TLC: Thus Spake The Alter Ego ...

Call me an unrepentant Judas, I suppose, for taking a few hours one day this past week to read the IRS 990s on line submitted by the Trial Lawyers College and the Spence Foundation. But I merely raised questions, (See, "The Wizard of Wyoming.") and, surprisingly, no one from the college has seen fit to respond here. But Zarathustra hath spoken. In a message to TLC alumni, Gerry Spence and new board president Jude Basile offer the following, reprinted below.

Perhaps all this is true. But there's a lot of money changing hands, and no real public paper trail. And there are reports that the very issues about which I wrote were raised at board meetings, costing some board members their seats at the council table. It's time to publicize the documents, including the lease. Or do we merely take on faith the words of a man building his own legacy and offering, for free mind you, a certain ranch, if only we contribute a little money. You see ...

Half truths are like half bricks, you can throw them twice as far, but invisible bricks only bear the weight of those prepared to take great leaps of faith. I wish the IRS were so kind with me when I report my income. But then if I claimed I received no rent, and then asserted that the rent I received was for expenses, people would look at me funny.

Spence is good. Subtle ad hominem works well for the already persuaded. But this sound and fury signifies little. When it comes to a former cattle ranch, we're entitled to ask: "Where's the beef?"

I'd love to here from John Nolte, Charles Abourezk, Garvin Isaacs, Joane Garcia-Colson. What's been going in paradise?

When Jesus summoned his disciples to a last supper, he didn't require them to eat off of monogrammed plates. Gerry Spence's trial lawyers college and a new wave of legal education? Maybe; maybe not. Two boards to serve purposes only one need do? Suspicious.

The Alter Ego Hath Spoken

Dear Tribe,


Questions have arisen lately about the Ranch, fundraising, The Spence Foundation, and TLC.

I was in the first TLC class of 1994. I was invited to be on staff in 1997, and the TLC Board in 1999. In the first few years of TLC, Gerry Spence paid for most, if not all the costs of operating TLC. The tuition charged was meager and did not cover costs. He had some initial contributions from some of the early board members but most of the expense was covered by him.

In early 1998, Tom Meitier also a 1994 graduate came up with the idea of having Gerry speak and raising money to help support TLC. This idea evolved into the Regional Seminars that TLC has today. Other Board members, promoted fundraising and Gerry went along with it. He was often reluctant to attend the fundraisers held at Regionals and TLC and expressed his reluctance. He did attend. We have raised money and it has helped continue the Mission of TLC. The ranch is a special place that as provided a place of opportunity for those who attend to look at themselves in a new way. Who we are as people is often examined. What we do both personally and professionally is examined. The ranch is located in a place of natural beauty, next to the Shoshone Indian Reservation. The ranch is unique and touches many who come to it.

. I am open to any questions raised by our tribe and will seek to be transparent in all we do.


Here is Gerry’s response to questions raised recently by Norm Pattis :

As some wise man observed -- a half truth is like half a brick. You canthrow it twice as far.

Here are some answers to the careless speculations of Mr. Pattis: TLC pays NO RENT on the entire ranch except the cost of operating the ranch and its upkeep on the buildings. In other words, TLC gets the free use of a multi-million dollar ranch for no rent, which also includes the extensive furnishings of the ranch and its lodge, the dorms and other lodging facilities, including the kitchen. Must be something wrong here, right?

I work most of a year every year without a salary of any kind. Imaging does the same -- no salary for her endless work to make the ranch function. This is a part of our philosophy. All our TLC staff, except the psychodramitists, work at their own expense without pay. So does our board. Must be something wrong here too.

We live in a one room cabin on the ranch. But that cabin is on our private land that adjoins the ranch and is not part of the foundation property. We charge no fee for the cabin's use, and it is used exclusively by us when we are at the ranch for TLC. That Spence and his wife would live in a small, one room cabin after having given up a spectacular ranch house to the college -- well, must be something wrong here too.

Yes, when the lease is up any additions put on the ranch will belong to the Spence Foundation, itself a non-profit entity from which Spence and his wife have never and will never get a penny. But TLC has a right to release the property for another twenty five years under the same terms and conditions. None of us, nor any of our children will be around at the conclusion of this lease. Even so, this ranch will NEVER return to Spence, his family, or anyone other than the non-profit foundation that has legal title to the same. At that time hopefully TLC will still be around and available to rent the ranch for another fifty years.

Gerry and Imaging Spence have never been paid a cent by TLC. Not one cent.Nor will they ever. The Spence Foundation does not receive a penny from TLC except the rent which equals the cost of the ranch's operation. In other words the rent is simply a reimbursement to the foundation of the costs the foundation has incurred during the year for the operation of the ranch. That includes taxes, the cost of the manager and his wife and other employees who keep the ranch operating. This also includes costs of repair and upkeep. Moreover, Spence nor his wife nor any member of his family are paid any sum for the operation of the Spence Foundation. ALL is a gift. Nor has there been a "spreading of one entity across two sets of books,"whatever that means. That acknowledged "suspicion" is a function of Mr.Pattis' extraordinary mind, not some imagined accounting scheme. But surely there must be something wrong here.

