Gerry Spence Method

I was invited to be a student for the inaugural GMS three-week training at the Thunderhead Ranch in Dubois Wyoming in August 2021. The experience is life changing. The first week we experience psychodrama. As Gerry says, “You can’t tell your client’s story until you can tell your own.”

The Gerry Spence Method of trial advocacy techniques and principles were developed by renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence. He is known for his remarkable courtroom success and his ability to connect with juries on an emotional level. The guiding principles of the Gerry Spence Method are:

  1. Storytelling: Spence emphasizes the power of storytelling in the courtroom. He believes that presenting a compelling narrative helps jurors understand and empathize with the client’s perspective. By crafting a persuasive story, attorneys can engage the emotions and imagination of the jury, which creates a powerful connection between the jury and the client.
  2. Connecting with jurors on an emotional level: Spence recognized that jurors make decisions based on emotions as much as logic. He emphasized the importance of establishing an emotional connection with the jury by appealing to their values, fears, and desires. By using the Spence Method, Matt aims to evoke empathy and understanding from jurors.
  3. Being authentic and genuine: Spence stresses the significance of being oneself in the courtroom. He encourages lawyers to embrace their own personality, speaking style, and mannerisms instead of trying to imitate someone else. Authenticity helps build trust with jurors. By sharing our fears and weaknesses with the jury we are allowing the jury to relate and connect with us on a human level.
  4. Simplifying complex issues: The defense of most personal injury cases, especially medical malpractice, focus on the complex legal and medical concepts designed by the defense to confuse jurors. Spence advocates for breaking down these complexities into simple relatable terms that jurors can understand. By simplifying complex issues, we can develop trust while ensuring the jurors fully grasp the core issues and evidence in the case.
  5. Spence teaches us to focus on the human element: Spence believes in putting people at the center of the case by humanizing our clients as well as our witnesses. By humanizing the people in our case, we build strong connections with them and our jury. We highlight our client’s struggles, motivations and vulnerabilities, as well as share our own.
  6. Story telling must engage all the juror’s senses: At Thunderhead Ranch, we learn the importance of engaging all the jurors’ senses to create a lasting impact. We learn to use visual aids, demonstrations, reenactments, and vivid sensory based language that appeals to sight, sound, touch, and even smell. By engaging visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and even olfactory senses in our storytelling, we can create more memorable and persuasive arguments for our clients.

By learning storytelling methods and incorporating:

  • Role Reversal
  • Mirroring and Matching
  • Aside
  • Empty Chair
  • Surplus Reality
  • Scene Setting
  • Time Distortion – the moment before, during, and the all-important moment after

By using these techniques we are able to tell a story that is rich and memorable. We tap into our juror’s deeper psychological life experiences and connect them to our client and disassociate them with the wrongdoer.

Jury selection is a key component to the GSM training.

The Advanced GSM training is le4d by the renowned Joey Lowe. Joey is a master at teaching jury selection. Joey taught the skills of:

  • Reflective Listening
  • Body Language
  • Transference
  • Connection
  • Deeping Language Patterns
  • Springboarding
  • Sharing Our Own Fears

All these combine to allow us to build a tribe of loyal jurors who want to help, not destroy.

I urge any trial lawyer to get involved and learn the skills handed down by Gerry Spence.