Gerry Spence Biography
Gerry Spence is an American semi-retired trial lawyer and author who was born and brought up in Laramie, Wyoming, United States of America. He is widely known as a member of the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. He has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. Spence has not lost a civil case since 1969.
Spence attended the University of Wyoming College of Law and graduated in 1952. He started his legal career as a prosecutor but soon shifted to criminal defense work. In 1969, he founded the Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming, which is a center for trial advocacy training.
Over the years, Spence has gained national recognition for his involvement in several notable cases. Some of his most prominent cases include the defense of Randy Weaver in the Ruby Ridge standoff trial, the defense of Imelda Marcos, the representation of Karen Silkwood’s family in a lawsuit against the Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant, and the defense of Edgar Ray Killen in the trial for the murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.
In addition to his legal work, Gerry Spence is also an accomplished author. He has written several books, including “How to Argue and Win Every Time,” “Win Your Case,” and “Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power: The Rise and Risks of the New Conservative Hate Culture.”
10 Quick Facts About Gerry Spence
- Name: Gerald Leonard Spence
- Age: 94 Years (As of 2023)
- Birthday: January 8
- Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
- Height: Average
- Nationality: American
- Occupation: Semi-Retired Trial Lawyer and Author
- Marital Status: Married
- Salary: Under Review
- Net worth: $20 Million
Gerry Spence Age
Spence is 94 years old as of 2023, he was born on 8 January 1929, in Laramie, Wyoming, United States. He celebrates his birthday on 8 January every year and his birth sign is Capricorn.
Gerry Spence Height
Spence stands at an average height. He appears to be quite tall in stature if his photos, relative to his surroundings, are anything to go by. However, details regarding his actual height and other body measurements are currently not publicly available. We will update this section when the information is available.
Early Life and Education
Gerry Spence was born on January 8, 1929, in Laramie, Wyoming. He was the son of a rancher and a homemaker. Spence grew up in Riverton, Wyoming, where he attended public schools. He was a gifted student and was accepted to the University of Wyoming, where he studied political science and law.
Spence graduated from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1952. He was first in his class and was awarded the Order of the Coif, the highest honor bestowed by the law school. After graduating from law school, Spence served as a prosecutor in Fremont County, Wyoming. He then went into private practice, specializing in insurance defense.
In the early 1960s, Spence had a change of heart. He became disillusioned with the insurance industry and began to represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases. He quickly became one of the most successful trial lawyers in the country. Spence is known for his passionate advocacy and his ability to connect with juries. He is also a gifted writer and speaker.
Spence is the founder of the Trial Lawyers College, a nonprofit organization that trains lawyers on how to be better trial advocates. Spence is also a member of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
Rise to Fame
Gerry Spence rose to fame in the early 1960s, when he began to represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases. He quickly became one of the most successful trial lawyers in the country, winning some of the most high-profile cases of the era.
One of Spence’s first major cases was the 1964 case of Roland Peoples v. Union Pacific Railroad. Peoples was a railroad worker who was injured in a train accident. Spence won the case for Peoples, and the jury awarded him $1.2 million in damages. This was a record-breaking award at the time, and it helped to establish Spence’s reputation as a top-notch trial lawyer.
In the years that followed, Spence won a string of other high-profile cases, including the 1972 case of Spence v. Washington. This case involved the right of free speech, and Spence’s victory helped to establish the principle that the First Amendment protects the right of protesters to be heard.
Spence’s fame continued to grow in the 1980s and 1990s. He represented a number of high-profile clients, including Karen Silkwood, who was poisoned by radioactive materials while working at a nuclear power plant, and Randy Weaver, who was involved in a standoff with the FBI at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
In addition to his legal work, Spence was also a prolific writer and speaker. He wrote several books on trial advocacy, including How to Argue and Win Every Time and Give Me Liberty. He also gave lectures and seminars on trial advocacy all over the country.
Gerry Spence’s rise to fame was due to a number of factors. He was a brilliant lawyer with a gift for connecting with juries. He was also a gifted writer and speaker, and he was able to articulate the principles of trial advocacy in a way that was both clear and persuasive.
Gerry Spence Family, Parents
Spence was born and raised by his parents in Wyoming. Our efforts to find out more about his family came to no avail as no such information is publicly available. Thus the identity of Gerry’s parents is still unclear. It is also not known if he has any siblings. We will update this section once the information is available.
Gerry Spence Wife
Spence has been married twice. He is currently married to Imaging Spence. They spend most of their time in their homes in Jackson, Wyoming, and Santa Barbara, California. His first wife’s identity is not known to the public media.
Gerry Spence Children
As of 2023, Spence has not revealed his children to the public media. We will update this section once the information is available.