Yes, there are Spence family members who are members of both boards, namely Imaging and our son, Kent. The TLC board members also include Kent and Imaging on its board of seventeen members. Spence is now the CEO of the college and is not a member of the board. Imaging, last year, in the fourteenth year of the college, when the operation of the college was in serious crisis, was taken on the board on the motion of Bill Trine and with the unanimous approval of the board since her input on the actual operation of the ranch and the college was essential to the college's survival. Moreover, she designed and supervised the remodel of the kitchen and the Bear Creek house which was a mammoth task that stripped her of most of her available energy for most of this year.

Imaging runs this ranch. Kent has been a member of both boards for many years. He attended the first TLC class, has been instrumental in the college's growth and understands the philosophy of its founders. He is a full time resident of Jackson and is the only member of the board who is available year-round to oversee, from time to time, the requirements of the ranch. All other board members live in distant places so that, but for Kent, no one is present in Wyoming year round to make the necessary decisions from time to time required to keep the ranch in operation. Must certainly be something wrong here as well.

Jude Basil is a member of the Spence Foundation board. He is our new TLC president by a near unanimous choice of the board. Jude was chosen to be a member of the Spence Foundation because when Imaging and I are gone there should be someone from TLC on the foundation board to be certain that its interests are fully understood by the foundation.We do have the same accountants. The Sorensen firm has been our accountants for more than thirty years. They were our accountants when we set up our foundation, and when we established TLC. They know the ins and outs of our history. It would be simply stupid to hire other accountants who have no historical knowledge of the business of TLC and who would end up duplicating much of the work. If there were something wrong here the Sorensen firm would be the first to let us all know, as would our board.

Yes, TLC is in pretty good financial shape, that is to say, thankfully weare not like many non-profits who are in financial difficulty because they were invested in the stock market. We kept our money mostly in government bonds and did not suffer the financial set-backs of many non-profits. Something wrong there too I suppose.

Finally Mr. Pattis threw in the kitchen sink. There have been several members of our board who no longer are part of our organization -- two in over fifteen years I believe. For a bunch of trial lawyers who generally can't agree on anything, that seems like a pretty good record. While I regret greatly the loss of those two and miss them, their departure from TLC is hardly evidence of something wrong somewhere.

What is terribly wrong is that a man like Norm Pattis can use his acknowledged great skills to put together a series of half-truths that make a very honorable institution look like somebody's private scam. Mr. Pattis spent a mammoth amount of time and energy in undertaking his investigation and writing his piece. Would he have used the same energy to join us infighting for the rights of the people who need us in this country.

I spent a morning at our fifteenth year celebration with Mr. Pattis and a number of our other mutual friends. He had come all the way from the East coast to be with old TLC grads who loved the college enough to join us in our celebration. Mr. Pattis and I were within arm's length of each other for several hours of jolly remembrances and good times. Not once did he ask me a single question or discuss or show any interest in discussing the issues he has now dumped on the public, obviously with no other intent than to hurt TLC and its mission.

I have always admired most those who, when they have an issue with me, also have the courage to address it face to face. I agree with Mr. Pattis on one thing: I wouldn't give a nickel for that old fringed jacket of mine. But some think it has historical value, and perhaps the purchaser just wanted an excuse for donating to the college. We are attempting to raise enough money so that we will no longer be required to impose our fund-raising on our students, that is, to raise enough to endow our college permanently.

Now let me join with you and a host of TLC grads whose lives and practices have been changed forever because of the gifts given them by TLC, in celebrating where TLC finds itself today: First, this college belongs to every TLC grad who loves, supports and fights for its continued survival and growth. It does not belong to me or to my family or to any foundation except its own. We are on the brink of bursting into the mainstream of training America's trial lawyers for the ordinary citizen.

Yes, we will always have a few distracters, always those who cannot find in themselves the will to build rather than destroy, who find some kind of piteous pleasure in hurting rather than helping, and, at last, who simply crave to draw attention to themselves. We cannot change them. We can only endure them with the best love and understanding we can muster.

Comments: (34)

