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Hey You,

It’s Lewis aka Nerd #2.

Today I’m sharing with you an off the wall resource that I believe all marketers should marinate in, less they not have anywhere near the positive impact that’s possible for themselves and their clients and customers.

Gerry Spence, America’s winningest lawyer, has written 16 books but the one I’m sharing with you today is titled, “WIN YOUR CASE – How To Persuade, and Prevail – Every Place, Every Time”.

This man is something special. He’s fuckin’ renegade. He refuses to play by the norm. This is part of why I’m lovin’ him. The other part is that what he says about influencing decision just plain and simple makes common sense to me.

But you should judge for yourself. And here’s a snippet of what his beliefs are expressed in this kick ass book…

He’s discovered that in over 50 years in the court room that the most effective presentments out of court, take on the format of a winning trial in the court room.

It’s war out there! Plain and simple war.

In times past, the species battled for their territory with axes and spears. The same genes are at work today.

The trial lawyer in a court room is a warrior. The executive battling in the trenches of business is at war. The salesman approaching reluctant customers must conquer.

The teacher, the worker, the administrator, the citizen before the city council all seeking something, perhaps wanting change –perhaps simply seeking recognition – are engaged in a war.

It’s a war over ideas. Ideas are the territory possessed by the power person. The decision maker. Ideas have power.

In the court room the idea of the prosecutor is to put the accused behind bars. Even to execute him. The civil trial lawyer has the idea that money and justice are equivalents. And to compensate his client’s injury, he wants money. Jurors are the power persons. The decision makers.

The executive has an idea that will forward the profitability of his company. The power person may be a regulatory government agency. a board of directors or the stock holders at large.

The teacher, the worker or the citizen may seek change, but the power person, the school principal, the boss or the city council always stands in the way.

The position, their view point, their possession of whatever is sought from them, is their territory. And this war is over that turf that this power person possesses.

This book is about how to win that war.

Lawyers Don’t Know Shit

Although there are many skilled advocates at work in the law, I’m convinced that most lawyers don’t know how to try a case. They were never taught in law school.

They were never taught because their teachers, for the most part, have been those academic drones who’ve never experienced a client clinging to him like a drowning person in deep water, whose life depends on the lawyer’s skill to convince a jury.

For over 10 years, I’ve conducted the pro-bono trial lawyers college that he established on his ranch Dubois in Wyoming. A school devoted to the training of lawyers for the people.

The methods taught there magically transform ordinary,  low end, struggling trial lawyers, men and women who were scared of the court room, into powerful advocates with skills they never dreamed they could possess.

We find ourselves at the cutting edge of trial technique. We’ve broken free of the standard way of trying cases which is most of stultifying false, un-moving, bereft of honest human emotion, too full of tricks and techniques and too often, a waste of the court’s and the litigants time and resources.

The approach we teach is so simple, it is sometimes difficult for the lawyers, locked in their left brain mode, to understand.

Our method begins with the self. It demands that we tell the truth. Even when it is painful.

The method is based on a story and the story teller. It shuns the deadly intellectual artificial and pretentious. It focuses instead on the spontaneous and on crawling inside the hide of our adversaries so that we understand them as well as we understand ourselves.

It emphasizes the inimitable power of caring and de-emphasizes the use of force and intimidation as a means of persuasion.

It is this new approach to winning in the court room that I explain and teach in this book. Not only to trial lawyers but to the out of court presenters who will discover that they can make their case and win every time.

In the court room, the board room, the market place and the workplace, indeed, every place.

Gathering the Power To Win – Preparing Ourselves for War

The Power of Discovering The Self and The Wisdom Of Uncle Slim

Uncle Slim, my father’s oldest brother, was a cowboy.

Grandpa Spence said he was the smartest of his three sons. Uncle Slim was the kind of man who thought that if it couldn’t be done from the back of a horse, then it shouldn’t be done at all.

