Over $1 Billion in Verdicts & Settlements
At The Spence Law Firm, we make it our mission to give back to our local community—and the country as a whole—in any way we can. We believe that this begins in our home state of Wyoming. Our firm's founder, Gerry Spence, has been dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured victims and their families for decades. Beyond this, however, we aim to keep our communities safe by offering programs and initiatives designed to protect the state’s workers, residents, and families.
Founded in 1991 by Gerry Spence, Lawyers and Advocate for Wyoming (L.A.W.) is a not-for-profit firm dedicated to providing quality legal representation for Wyoming residents and other individuals who are otherwise unable to secure representation for financial and other reasons. The firm focuses exclusively on fighting for the state’s citizens and its important causes, even when such cases are not financially viable for the firm. L.A.W. strives to promote and protect the public’s interest in matters ranging from consumer rights to health and safety issues to civil liberties. The firm also strives to educate and train legal professionals in creating a healthier, happier community through legal practices.
As a non-profit, L.A.W. supports itself by re-investing case fees back into the firm. These fees are also used to support future cases. The Board of Directors (comprising members of The Spence Law Firm) appoints the firm’s singular employee, a Director, who runs the L.A.W.’s daily operations and oversees the management of every case assigned to the firm. For every case L.A.W. takes on, one or more board members is assigned to provide advice and assistance for the Director. Board members do not receive payment for their time spent on L.A.W.’s cases—this work is all volunteered by our Board members.
L.A.W. focuses on Wyoming-based cases, but does take on cases from outside the state if they may contribute to the advancement of justice or are particularly socially valuable.
Launched in 2008 by Lawyers and Advocates for Wyoming (L.A.W.), the Spence Association for Employee Rights (SAFER) aims to safeguard Wyoming workers by supporting improved workplace safety and fighting for justice on behalf of injured workers. Using legislation, education, and tireless representation, SAFER partners with workers and legislators to identify various workplace issues and find solutions to reduce instances of workplace injury.
For years, Wyoming has had one of the highest rates of workplace injury in the country. Numerous factors, including an abundance of natural resources and a continuous energy boom, have led to unacceptably dangerous conditions for many of our state's workers. Wyoming's workplace fatality rate has been consistently higher than the national average, soaring to three and four times the national rate between 2001 and 2012. The state has even seen the highest fatality rate in the United States, both between the years of 2003 - 2005 and again in 2007 - 2008. Alarmingly, over the past 15 years, Wyoming's workplace fatality rate has continued to rise, even as the fatality rate for the rest of the country steadily decreased. In addition to a higher-than-average fatality rate, Wyoming's workplace injury and illness rates have also remained consistently above the United States' average.
It's clear that there is an immense need for change. Workplace safety must be improved, especially in Wyoming's more dangerous industries, including gas and oil extraction and mining. The goal of SAFER is to improve workplace safety in these industries and all of Wyoming's various workforces. It also strives to ensure that, if an accident does occur, workers are able to receive the full, fair compensation they are owed from workers' compensation laws.
Mark Aronowitz, Director of L.A.W. and SAFER, has been instrumental in the advancement of legislation designed to improve workplace safety. He has been highly influential in the passing of new laws that have greatly improved workers’ compensation benefits for injured individuals and the families of workers killed on the job and supported legislation that created seven new OSHA positions in Wyoming. SAFER was also actively involved in the creation of Workers’ Memorial Day, observed on April 28th each year in the state of Wyoming. The day is marked to commemorate and honor workers who were killed while on the job and to acknowledge their families and loved ones. The same day OSHA was established in 1971, Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to renew our dedication to improving safety standards and bettering workplace practices throughout the state of Wyoming.
Both SAFER and L.A.W. strive to actively promote improved health and safety for Wyoming’s citizens, workers, and families. In conjunction with The Spence Law Firm, SAFER and L.A.W. are heartened by the notable decline in workplace injuries and fatalities throughout the state in 2012 and 2013, and hope to see this trend continue in the future.