  • Mike,
    Do you see all that have posted here as in s...
    Do you see all that have posted here as in some cult ? Teh grips of some cult ?
    You got your cult 5 sign alert out.(see above).
    If any even respond to Norm's buddy Scott, they are branded a "psychopaths", on this cult thing.(see the latest), now the big net spread.
    Greenfield started that cult thing in 2007 on Spence.(his Blog pieces).
    Looks like you took up the baton, huh, Mike.
    Since I have never gone to a TLC event, i don't need any deprogramming.
    Are you working with Norm to deprogram him after his drama-trauma at Wyoming events ?
    If it was such a cult thing, why is Norm now recommending people go to TLC ?
    Is it the distress thing(see your cult alert signs, above).
    Are you so Jungian at the moment to be a code reader for Norm on the metacognitive ?
    Truly amazing Mike.
    And, you experienced in deprograming, did it start with the moonies, wow Mike, impressive.
    I am not dependent on Spence, TLC for a darn thing.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm by Anonymous
  • Looks like the rose is off the pedal,
    at rocky Mou...
    Looks like the rose is off the pedal,
    at rocky Mountain TLC., some tnder loving
    care, with some horse picky to make the roses
    bloom, and New York's attorney buddies of
    Norm weiging in that commentors on this
    on the cult pieces are " psychopaths".
    That must go beyond even the latest
    Yiddish convictions on matters .
    I wonder if all those who even respond to
    Norm can now make the East coast " black list".
    By the way, I was taught by Nuns
    in early life, that must raise the
    alarm of the Intersanctum of the Barn Bar
    Posted on October 17, 2009 at 9:45 am by Anonymous
  • Spence was pretty amazing for so long, and as an o...
    Spence was pretty amazing for so long, and as an old guy, even, and so near his 80's, lets see how Norm is, when he reaches into his mid 60's ?
    So, Norm I got something for you to learn, that thing about aging, and trial work.
    There were not a lot of old gun slingers fast draw guys in the old West, and not a lot of trial attorneys doing heavy duty trial work much after their late 60's.
    Really, that is a reality, if you have every surveyed the landscape.
    Posted on October 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm by Anonymous
  • Norm:
    I see you are now wondering about the latest...
    I see you are now wondering about the latest TLC Head spokes-person, in view of recent developments.
    I don't know you or Mr James R. Clary Jr.
    Thus, will not go on some big splurge WWW expose, from the whole cloth -drama-approach.
    So, I was curious, wondering, nevertheless, who is this Clary guy, and the reaction on Thunderbold Broback Mountain
    So, having lexis, I ran the search; Heck, I pay for it might as well use it, to dig in...
    You might be interested in:
    Schmoke v James R Clary Jr, reported at:
    884 So 2d 675, 2004 La App Lexis 2132.
    Does that tell who the person( J R) is blasting you(ALL OVER Universal WWW Wires, and rays of beams, cyber-light, & on the heels of the Fireside High Mountain marshmello roasts ?
    You decide.
    Something rubbed you wrong way about TLC, etc, apparently.
    I pay for a lot of CLE stuff, have to as part of maintaining the Bar card. # xxxxxxx-x
    I usually travel to some exotic place to get CLE credits, just a break from the grind.
    So much is a grind, in things, it is not all roses, and flowers. BESIDES IT IS DEDUCTIBLE
    I am not sure Mr Clary's record improved after he met Gerry, and did his TLC high meadow Mountain thing,but surely he can market that a number of ways, given how time sheets are spliced.
    But, if he feels like Clark Kent, then hey, that is his cup of tea. But, what about the client in the all of things, what is the impact on such people ? Yes, the client !
    Are some like Clary just kidding themselves, living under some illusions, delusions, smoke and mirrors ?
    Hey, I am all for boosting ones interself, and helping people be better persons, but some have seen human nature in a fuller perspective.
    I wish both you, & Mr Clary well, can I even say that as fellow Bro of the Bar...?
    Or, is their some inter new skull and bones Club,Warrior World, that turn their nose up, at the rest of us, struggling in the pits of
    bar card lane.
    It was most interesting, you noted on your retort to Mr Clary you did not know him.
    But, in his cyber rage on you, he pulled out a long essay to self- serve, then launched into you.
    Is Spence AOK with that kind of thing--from his pupil, his offspring Warrior wonder ?
    Like I say, Norm I don't know you, just had some time, so, was reading the NET, and I won't be able to roll that into a billable hour, but, hey beats watching FOX no spin Channels..Did I improve myself by this exercise, hardly, I knew I was a flawed human being, an do not have a 100% record in court proceedings. Gosh, If I just could have learned some drama-methods, like that reflected in the case cited above, my batting average would be like Ted Williams, perhaps.
    Posted on October 14, 2009 at 6:08 am by Anonymous
  • A judge in Denver ruled that the services of
    the S...
    A judge in Denver ruled that the services of
    the Spence firm were not worth much.
    The Spence firm were claming around
    $ 3 million in some beef on an alleged
    fraudlent certifications to the Dept of Agriculture
    the Judge through out most of the
    Spence ( Firm) claims for attorney fees( expenses)
    but granted some dinky crumbs.
    Some psycho- dramatic exercise that must
    have been, but if it is another one of
    those Spence firm wins why the appeal to
    the appeal court. It is all on records, you
    can read, if any care to( Pacer court access service
    to filings in federal courts)
    Posted on October 14, 2009 at 3:26 am by Anonymous
  • Clary is up on his high horse dishing Norm,
    as Cl...
    Clary is up on his high horse dishing Norm,
    as Clary has some blog, his latest piece on
    Norm is " horseshit", his operative word selection.
    As Norm foresaw, the Board is in flux, some
    yes men are showing their Cards
    to pander to Von de Teton Duke of the
    high Peaks College. It is all a subterfuge to
    market Von Gerry.
