Gerry L. Spence
Legendary Trial Lawyer
Gerry Spence is a legend among the trial bar as one of the greatest trial lawyers of our times. His civil practice and defense of those charged with crimes has gained him an international reputation for his high profile cases and record results for the poor, the injured and the damned. His trials have been the subject of books, movies, and television.
Numerous Lifetime Achievement Awards
Gerry Spence takes pride in being a country lawyer. Born, raised and educated in Wyoming, Spence graduated cum laude from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1952. The University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in May 1990. He has been honored for law and letters by the American Academy of Achievement.
He received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Consumer Attorneys of California. In 2009 he was inducted into the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. In 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement award presented by the American Association for Justice. The award recognizes an AAJ member of at least 20 years standing whose courtroom advocacy has, during a distinguished career, significantly advanced the rights of the wrongfully injured; and who, by substantial service to AAJ and the trial bar, has significantly furthered the cause of justice and the mission of the Association.
Gerry's Notable Cases
Spence first gained national recognition when he received a $10,500,000 verdict against Kerr-McGee in the Karen Silkwood case on behalf of her children. Later he earned such verdicts as $26,535,000 against “Penthouse Magazine” for Miss Wyoming, and successfully defended Ed Cantrell in the famous Rock Springs, Wyoming murder case.
Spence received a $52,000,000 verdict against McDonald's Corporation, the fast-food chain, on behalf of a small, bankrupt, family-owned ice cream company for McDonald's breach of an oral contract. A Utah medical malpractice verdict of over $4,000,000 established a new standard for nursing care in that state.
In 1990 he won acquittal for Imelda Marcos on multiple charges after a three and one-half month trial in New York City. In 1992, he received a record-breaking $15,000,000 verdict for emotional damages incurred by his quadriplegic client because a major insurance company refused to pay the $50,000 policy more than twenty years earlier. Two weeks later he added $18,500,000 in punitive damages to the award.
In 1993, Spence successfully defended Randy Weaver on murder, assault, conspiracy, and gun charges in the famous Idaho federal standoff case. In 2008 at the age of 79, Spence defended Geoffrey Fieger in Michigan in a politically charged case brought by the Justice Department against Geoffrey Fieger for alleged violations of federal laws governing campaign contributions. The ten count indictment also charged conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The jury acquitted on all ten counts.
He has not lost a jury trial since 1969, and he has never lost a criminal case.
Spence is the author of eighteen published books:
- Gunning for Justice, (Doubleday 1982);
- Of Murder and Madness, (Doubleday 1983);
- Trial by Fire, (William Morrow 1986);
- With Justice For None, (Times books 1989, Penguin Books paperback 1990);
- From Freedom to Slavery, (St. Martin's Press 1993);
- How to Argue and Win Every Time, (St. Martin's Press 1995);
- The Making of a Country Lawyer, (St. Martin's Press 1996);
- O. J.: The Last Word, (St. Martin's Press 1997);
- Give Me Liberty! (St. Martin's Press October 1998);
- A Boy's Summer, (St. Martin's Press 2000);
- Gerry Spence's Wyoming, (St. Martin's Press 2000);
- Half-Moon and Empty Stars, his first novel, (Scribner 2001);
- Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom, (St. Martin’s Press 2001);
- The Smoking Gun, (Scribner 2003);
- Win Your Case, (St. Martin's Press 2005);
- Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power, (St. Martin's Press 2006);
- The Lost Frontier, (Gibbs Smith 2013); and
- Police State, (St. Martin’s Press, 2015).
Spence is the founder and a former director of the nonprofit Trial Lawyers College where lawyers, young and old, learn the Spence method of trying cases on behalf of the people. The Trial Lawyers College also conducts a yearly death penalty seminar for public defenders and others defending against the death penalty, and Trial Lawyers College provides four weekly seminars around the country.
Spence is the founder of Lawyers and Advocates for Wyoming (L.A.W.), a nonprofit public interest law firm. Spence 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.
Gerry Spence's life as a peoples' lawyer continues to this day. Gerry Spence is the founding member of The Spence Law Firm, LLC, and practices in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with his partners, Robert A. Krause, R. Daniel Fleck, G. Bryan Ulmer, III, Mel Orchard, Emily Rankin, Kristeen Hand, and Tyson Logan.
Need a personal injury attorney in Wyoming or throughout the U.S.? Contact The Spence Law Firm today to find out how we can help you with your case.
Robert A. KrauseView Profile
R. Daniel FleckView Profile
G. Bryan Ulmer, IIIView Profile
Mel C. Orchard, IIIView Profile
Emily R. RankinView Profile
M. Kristeen HandView Profile
Tyson E. LoganView Profile
Dennis K. WallinView Profile
Jason A. NevilleView Profile
Noah DrewView Profile