Gerry Spence Net Worth
Spence has an estimated net worth of $20 million dollars as of 2023. This includes his assets, money and income. His primary source of income is his career as a Semi-Retired Trial Lawyer and Author. Through his various sources of income, Gerry has been able to accumulate a good fortune but prefers to lead a modest lifestyle.
Gerry Spence Measurements and Facts
Here are some interesting facts and body measurements you should know about Gerry
Gerry Spence Wiki
- Full Names: Gerald Leonard Spence
- Popular As: Gerry
- Gender: Male
- Occupation / Profession: Semi-Retired Trial Lawyer and Author
- Nationality: American
- Race / Ethnicity: White
- Religion: Not Known
- Sexual Orientation: Straight
Gerry Spence Birthday
- Age / How Old?: 94 years (2023)
- Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
- Date of Birth: 8 January 1929
- Place of Birth: Laramie, Wyoming, USA
- Birthday: 8 January
Gerry Spence Body Measurements
- Body Measurements: Not Available
- Height / How Tall?: Average
- Weight: Moderate
- Eye Color: Brown
- Hair Color: Gray
- Shoe Size: Not Available
Gerry Spence Family and Relationship
- Father (Dad): Not Known
- Mother: Esther Sophie
- Siblings (Brothers and Sisters): Not Known
- Marital Status: Married
- Wife/Spouse: Married to Imaging Spence
- Dating / Girlfriend: Not Applicable
- Children: Sons (Not Known) Daughter(s) (Not Known)
Gerry Spence Net worth and Salary
- Net Worth: $20 Million
- Salary: Under Review
- Source of Income: Semi-Retired Trial Lawyer and Author
Gerry Spence House and Cars
- Place of living: Between their homes in Dubois, Wyoming, and Santa Barbara, California, USA
- Cars: Car Brand to be Updated
Gerry Spence Attorney
Spence began his career in Riverton, Wyoming, and later became a successful defense attorney for the insurance industry. After years, Spence said he “saw the light” and became committed to representing people instead of corporations, insurance companies, banks, or “big business”.
Gerry Spence Karen Silkwood
Gerry gained attention for the Karen Silkwood case. Karen Silkwood was a chemical technician at the Kerr-McGee plutonium-production plant, where she became an activist and vocal critic of plant safety what would now be known as a whistleblower.
He represented Silkwood’s father and children, who charged that Kerr-McGee was responsible for exposing Silkwood to dangerous levels of radiation. He won a $10.5 million verdict for the family.
The year 1984, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the family’s right to sue under state law for punitive damages from a federally regulated industry.
Gerry Spence Other Cases
Upon finishing the Silkwood case, Spence tried a number of high-profile cases. He has not lost a civil case since 1969 and has never lost a criminal case with a trial by jury in port, Oregon in December 1985, later prevailing on appeal.
He was appointed a special prosecutor in the case against notorious murderer Mark Hopkinson in Wyoming in 1979. He successfully secured four murder convictions and a death sentence against Hopkinson, who was executed in 1992.
He successfully defended white separatist Randy Weaver on murder, assault, conspiracy, and gun charges in the Ruby Ridge, Idaho, federal standoff case, by successfully impugning the conduct of the FBI and its crime lab. He never called a witness for the defense.
Gerry Spence Mock trial: United States v. Oswald
In the year 1986, Spence defended Lee Harvey Oswald, the deceased assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, against well-known prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in a 21-hour televised unscripted mock trial sponsored by London Weekend Television in the United Kingdom.
That jury returned a guilty verdict. Expressing admiration for his adversary’s prosecutorial skill, Spence remarked, “No other lawyer in America could have done what Vince did in this case.” The “docu-trial” and his preparation for it inspired Bugliosi’s 1600-page book examining the details of the Kennedy assassination and various related conspiracy theories, entitled Reclaiming History, winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.
For several times in the book Bugliosi specifically cites his respect for Spence’s abilities as a defense attorney as his impetus for digging more deeply into various aspects of the case than he perhaps would have otherwise.
Gerry Spence Tort reform activism
In the election season of 2004, Spence, a vocal opponent of tort reform, crisscrossed his native Wyoming spearheading a series of self-funded town hall-style meetings to inform voters of an upcoming ballot measure, Constitutional Amendment D, which would have limited Wyoming citizens’ ability to recover compensation if injured by medical malpractice. The ballot measure failed, with a 50.3% “No” vote.