    The famed, the legend, the finest,
    it is hard core marketing at play.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm by Anonymous
  • Some who do not like what Mr Pattis has
    written, a...
    Some who do not like what Mr Pattis has
    written, and raised, have attacked him,
    calling him names, and a phony.
    Who is calling the kettle black ?
    As an example some La attorney Clary,
    has a site to degrade, and belittle Norm.
    So, what is Clary's claim to fame,
    any lexis matters of significance, etc
    as to Clary.
    His horse- crap post attacking Norm
    was asinine..
    Spence can't hype his method as converting
    a loser attorney into some presto stand up
    guy whizzard.
    Norm is being real, is Clary a lemming
    sheepish weaseal phony ?
    Was he made a better person by
    the Spence. ?
    That is laughable..
    He showed who he is by his latest antics.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm by Anonymous
  • How does Clary, and every TLC attorney grad
    How does Clary, and every TLC attorney grad
    define losing ?
    If some attorneys are so gripped with fear,
    they never take hard cases, then is
    the " method" speading fear, and some
    lemming group think, coming out of
    Dubois( area) of Wyoming.
    Some of what Norm writes raises intriguing
    If Spence was so hot in leadership
    why did his former Firm, fracture, and break
    up, shortly after his book,
    " Making of.." was published ?
    Norm on the East coast has not even
    gotten into an 1/8 of the dynamics of
    matters, as a near solo, little grasping
    law firm dynamics !
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm by Anonymous
  • When Gerry flies around to all
    the TLC events, who...
    When Gerry flies around to all
    the TLC events, who picks up
    the tab..?
    TLC... Etc..
    At least, his latest trip to Turkey, where
    he gets into slavery on his blog,
    was not a TLC item.
    Norm, were you not educated in
    the psyco method, and every TLC grad
    has never lost a case, after getting
    the " method", or is that another
    giant ruse ?
    Isn't Cleary now blasting you in
    his swamp land weasel blog from
    He must now think he is " better".
    Is it horse- puckey he has never lost a case
    as a psycho method attorney ?
    Or, does the myth spread ?
    The Gerry method spreads into
    the La swamps.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 12:07 am by Anonymous
  • What if Gerry Spence did in fact lose a criminal
    What if Gerry Spence did in fact lose a criminal
    case in Wyoming, but he puts out the B S he
    never lost a criminal case...?
    Is that misleading and false advertising,
    but the Wyo Bar let's him sell his cool ade,
    because it is some hero worship thing.
    Think of all the desperate people writing to
    Jackson Hole, who then won't get the time of
    day, from this giant hoax.
    It is tragic, but is it wrapped up under
    the Von Gerry " method" ?
    But, that goes beyond some real estate
    ranch treatments, laundered via some
    non- profit.
    Norm Pattis knows the Spence Pards
    broke up, the Von Spence became a head
    case in the 1990's.
    Norm is still under the Von Gerry spell
    to see to the essence in matters.
    He was like a groopie following
    Von Gerry to Detroit, amazed how
    Von Gerry sprung Feiger the shrill
    Gerry -- knows he lost a criminal case,
    and it was tainted with corruption.
    Just chalk it up to some
    method, why don't you psyco- drama
    Posted on October 12, 2009 at 11:48 pm by Anonymous
  • Could it be that Gerry makes Norm feel inferior, a...
    Could it be that Gerry makes Norm feel inferior, as if he is a loser whereas Gerry touts he has never lost a case.Mr Winning-est-esque
    He must feel he never lost the Miss Wyoming case against Penthouse, when the 10th Circuit tossed out the $ 10 million plus jury verdict, and the plaintff walked away with nothing, zero.
    He must not have felt he lost the Hustler(Larry Flynt) cases, when the 9th Circuit told him(HIS FIRM) they better not file any more actions--of no merit. Ouch,, Ouch, stinging.
    He must not feel he lost when other cases, motions were adverse to Spence L L C.
    So, he hangs over the TLC, and Norm this great superiority, making Norm feel lower than a kicked dog, booted off the ranch, in Wyoming like he is some dude.
    We are told corporations are dead, non-human, they do not breath, yet what is the form of Spence L.L.C., it is a limited liability corporation with a lot of P C, Professional corporations of the pards, in the mix, but do they even put their pants on standing on one leg at a time in the Tetons ?
    Norm is the one who questions, does not worship false idols, wonders.
    Isn't that what a good attorney does > > ?
    When Spence's old pards were in their 50's, a big blow up in the Spence Firm.. It broke all to bits, no longer named Spence Morarity, and Schuster. Dissolved Spence old FIRM
    Spence ---what do you suppose, all you L L C lawyers, Gerry wanted the big dog % cut,(while he kicked back In CALIF, while the old pards were put in the position of laboring in the pits, the court rooms of America.
    Don't you all see the dynamics Spence runs..
    He can make a young guy in his 20's and 30's stand in awe, who have never been around the block, they are worshiping, like he is God,(but Gerry kicks God)
    Looks, like Norm maybe has been around the block, and is not drinking the cool ade.
    So, what is it, Nomr was rubbing sholders with Gerry at the celebration(TLC), was it a cool reception, and what is really behind the latest ?
    Is it Gerry makes Norm feel like a peon, nothing, a loser ?
    And, the cult followers will jump in on that dynamics, like sheep, parrots, for the Teton Master.
    Oh, yes, the dynamics of the psyco-group think.
    Norm, just be human, remain human, REAL....
    Gerry is great at P R, and running trips on people.
    How does he describe the Pring v Penthouse case(Miss wyoming), when the jury verdict was tossed out and the client got ZERO, is it the audacity of marketing, what ????
    Ya, always running some marketing trip on the FOLKS !
    Posted on October 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm by Anonymous
  • Well, a lot of money is paid in by those who atten...