He had those thin bowlegs that looked they’d been molded around a barrel. And he wore an old Stetson that come together with four finger crease at the peak. A leather tong that extended from the hats crown, down to the back of his head and up again on the other side, held his hat against the wind. Not that string dudes wear that’s tied around their chin.

His face below the hat line was ruddy. And his hide tough. And above his hat line, his skin was white and his hair thin. Both summer and winter, he wore long cotton underwear buttoned up high, claimed he wore it in the winter against the cold and in the summer as insulation against the heat.

The one thing he valued most of all was a good horse.

One day I was standing at the coral with Uncle Slim. He was leaning on the top rail and laughing his high pitched laugh that sounded like the end note of a bull elk’s bugle.

“Look at that dude over there trying to saddle his horse. And look at saddle. It’s one of them $1,00o dollar kind.” It was a pretty thing, shiny black leather with silver spangles and silver braid around the cantle. “And look at that nag he’s trying to put it on.” Then he turned to me, and almost serious, he said, “You can’t get nowhere with a $1,000 dollar saddle on a $10 dollar horse.”

Your $1,000 Dollar Saddle

Back then I was a young lawyer living in the town of Riverton Wyoming. Population probably 5,000 isolated souls.

I tried quite a few jury cases. If a case is worth trying, it ought to be tried before 12 good citizens. I thought I knew a lot. I’d been to law school and I’d been the prosecuting attorney in Freemont county for 8 years.

A county that covered endless prairies and towering mountains and that included the wind river Indian reservation with it’s tribes of Shoshone and Arapaho Native Americans.

The county was nearly as large as some eastern states. With the small cow town of Shoshone at one end and another small cow town called Dubois at the other.

The people were spread out as sparsely as the land itself. You could probably match the counties population in a single block in Chicago or New York.

And although I thought I knew how to try a case, what Uncle Slim said got me thinking. We lawyers were like that dude with the fancy saddle and the old nag. We thought that the saddle was more important than the horse we put it on.

Our education, our experience, and the endless tricks and techniques we’d been taught in order to make our sale to the jury, the board, the customer, or the boss, have become our saddle. And they are heavy.

We attend motivational seminars put on by gurus. Training sessions about how to speak, how to organize our presentations, how to supplement them with graphics and especially how to be like the gurus.

We Put The Fancy Spangles On Our Saddles By Learning The Tricks of Others – The Big Boys, The Famous Ones With Those Towering Reputations Who In The Process Of Telling Us How To Do It, Line Their Pockets.

But after decades of applying so-called tricks of the trade, we still don’t win.

Not often enough. Something is wrong. And we suspect it’s something wrong with us. Something at the core. Something we don’t want to look at, think about, or admit.

If we could only find the right role model to follow, perhaps we too, could become a winner.

So we attend more seminars, read more “how-to” books, and at last, having imitated the best of them, we still come up short.

Sometimes, the tricks we’ve learned, work. But not often enough. Life’s entire potpourri of tricks make procedures and processes have become the saddle that we’ve been taught to mount in order to win.

That saddle is expensive and covered with glittery stuff, but in the end, it doesn’t seem to do much good.

But what about the horse?

We’ve never been taught the wisdom of Uncle Slim… “You can’t get nowhere with a $1,ooo dollar saddle on a $10 horse.”

Let us call ourselves, “The Presenters.” Those who face the jury, the board, the boss, and the customer and try to win our cases. We presenters can absorb all the law that professors can pound into us.

We can learn all the courtroom techniques and nifty tricks the big time lawyers teach. We can be the most intelligent, the cutest, the cleverest, th most intellectual swashbucklers ever to swagger into a court room or a city council meeting, but what if we know nothing about becoming a person. We’re the $10. dollar horse.

After 50 years of making my presentations in and out of the court room, I’ve learned one thing that’s for certain… It’s all begins with a person… who each of us is

If we have no knowledge of who we are, if we have no insight into the self, if we have never heeded the admonition of the sages, “Know Thyself,” we walk before the power persons – the jury, the board, the boss, the administrator as a stranger to the self.

