell allegedly shot a narcotics officer in the back of a police vehicle before the narcotics officer pulled his weapon on Cantrell. Spence received a $52,000,000 verdict against McDonald's Corporation, the fast-food chain, on behalf of a small, bankrupt, family-owned ice cream company for McDonald's breach of an oral contract based on a handshake. A Utah medical malpractice verdict of over $4,000,000 established a new standard for nursing care in that state. In 1990 he won an acquittal for Imelda Marcos on multiple charges after a three and one-half month trial in New York City. Spence was hired just two weeks before the trial began in Federal Court. In 1992, he received a record-breaking $15,000,000 verdict for emotional damages incurred by his quadriplegic client because a major insurance company refused to pay the $50,000 policy more than twenty years earlier. Two weeks later he added $18,500,000 in punitive damages to the award. In 1993, Spence successfully defended white supremist Randy Weaver on murder, assault, conspiracy, and gun charges in the famous Idaho federal standoff case; he then brought suit against the federal government for the wrongful death of Weaver's wife and son and won a multi-million dollar settlement for Mr. Weaver's family. In 2008, Gerry defended high profile lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, the lawyer whose national claim to fame was defending Dr. Kevorkian, the "death doctor," in Detroit, Michigan on charges alleging illegal campaign contributions. On the surface, most lawyers evaluating the case believed the facts and law were overwhelmingly against Mr. Fieger; Spence won an acquittal for Fieger on all ten counts alleged against him. Gerry was several months shy of his 80th birthday at this month long trial.
Jim Jenkins Involvement with the College
Since attending the initial three week program mentioned above several years ago, Jim has attended hundres of hours training in various programs for graduates of the intensive three week program at Gerry's ranch, each program lasting for at least a week. He has attended numerous four (4) day workshops through out the country the last several years as well as other College related workshops. He is an strong advocate of the methods taught at the College and has recruited new lawyers to become involved in the program. The methods truly work.
Other Training in Trial Methods
Although Jim believes the methods taught by Gerry and the College provide essential tools necessary to be an effective trial lawyer, other programs and training programs provide other "arrows" to place in Jim's quiver to use to obtain the best chance at a positive outcome for his client's cases. Most seasoned trial attorneys are always open to learning new information to better represent the interests of their clients --- like most areas of life, we never quit learning.