Every semester, on the first day of class, I tell the same story. It is a story that Gerry Spence often includes in his final argument to a jury at the end of a long trial.
Gerry Spence is the lawyer from Wyoming who has never lost a case. Some of his detractors allege he hypnotizes juries! The reality is that Spence is just an incredible attorney.
Spence was representing a young Native American man who had been accused of a crime. He told this story.
In my client's tribe, there is a tradition. If you can outsmart the Chief, you become Chief.
One day a young brave named Black Crow came up with the perfect plan to fool his Chief. He ran into the woods and caught a sparrow.
He placed the sparrow in his cupped hands.
He ran back and found his Chief. He said, "Chief, is the sparrow I hold in my hands alive or dead?"
It was perfect. If the Chief said "alive" then all Black Crow had to do was push his hands together and the bird would be dead.
If the Chief said "dead" then the brave could open his hands and the bird would fly off.
But the Chief was truly wise and he looked down at the young brave and said
The bird is in YOUR hands, my son. The bird is in YOUR hands.
Then I tell the students that I cannot promise whether this class will be interesting or not or whether they will learn much or not -- because, as with everything in life, the bird is in their hands.
Thanks for stopping by.