And all of the participants at the presentation, will remain as strangers to us as well.

If the lawyer is blind to the composition of the self, how can he know anything of the persons who compose the jury?

If the executive knows nothing of herself, how can she know anything of her governing board?

How can a lawyer know what compels a witnesses testimony or the judge’s ruling? How can the worker know what goes on in the mind of the boss, if he has entered that place of war, the bosses office, as only the $10. dollar horse?

As Atticus Finch, the fictional lawyer in, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” said the his young daughter, who had a penchant to do battle with her fists, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you’ve climbed into his skin and walk around in it.”

You cannot understand human conduct without understanding others. And we cannot understand others, without first becoming acquainted with ourselves.

Life In The Chicken House

It is easier for me to think and teach in metaphors.

Uncle Slim’s $10. horse is one. Let me engage another… life in the chicken house.

Most of us assume that we know ourselves. Haven’t we lived intimately with this person all of these years? But we lived inside our own self-constructed chicken house.

And we’ve locked the door against some fear of a mythical marauding coyote that will surely do us in if we throw open the door and venture out.

As a consequence, we trudge through our lives within those four bleak walls. And over and over, bounce against those walls until we’ve grown used to our self imposed boundaries.

It’s taken a lifetime to build our chicken house. The walls are composed of images of who we think we are. Or the equally inaccurate visuals of ourselves imposed on us by our parents, teachers and peers.

The walls are the defenses we impose against our fear of experiencing the self. We’ve constructed the walls against the pain of childhood from various forms of injury…

The parent who physically or psychologically abused us, or spawned feeling of rejection or abandonment. The teacher who told us we are stupid, that we couldn’t draw a tree that looked like a tree. Or a bullying brother, or the beautiful sister who got all of the attention.

Whatever the pain, that tender organism known as the self takes on such defenses as are available. Denial of the self. A mythological re-construction of the self. Shallow rationalizations that excuse the self. A closure against feeling.

And once the walls are constructed, we live our lives within them, believing we are safely ensconced against harm.

Within the four walls of the chicken house, most of us have become walking, talking conglomerations of habits. A monumental psychic pile composed of habitual thoughts and feelings. The same old ideas and beliefs, predictable responses and brittle attitudes so that if we are encountered once, either by ourselves or others, we need not be experienced again.

To know us once, is to know us forever.

When we say we know ourselves, all we really know are the few square of the chicken house and nothing of the endless expanse of the landscape beyond.

Yet, I say that it is more dangerous to live within those walls than to live free. For the risk of living in the chicken house, is that one may have never lived at all.

Escaping the Chicken House – Discovering the Self

Erik Fromm, the great psycho-analyst said, “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself. To become who he potentially is.”

So how do we discover the self? The discovery of the self is a lifetime adventure. It begins when we figure out how frightened we are to venture beyond the door.

This life long business of self discovery can take many forms. I’ve experienced counseling and gone the route of the once stylish counter sessions. I’ve been trained as a leader in sensitivity groups. Trained lawyers in the psycho dramatic technique.

And like a child at a smorgasbord, I’ve read voraciously.

I’ve spent years discussing my loves, my pains, my fears, my guilt, my agony, and my hang ups with friends who would listen, especially with my wife, Imogene.

I’ve painted, written poetry, and become a professional photographer because these art forms are roads to secret places in the self that other wise cannot be visited.

I’ve authored 15 books, including two novels, mostly to discover what I know and how I feel and in the end, to help me identify the self, to myself.

I’ve traveled in distant primitive cultures and talked to every man, woman, child, dog, tree and posy I thought might possess any insight into this journey we call life .

I’ve visited the happy homeless wretches on the streets, the old boy who lives under the bridge. And the recluse who hides out in a hut in the wilderness of Wyoming.

Perfectly endowed, we posses all the knowledge necessary to complete this journey. Such knowledge does not come from the guru in the cave but from the guru within.

We are psychic archaeologists engaged in an archaeological dig of the self.