    Well, a lot of money is paid in by those who attend the TLC..(call it money in---to TLC).
    And some money is paid out to care takers, and some other things. (Call it money out---from TLC).
    Some get hung up on the term rent.
    It is not like some are renting a Condo for 3 months.(and there are deductions for the usual in the CONDO real estate BIZ)
    So, how much money is taken in by TLC OR ANY OF ITS AFFILATES,( ????)
    and how much downto the penny by category is paid out/ per year..... by TLC...?
    So, some can afford to pay the money to go to TLC, and having paid that money will sing the Gerry Songs.(*except some don't sing in full harmony.)
    Norm if you are so adept at sorting out complex problems why don't you take a year in the TLC cycle, and give us the run down, on a money in, money out, and left over, and etc.
    If money is charged to those who attend, that is something not free, they have to fork out money from their wallets to attend.
    Norm is in awe of Gerry, all be that he snipes at him, on TLC..When Senator Grassley(his Committee) was smearing the TLC it seems to get some of its facts wrong.(while getting News flashes for P R)
    If TLC is a non-profit it is required to file papers, and they are required to be public, if not, then there is a problem from the get go.
    Shed light Norm, so far, it is some assertions without any depth.
    Surely, someone who was associated with TLC can come up with substance, if not, why is that ?
    Gerry is getting old, he is into fame, the TLC is to seek to create some lasting legacy name(like Sitting Bull a museum), Gerry needs that fame thing, some craving for attention.
    It is not easy getting old, Norm.(days are numbered after 80 years old)
    Besides, have you ever considered Norm, this TLC thing and Gerry promoting his thing is a great way to troll for clients, to cherry pick cases, handled by his small FIRM(LLC) in Jackson Hole, that is indeed a profit pool center.
    In fact it is a L.L C., layred with P C's, locked into a profit sharing agreement, and guess who gets that lion share in large %.
    Norm you were not the first to break away from Gerry, his long time Senior Pards(the old Firm) did a splits-ville in the late 1990's.
    Gerry wants to make sure he lives a life of comfort, and that his son, Kent, who helps run the new Spence Firm. Gerry(see response) is spending most of his time(or a great chunk of it), not in Jackson Hole, but in that Abode in Santa Barbara.
    Non-profits do have expenses, so add some specifics, for now, Norm you are very obtuse.
    Posted on October 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm by Anonymous
  • Funny: the examples you give are of people getting...
    Funny: the examples you give are of people getting the boot from the TLC Board or staff for speaking up.
    Either you're dependent on Gerry for something and you're not speaking up because you're afraid of losing his favor, which makes you just another sycophant; or you're not dependent on Gerry for anything, but you don't want people to associate your name with your ideas, which makes you just another anonymous pussy on the internet.
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm by Mark Bennett
  • Mike, I love you and couldn't agree more. As for a...
    Mike, I love you and couldn't agree more. As for anonymity, many of us who are alumni have seen what happens to people who speak up, speak out against or disagree with Gerry Spence, who challenge him or refuse to go along with him. Just ask Charlie Abourezk and John Nolte. They did not just one day decide to leave the board (as Gerry implies in his response to Norm's blog). Gerry threw them both off the board after he threw a massive temper tantrum because they didn't want to go along with him and do what he wanted. They refused to be one of the lemmings on the board and follow the edicts of the King. Off with your head if you don't do as the King wishes.
    Staff member Carl Bettinger was woodshedded for hours by Gerry and publicly humiliated by him at staff training after he responded honestly when Gerry asked for honest feedback. And the lemmings and cool aid drinkers sat in silence fearing their own heads.
    Steve Rench (one of the original founders) was also thrown off the board and out of TLC. Garvin Isaacs left abruptly with no explanation. From what I hear, not a one of these four former board members even speak to Gerry Spence.
    And so, some of us have seen the price that is paid for being honest, for voicing an opinion different from that of Gerry Spence, for disagreeing with him or refusing to do what he wants us to do. Public humilation, banishment, ostracization, and black listing are the prices to be paid for disagreeing with Spence. Why just make them wear arm bands.
    And all you cool aid drinking fools who criticize Norm, TLC is NOT a private organization. It is a public non-profit corporation. Every donor is entitled to the info Norm Pattis speaks of. If TLC were above board, honest and open (and transparent) as it claims to be, it would release its financial statements, it would release the lease, it would release the minutes of the board meetings, it would release its bylaws as would the Spence Foundation.
    Instead, Gerry wants to hide behind the rhetoric he is so good at "Look at all I have done for you." "How dare you question me." "I have given my life and time to you." Sorry Gerry, your attempts to derail some of your alumni from raising these issues isn't going to work. We will continue to ask, because it is our right to know. As a non-profit you would think TLC and its mostly lawyer board of directors would know the law as it applies to disclosure.
    Norm raised questions that all of us should want answers to. The fact that this information has been kept secret says it all. There is something to hide!! Get your heads out of the sand.
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 11:00 am by Anonymous
  • "Because the product is unique, the individuals wh...
    "Because the product is unique, the individuals who use it are unique"
    This sums up the Cult of TLC: WE ARE UNIQUE! You are so unique that nobody knows your name; and your claim to fame is that you had your picture taken with Gerry Spence.
    Papa Spence casts a large shadow. There is nothing unique about resting under it.