Gerry Spence Books
- Gunning for Justice – My Life and Trials (Doubleday 1982) ISBN 9780385177030
- Of Murder and Madness: A True Story of Insanity and the Law (Doubleday 1983) ISBN 978-0385188012
- Trial by Fire: The True Story of a Woman’s Ordeal at the Hands of the Law (William Morrow 1986) ISBN 9780688060756
- With Justice for None: Destroying An American Myth (Times Books 1989) ISBN 9780140133257
- From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America (St. Martin’s Press 1993) ISBN 978-0312143428
- How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, every day (St. Martin’s Press 1995) ISBN 0-312-14477-6
- The Making of a Country Lawyer (St. Martin’s Press 1996) ISBN 978-0312146733
- O.J.: The Last Word (St. Martin’s Press 1997) ISBN 978-0312180096
- Give Me Liberty: Freeing Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century (St. Martin’s Press 1998) ISBN 0312245637
- A Boy’s Summer: Fathers and Sons Together (St. Martin’s Press June 1, 2000) ISBN 978-0312202828
- Gerry Spence’s Wyoming: The Landscape (St. Martin’s Press October 19, 2000) ISBN 978-0312207762
- Half Moon and Empty Stars (Scribner, 2001) ISBN 0-7432-0276-7
- Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom: An Owner’s Manual for Life (St. Martin’s Griffin November 1, 2002) ISBN 978-0312303112
- The Smoking Gun: Day by Day Through a Shocking Murder Trial (Scribner 2003) ISBN 978-0743246965
- Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail—Every Place, Every Time (St. Martin’s Press 2006) ISBN 0-312-36067-3
- Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power: The Rise and Risks of the New
Notable Travel, Events, and Experiences
Gerry Spence has a number of notable travel, events, and experiences throughout his life. Here are a few examples:
- In 1964, he traveled to India to study yoga and meditation. This experience had a profound impact on his life and work, and he often drew on it in his legal arguments.
- In 1972, he was arrested for protesting the Vietnam War. This experience led to his book, Spence v. Washington, which argued that the First Amendment protects the right of protesters to be heard.
- In 1993, he was invited to speak at the United Nations on the subject of human rights. This was a rare honor for a trial lawyer, and it reflected Spence’s growing reputation as a human rights advocate.
- In 2000, he founded the Trial Lawyers College, a nonprofit organization that trains lawyers on how to be better trial advocates. The college has since trained thousands of lawyers from all over the world.
Social Impact: Philanthropic, Charitable and Community Involvement
Gerry Spence has been actively involved in philanthropic, charitable, and community endeavors throughout his career. Here are some examples of his social impact:
- Trial Lawyers College (TLC): One of Spence’s most significant philanthropic contributions is the establishment of the Trial Lawyers College (TLC). The TLC aims to provide trial advocacy training to lawyers, with a focus on developing compassionate and effective advocates. Spence created the college to empower attorneys to fight for justice and represent the underprivileged. The TLC offers scholarships and financial aid to deserving students, ensuring access to quality legal education for those who may not have the means to afford it otherwise.
- Supporting Civil Rights Causes: Spence has been an active supporter of civil rights causes throughout his career. He has represented clients in cases involving civil rights violations and has advocated for justice and equality in the legal system. His involvement in high-profile civil rights cases, such as the defense of clients in racially motivated crimes, has helped shed light on systemic injustices and has contributed to important legal precedents.
- Environmental Activism: Spence has also shown a commitment to environmental causes. He has taken on cases involving environmental issues, such as representing communities affected by pollution or challenging corporate practices that harm the environment. By leveraging his legal skills, he has worked to hold polluters accountable and protect the rights of affected individuals and communities.
- Public Speaking and Advocacy: Spence has used his public speaking engagements as a platform to advocate for social justice and inspire others to take action. He has spoken on various topics, including the importance of jury trials, the power of storytelling, and the need for fairness in the legal system. His passionate speeches and advocacy have encouraged others to stand up for their rights and make a positive impact in their communities.
- Charitable Contributions: While specific details about Gerry Spence’s personal charitable contributions may not be widely available, it is worth noting that successful trial lawyers often use their financial resources to support charitable causes. Spence’s financial contributions to organizations and initiatives aligned with his values may have made a positive impact on various charitable endeavors.
Gerry Spence Awards Accomplishments and Achievements
Gerry Spence is a highly accomplished trial lawyer and author. He has won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including:
- The American College of Trial Lawyers named him one of the 50 Greatest Trial Lawyers of the 20th Century.
- The National Law Journal named him one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.
- He was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- He was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
- He received the American Bar Association’s highest award, the ABA Medal.
- Trial Advocacy: Spence’s legacy primarily lies in his influence on trial advocacy. He revolutionized the courtroom with his passionate and persuasive style of storytelling, captivating juries and bringing a human element to legal proceedings. His emphasis on connecting with jurors on an emotional level and presenting compelling narratives has had a profound impact on trial lawyers worldwide. Spence’s techniques and teachings continue to be studied and emulated by aspiring attorneys.
