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An Interview with Gerry Spence

Spence If Gerry Spence didn't exist, Hollywood would have to invent him. From his home base in Jackson, Wyo., the legendary, buckskin-wearing lawyer has devoted more than 50 years to defending the underdog. He won $10.5 million for the estate of Karen Silkwood, the union activist whose suspicious death became the plot of a major motion picture. He won an acquittal for Randy Weaver after his deadly standoff with federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. He won an acquittal for former Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos on federal racketeering charges. And just last month, he won an acquittal for Detroit lawyer Geoffrey Fieger on federal charges of making unlawful campaign contributions.

In fact, Spence has never lost a criminal case and never lost a civil case since 1969. In an interview he gave us this week for our legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, he said that the key to winning is preparation:

I see trial lawyers in the same way as I see fighters in the boxing ring. A fighter doesn't go into the boxing ring unprepared. ... When I walk into a courtroom, I become absolutely glued to the fight. I become focused on it. I become the fight. I become involved down to the toenails. And there isn't any room for thinking about loss, there is only room to think about the fight.

Spence is an absorbing interview subject. In our half-hour conversation, he talks about his career, his thoughts on legal education, his advice for lawyers, and why he recently launched his own blog. You can listen to or download the entire interview, which I conduct along with my cohost J. Craig Williams, from this page. You can keep up to date with all Lawyer2Lawyer programs by subscribing via RSS or using iTunes. A special thanks to the Legal Talk Network, which produces all of our programs.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 15, 2008 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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