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 8:00 am by Mike
  • I, like Mr. Bennett, marvel at the wussies who tal...
    I, like Mr. Bennett, marvel at the wussies who talk so tough but who are so ashamed to stand behind their opinions they have to remain anonymous. Wussies. That said Pattis, glibly put, your piece is filled with such self importance, arrogance, and one sided hyperbole, that you see that it has ZERO credibility. Why? because you are not credible. Why? Because you have established no trust with the reader, you have no story, and if you do have a story you sure haven't found it yet. More to the point, you haven't shown anyone yours yet.
    The real story begins with what you have now publicly acknowledged---that the TLC methods didn't really work for you. Perhaps you just grapple with the obvious, you just didn't get it, don't get it and/or don't really understand it. Maybe you just didn't learn how to be okay with yourself, to be a more compassionate and loving human being and, as a result, a better lawyer. Maybe you just didn't learn how to acknowledge, accept, and be okay with your own shit----or do you profess to not have any? If you think that you don't have any shit to deal with, that would be a clue, bro.
    That said, TLC IS Gerry's idea, and it IS Gerry that built this----and let's call it a Company, for Capitalist, U.S of A, and for illustration. Gerry created his Company, much the same as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs creatd Microsoft and Apple. With the trusted help of others who thought and agreed with the vision and the mission statement, they created a product or products that they hoped would make the users lives a little better. These three men created Boards, leadership and Committes, and they bought or leased land for the Companies. Some companies choose to operate for profit and some don't. These Companies grew, hired people, fired people, made good decisions,and made bad decisions. NO company is perfect, but from an organizational standpoint they are fundamentally the same. Some people like the CEO's and some don't. Some Executives, directors and employees resign because of personality differences with "the Boss" and some are fired because of personality differences with "the boss.", Some times companies fire CEO's, and sometimes the CEO is the final word and/or his or opinion on certain matters carries more weight, and he remains the figurehead of the Company as its creator and creative genius, sort of like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Gerry Spence.
    So tell me Mr. Disgruntled, bitter, I don't get it former staff member, just why is it that you are so mystified by the fact that TLC is a busines, albeit a 501(c)(3) business that is not for profit, and that it suffers the same pluses, minuses and growing pains of any business? You one makes you like it.
    In the final analysis, you are no different than any former employee who ultimately decided the grass was greener somewhere else or, to use the Company analogy that I have been using, wanted to buy a PC instead of a Mac. TLC isn't good or bad, right or wrong, and what TLC offers and does, isn't good or bad, or right or wrong. Why? Because the product is unique, the individuals who use it are unique, the people who work there are unique, and the what the product does for the individual is unique. You apparently don't like the product, the Company itself, and/or the people that run the company or work for the company, including the Chairman of the Board. That's your prerogative. But if you are going to hold yourself out as some pseudo intellect wanna-be writer, who fancies himself as a reviewer, why don't you get the facts, be objective, and write about both the positive and the negative aspects of the product and/or the company, with your personal opinion at the end? If someone were to ask me to "Rate this Review" or "How useful was this Review", I would rate it poorly and might even say it sucked.
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 5:45 am by T. Michael
  • Spence has devoted a few decades of his life to te...
    Spence has devoted a few decades of his life to telling others - especially greedy and evil insurance companies and corporate masters - how to spend their money.
    We know how Bill Gates and Warren Buffett - corporate moguls if there ever were corporate mogus! - are going to spend their fortunes. They are giving all but a small part of their fortunes to charity. What about Gerry's? What will he do with his fortune?
    Once Gerry stops lecturing everyone else how to spend their money, people will no doubt stop caring about what Spence does with his money.
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 5:39 am by Mike
  • Why are there so many haters in this world? Maybe ...
    Why are there so many haters in this world? Maybe that's the price of success.
    Are there some who are trying to tell Gerry what to do with his money? May be that's the price of success.
    Have there been disputes among the TLC leadership? May be that's the price of success.
    TLC is a private organization, a group of people who have come together for a common cause: To Help People, the people we lawyers represent, the clients. We all have the right NOT to be associated with TLC.
    And Norm, even if everything you say is true, or even some of it, so what? I for one can't throw stones, I live in a glass house.
    I don't understand how lawyers complain about other lawyers making money. We help people and make money, that's what we do. And if that's what TLC is doing, God Bless 'em.
    I trust TLC will use any money raised in the best way possible for the organization. If they don't, it won't be the first time an organization loses track, and it won't be the last time either. But we can't throw the baby out with the bath water.
    As my 17 year old son told me recently, "Dad, don't hate, appreciate."
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 3:26 am by Vinny Davis, TLC'08
  • Mike is so right. You cool aid drinkers ought to c...
    Mike is so right. You cool aid drinkers ought to care more about the legal documents, whether the lease was an arms length transaction, or whether it was forced upon TLC by Spence. And you should question more why Charlie Abourezk and John Nolte were thrown off the board. But no, instead you would rather just accept without question what ever Spence tells you. Sounds sort of like what the followers of Jim Jones did.