- Championing the Underdog: Throughout his career, Spence consistently fought for the rights of the underprivileged and marginalized individuals. He represented those who were often overlooked or dismissed by society, battling against powerful corporations, government entities, and systemic injustices. His commitment to justice for the underdog has inspired a generation of lawyers to use their legal skills to effect positive change and protect the vulnerable.
- Trial Lawyers College: Spence’s establishment of the Trial Lawyers College (TLC) in 1994 has had a lasting impact on the legal community. The TLC has trained countless attorneys in the art of trial advocacy, emphasizing not only legal skills but also the importance of empathy, ethics, and storytelling. By creating an institution dedicated to fostering passionate and compassionate advocates, Spence has helped shape the next generation of trial lawyers and ensured his methods and principles endure.
- Authorship and Education: In addition to his courtroom successes, Spence’s written works have had a significant impact. His books, including “How to Argue and Win Every Time” and “Win Your Case,” have become widely regarded resources for lawyers and advocates seeking guidance on persuasion and effective communication. Spence’s ability to distill complex legal concepts into accessible and engaging prose has empowered individuals to navigate the legal system more effectively.
- Inspiration and Public Influence: Gerry Spence’s charisma, passion, and unwavering dedication to justice have made him a beloved figure, not only within the legal community but also among the general public. His televised appearances, public speaking engagements, and media presence have allowed him to reach a broader audience and inspire countless individuals to question injustice and fight for what they believe in.
Hobbies and Interests
- Outdoor Activities: Given Spence’s upbringing in Wyoming and his connection to nature, it is possible that he enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, or hunting. The vast landscapes of Wyoming provide ample opportunities for engaging in outdoor pursuits.
- Writing and Reading: As an accomplished author, Spence likely has a deep appreciation for literature. Engaging in writing and reading can be both a creative outlet and a way to expand knowledge and understanding in various subjects.
- Travel and Exploration: Spence’s career has likely taken him to different parts of the country and possibly around the world. It is possible that he enjoys traveling and exploring new places, experiencing different cultures, and broadening his horizons.
- Fine Arts and Cultural Activities: Engaging with the fine arts, such as attending theater performances, visiting museums, or appreciating visual arts, can be intellectually and aesthetically stimulating. These activities may provide a balance to the intensity of the legal profession.
- Advocacy and Public Speaking: While advocacy is a significant part of Spence’s professional life, he may also engage in advocacy and public speaking outside of the courtroom. This could involve speaking at events, conferences, or universities on topics he is passionate about, such as justice, civil rights, or the importance of a fair legal system.
- The importance of justice: Spence believed that everyone had the right to equal justice under the law, and he dedicated his life to fighting for those who had been wronged. He was a founding member of the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a nonprofit organization that fights for civil rights and liberties.
- The power of the individual: Spence believed that the individual is the most important unit of society, and he fought for the rights of individuals to be free from oppression and injustice. He was a vocal critic of the death penalty and the war in Iraq, and he believed that these institutions violated the rights of individuals.
- The importance of nature: Spence was a deep lover of nature, and he believed that it was essential for human beings to connect with the natural world. He often wrote about the importance of nature in his books and speeches, and he founded the Trial Lawyers College in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to train lawyers in the shadow of the Teton Mountains.
- The power of the human spirit: Spence believed that the human spirit was capable of great things, and he often spoke about the power of hope and resilience. He was a survivor of polio, and he used his experience to inspire others to overcome their challenges.
While Gerry Spence’s career and impact extend far beyond what can be summarized in a few sentences, his legacy as a passionate trial lawyer, advocate for justice, and mentor to aspiring attorneys is undeniable. Throughout his life, Spence fought tirelessly for the underdog, using his storytelling abilities and empathetic approach to connect with juries and bring about meaningful change in the courtroom.
Gerry Spence is a living example of the power of the human spirit. He has overcome many challenges in his life, but he has never given up on his dreams. He is an inspiration to us all.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gerry Spence
Gerry is an accomplished semi-retired trial lawyer and author who is widely known as a member of the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.
Gerry is an American national born on 8th January 1929, in Laramie, Wyoming.
Gerry stands at an average height, he has not shared his height with the public. His height will be listed once we have it from a credible source.
Yes, Gerry has been married two times. His second wife is called Imaging Spence. His first wife’s identity is not known to the public media.
Gerry has an approximate net worth of $20 million. This amount has been accrued from his leading roles in the entertainment industry.
Details about Gerry’s salary are not yet disclosed. However, information about how much he makes will be updated as soon as it is available.
Gerry resides between their homes in Dubois, Wyoming, and Santa Barbara, California, USA, we shall upload pictures of his house as soon as we have them.
Gerry is alive and in good health. There have been no reports of him being sick or having any health-related issues.
Gerry Spence Contacts
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