Founder and Chairman of Board
"Lawyers should be chosen because they can demonstrate a history rich in human traits, the ability to care, the courage to fight, the will to win, a concern for the human condition, a passion for justice and simple uncompromising honesty. These are the traits of the lawyer."
Gerry Spence, born, reared and educated in Wyoming, is recognized nationwide for his legacy of powerful courtroom victories. He graduated cum laude from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1952, and has spent his lifetime representing the poor, the injured, the forgotten and the damned against what he calls “the new slave master,” a combination of mammoth corporations and gargantuan government.
He has tried and won many nationally known cases, including the Karen Silkwood case (a movie was made of the case with Meryl Streep and Cher); the defense of Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge; the defense of Imelda Marcos; the case against “Penthouse Magazine” for Miss Wyoming; and the murder defenses of Ed Cantrell and Sandy Jones. In 2008, in a politically charged case brought by the Justice Department in Michigan against attorney Geoffrey Fieger, Spence won complete acquittals for his client in a ten-count indictment alleging federal campaign contribution violations, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Spence represented Brandon Mayfield, a modest Oregon attorney, against the United States in which Spence was instrumental in getting a federal court to hold the Patriot Act unconstitutional. He has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. He has not lost a civil case since 1969. He has had more multi-million dollar verdicts without an intervening loss than any lawyer in America.
Spence founded a program for trial lawyers at Thunderhead Ranch which established a revolutionary method for training lawyers for the people. He believes that what he has learned in a career should be shared with those who will continue to strive for justice on behalf of ordinary citizens. There, he and his pro bono staff teach not only trial lawyers for the people but conduct a forum to help lawyers defeat the death penalty.
He is the founder of Lawyers and Advocates for Wyoming, also a pro bono law firm representing the indigent. Spence has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Wyoming; in 2008 he received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Consumer Attorneys of California (formerly California Trial Lawyers Association). In 2009, he was inducted into the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame, which includes John Adams and Clarence Darrow. He was honored for law and letters by the American Academy of Achievement. The Wyoming State Bar honored Gerry with a 60-year achievement award for his lifetime of service to the people of Wyoming.
Spence is the author of eighteen nationally published books, including:
- the massive best-seller How to Argue and Win Every Time
- From Freedom to Slavery
- J.: The Last Word
- The Making of a Country Lawyer
- Murder and Madness
- A Boy’s Summer
- With Justice for None
- Give Me Liberty!
- Gunning for Justice
- Trial by Fire
- Win Your Case
- Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power
- Gerry Spence’s Wyoming
- Smoking Gun
- The Lost Frontier
- Police State
- the widely acclaimed novel,Half-Moon and Empty Stars
Spence has been a frequent commentator on television, served as legal consultant for NBC television covering the O.J. Simpson trial and has hosted and appeared on Larry King Live and the Rivera Show numerous times and numerous other national television shows. He lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with his wife of forty years, Imaging. They have six children and thirteen grandchildren.