    Posted on September 1, 2009 at 12:04 am by Anonymous
  • TLC is just like life, there are some people who a...
    TLC is just like life, there are some people who are real and there are some who are phony. Mr. Pattis, you seem full of shit about your criticisms of TLC. You were part of it for a long time and it seemed to have great meaning to you. Yet you allow others, who have never been a part of it or who have closed minds, to defame it. In fact, you seem to encourage it by your reckless speculation. Is it true that you smiled in Spence's face and listened to his stories when you were at his birthday celebration, and then mounted criticism when you got to a computer?
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 4:52 pm by Anonymous
  • The psychoanalsyis stuff is amusing. Even if Norm...
    The psychoanalsyis stuff is amusing. Even if Norm has issues ( he even in denial about that?), so what? How does that change the substance of his arguments?
    Also amusing are the comments about Norm "destroying" things.
    What is more destructive: Norm's blog post; or the relationship between the Spence Family Foundation and TLC? As it stands, TLC has no legal rights to the Ranch. None: You stupid worthless, loser fucks who have so little meaning in your pathetic lives that you quiver in the presence of Gerry Spence.
    Norm's post is nothing but words on a screen. They carry no legal effect. Gerry Spence's words, too, in an e-mail are also empty. Spence's and Norm's words are ether.
    The legal agreements between the Foundation and TLC, however, are a different matter. And the legal documents are quite clear: TLC does not own the Ranch.
    Bitch all you want about Norm. I find it amusing and revealing. To think you fools are more concerned about the words of a blog post than the words of a legal instrument!
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm by Mike
  • Norm -
    This is basically your pained and ambivalen...
    Norm -
    This is basically your pained and ambivalent about father passion driving you (which you have acknowledged in the past). What kind of more tender needs for Gerry are you blocking by this horrendous ranting?
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 3:10 pm by Anonymous
  • Why, I wonder, the anonymous comments? Is Gerry th...
    Why, I wonder, the anonymous comments? Is Gerry that scary? Does nobody but Norm have the spine to speak aloud their uncomfortable truths?
    A cult? Even if Mike's (made-up?) list of five elements defined a cult, I would say "no, but . . ."
    But there seem to be a number of TLC grads who think the TLC way is The Way, rather than just a way. This is unsettling.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 2:59 pm by Mark Bennett
  • When Jesus summoned his desciples to the last supp...
    When Jesus summoned his desciples to the last supper, on a Thursday, astute observers (many of whom were not in attendance for various reasons) suspected the Host's intentions and were anxious that an important agenda item, nameley, the Kingdom (the unknown value of which near drove them mad), would be unfairly distributed without full disclosure.
    They were the bloggers of their day and cried out for a full accounting.
    They were given one on Friday sufficient to conclude their was no profit in the Kingdom for them or the fellow who had promoted it. They didn't feel like "hanging" around after that.
    So it ever shall be.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 12:19 pm by Leo
  • Why so much concern over TLC and Gerry Spence?
    Why so much concern over TLC and Gerry Spence?
    Are they doing evil in the world? Making it a place less enjoyable for all of us?
    Why do you want people to read this stuff?
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 10:41 am by Anonymous
  • Cult or not, TLC is the ultimate drama magnet. Ne...
    Cult or not, TLC is the ultimate drama magnet. Never a dull moment.
    Norm and Gerry are masters at persuassion; usually called maniplation if you don't agree with their particular version of the story. But really, what's the difference?
    Gerry's response raised a big issue that has bothered me since my time at TLC. If TLC becomes mainstream, then everyone will learn how to win their case. If TLC is the nuclear bomb to beat your opponent in the "war", what happens when everyone has the bomb. Will everyone then be at peace and the war declared over? A stalemate? Mustually assured destruction?
    War is war, whether it's with guns or words. We all know people are hurt and die from words. When can we wage peace on each other?
    Maybe Spence should take all the time he spend on his lengthy response and use that time to train peacemakers, instead of war mongers; use his great presense for the new skills that we need to learn to reverse the many years of damage and destruction that our current litigation arms race has climaxed to.
    For the ultimate flaw of TLC is not Spence, the Cult, or any of that financial dealings dribble that, of course, corrupts good people too. It's the fundamental problem that Love should not be used as an offensive weapon; and when it is used for that purpose, it is not sustainable. TLC will fall on it's face for this reason alone.
    The methods taught at TLC are real. But what they are used for is seriously flawed and just empower the status quo of dysfunction.
    Message to TLC'ers. The "war" you fight is with your selves; not the corporations, the big bad government; not the insurance companies. Look in the mirror and use the gifts Gerry taught us to make a real difference. Drop your weapons and move on the next level. The lives of our children and grandchildren depend on you.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 am by bread man
  • Norm, don't expect a response from either Jude or ...