At Trial Lawyers college, where we teach lawyers how to win for the ordinary person, against mammoth odds, against gigantic government, and monstrous corporations, the first days are spent in assisting lawyers to become better acquainted with themselves.

They experience themselves in exercises known as psycho drama – a group process that has been described as a play created spontaneously, with neither script or rehearsal, for the purpose of understanding the self that can only be achieved through action.

To know ones self, empowers the presenter to crawl inside the hide of the participants in the trial. And such self knowledge becomes the foundation of his conduct and strategy in every phase of the war he would engage in.

If he knows himself, he will best able to acquire that critical knowledge of those he encounters in the trial or presentation.

What is true for the successful training of trial lawyers is also true for the winning presenter. We all carry with us certain issues that hang us up like old laundry on a sagging clothes line.

Some is deep furtive stuff that we tromp down that we’ve transformed ourselves into disadvantaged persons with crippled psyches, no longer free to run and jump and dance and create.

We can begin breaking out of the chicken house in many ways. At Trial Lawyers College we require that the participants get up one morning before sunrise.

They’re instructed to go out into the wilderness that surrounds the ranch where we conduct the school and to find a place in sight of now one. A place that becomes their place. Then, in their solitude, as they await the sun to come bursting over the mountain, they are to ask themselves two simple questions…

Who am I? And…

What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

Several hours later they come down from breakfast but they remain silent until they meet in the barn and share with each other what they discovered about themselves.

The silence and aloneness, the total focus on the self, is the magic and it’s available to all of us whether we’re driving to work in our cars, or sitting under a fir tree in the park

How can we hear the quiet inner voice of the self over the blare of TV, the mindless jabbering of the car radio, the beat and blast of the workplace, and the shouting demons of fear and frustration that howl constantly at our ear drums?

When one asks the self, “Who am I?” something powerful and lasting will be revealed as if the mirror of the universe is at work.

One woman said her experience was like taking off a hard-boiled egg shell, “I never knew the softness inside.” Another said, “I’m screwed up but if I weren’t I wouldn’t be able to feel the pain of others. My scars are beautiful.” Still another said, “I met someone I’d never known before and I think I’m going to like him.”

Strange I thought, how such simple life-giving experiences are denied us. By us.

The opportunity to discover the self, to experience life while we are alive, as opposed to dying before we are dead, includes every aspect of discovery and creativity.

To the casual observer, it must seem patently ridiculous for lawyers at a Trial Lawyers College to be painting. Something they have not done since grade school.

Equally unrelated to the image of the powerful corporate advocate is the lawyer standing on the table before his fellow students, embarrassed, not carrying a tune very well, but singing a solo of his favorite song, from the heart.

Grizzled veteran lawyers find themselves writing poetry and sharing it unabashedly with their fellow students.

Such exercises are available to all of us. No copyright protects their use.

By learning to listen to yourself, to fearlessly experience yourself, you learn to listen to and discover others.

The scope of this book is not to teach you how to know yourself. Such is not a teachable skill. There are no how-to-know-thy-self courses offered in college.

Self-knowledge always remains a work in progress. A different one for each of us. One that reveals a changing landscape as we travel through our lives.


OK. What are your thoughts about this? Important or not?

For me it’s YET ANOTHER example of the universe dropping into my lap the case that Larry Crane of the Release Technique or David Deida make about why it’s all important for us to demand that we be true to ourselves via asking ourselves tough questions that make us really home in on why we’re here.

This is what my 90 day challenge was about, getting rid of the distractions I retreat to in order to put myself in a position where I have no excuse to say I don’t have time to do the exercises that ask me to know myself better which in turn helps me understand others better.

I’m only 3 chapters into this book, “WIN YOUR CASE – How To Persuade, and Prevail – Every Place, Every Time” and I’m telling you, it getting better and better and I can’t recommend it highly enough to you if you’re looking for ways to become more influential in your business.

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne aka Note Taking Nerd #2