    Norm, don't expect a response from either Jude or Gerry on your blog. They only want their cult members to be aware of their so called "truths" and don't want the public or the rest of us who have been banished from the "tribe" to read their spin. Sort of like the Fox network, Gerry and now Jude control the information that they share. And they will only share their spin and half truths. And they certainly don't want nor will they ever have any real transperancy. When are they going to reveal how much each board member contributes to TLC? My prediction, never. They want controlled transperancy. Truth is Gerry owns most of the alumni and does not tolerate any opposing views or opinions. Just ask Charlie Abourzk, John Nolte and Carl Bettinger who, from what I hear, was not only silenced by Gerry Spence at staff training but was made an example to others about what would happen if they too spoke up to challenge Spence.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 am by Anonymous
  • Mike. You are so right. TLC meets all 5 characteri...
    Mike. You are so right. TLC meets all 5 characteristics. But the cult members are blind to this because they drink the cool aid and worship Spence. Even when faced with facts, they choose to believe whatever the charismatic leader says. They have a secret graduation ceremony and are given little bags to wear around their necks. TLC really stands for "The Lawyers Cult!"
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 7:12 am by Anonymous
  • Cults tend to have five characteristics:
    1. Peo...
    Cults tend to have five characteristics:
    1. People are put in physically or emotionally distressing situations;
    2. Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;
    3. They receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a charismatic leader;
    4. They get a new identity based on the group;
    5. They are subject to entrapment (isolation from friends, relatives, and the mainstream culture) and their access to information is severely controlled.
    Anyone care to explain how TLC does NOT meet all five of those elements?
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 4:50 am by Mike
  • Norm,
    Why are you so angry? Why is Joane so angry...
    Why are you so angry? Why is Joane so angry, didn't she leave on her own accord? It is a shame that you and some others cannot find peace in your lives.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 4:49 am by Anonymous
  • Convenient how Spence fails to mention that 2 of t...
    Convenient how Spence fails to mention that 2 of the three TLC Board members who have departed (Nolte and Abourezk) were thrown off the board by Gerry. Why, because they questioned the lease and challenged Gerry, and would not just go along with him. Both expressed dissenting points of view and opinions. The rest of the board just does whatever Gerry wants, no matter their true feelings, no matter if they agree or disagree. TLC is a dictatorship! Garvis Issacs doesn't even speak to Gerry anymore. And what happened to others who were on the board in years past, like Race Horse Haynes? Gerry and two of his henchmen did everything in their power to force Nolte out of TLC entirely and they were successful. Gerry claims you speak half truths Norm but he himself does and always has spoken with a forked tounge.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 4:31 am by Anonymous
  • Bill G:
    Had only limited success with TLC methods...
    Bill G:
    Had only limited success with TLC methods. Had stumbled on some of them prior to going to ranch. When I became self-conscious about them, I tanked: over-thought it all, I suspect. I agree with the emphasis on story-telling, getting out of your head and role-reversal, though.
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 12:44 am by Norm Pattis
  • I guess we all see whatever we want to see. TLC i...
    I guess we all see whatever we want to see. TLC is not a cult. There are some folks there in awe of Gerry, but everyone is not.
    In 1999, I attended TLC and Norm was a staff person in my small group. Norm helped show me how psychodramatic techniques and I learned from him. I have not been to the Ranch since 2004 and the 10th year celebration. I did not find the 10 year celebration meaingful. I am turned off by some of the fund raising, but I have contributed money on multiple occasions, as I wanted to give back.
    I too went to see Gerry Spence at the Fieger trial. Gerry does not just talk the talk; he walks the walk. He conducted the Fieger trial in the manner he teaches folks at TLC or anywhere else.
    Gerry has helped me become a better person and a better lawyer. Certainly, there was plenty of room for improvement. Spence really didn't require much of me in return for that help. Gerry Spence is still there for me on the rare occasion that I reach out to him, like 8 months ago when he helped me with a penalty closing while I was in trial in a triple capital murder case where my poor accused client had admitted to slaughtering his innocent mother, brother & sister.
    Sure, Gerry is not perfect, but he is one of the most generous people I have ever met.
    Spence has been hugely successful as an attorney. I believe he has given much more financially than he has received from TLC. Weekend NITA programs cost more than a month at the Ranch. If money were the goal; much more could have been charged.
    Spence taught me to be open and honest in Court. He taught me to embrace the truth. He walks the talk.
    Norm, I like to read your blogs. You are a gifted communicator and a brilliant person. I appreciate your views. I do have one question for you - Do you still use TLC methods / psychodrama in your legal work?
    Best wishes,
    Bill Gerrans
    Posted on August 31, 2009 at 12:19 am by Bill Gerrans
  • I have never been to this trial lawyers college bu...
    I have never been to this trial lawyers college but from reading your blog it sounds like a cult to me. Cults seek to silence their detractors and any of there members who leave the fold. Look at nazi germany. Hitler silenced anyone who didn't agree with his views and go along with him.
    I also see dishonesty in this spence guys response. At the beginning he says his family foundation gets no rent and then a few paragrpahs later says the same foundation doesn't get a penny from the college except for rent. Which is it? The easiest thing to do when faced with these type questions is to make everything and all documents public. And don't non profits have to make all their documents public, including minutes of their board of directors meetings? Do these two organizations do that? Just sounds fishy to me.
    Posted on August 30, 2009 at 6:33 pm by Anonymous

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