Fair & Just Questionnaire: Gerry Spence

Fair & Just Questionnaire: Gerry Spence

Gerry Spence, of Jackson, Wyoming, has practiced law for more than 50 years. Well known for his trademark fringed jacket, he is founder of the Spence Trial Lawyers College. He's tough and has never lost a criminal case. He has tried and won many nationally known cases, including the Karen Silkwood case and the defense of Imelda Marcos. At his final trial, he defended Geoffrey Fieger against the U.S. Government on campaign finance charges. Spence is also an author, photographer and poet. Here, he opens up about cows, questionnaires and self-awareness.

What is your favorite color?
When I was a small boy I asked my old grandfather what color cow he liked the best, and he replied, "Fat." I wear mostly black. It hides too-ample proportions better than any other color.

What is your favorite song?
'Some Enchanted Evening' sung by Ezio Pinza.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Fishbone's in Detroit.

Who is your favorite Detroit celebrity?
Joe Louis.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Wherever I am loved.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
See my last answer.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Which living person do you most admire?
Imaging Spence, my wife.

Which trait in yourself do you most deplore?
My exorbitant fear of loss.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
Dishonesty.

What's your greatest extravagance?
My love of a beautiful car.

What is your favorite journey?
Into the land of creativity.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
A good business head.

On what occasion do you lie?
Whenever one must.

Which living person do you most dislike?
Dick Cheney.

What is your greatest regret?
Wish I had been more sensitive to the needs of others. Wish I had been a better father.

When & where were you the happiest?
At home with Imaging.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be in the moment always.

What is your current state of mind?
Distressed over all of these questions.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be better aware of how I affect others. I would be slower to anger. I would be less afraid.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The establishment of Trial Lawyers College.

What is your most treasured possession?
Good health.

Where would you most like to live?
Where I live.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My inability to answer this question accurately. I am not yet sufficiently aware of myself. I am working on this.

What do you most value in your friends?
Openness and honesty.

Who are your favorite writers?
Dylan Thomas, the poet. Thomas Paine. Thomas Jefferson.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
None.

Who is your hero in real life?
The single mom who has survived and supported her kids and who has sacrificed whatever was required for their education and well-being.

How would you like to die?
Shot in court arguing against an evil corporation.

If you were a speech part, what would you be?
Active verb.

If you were a car, what kind would you be?
Aston Martin.

If you were food, what kind would you be?
Beans.

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
A Canadian goose.

If you were fine art, what form would you take?
A painting.

What's your motto?
Be true.

What's your favorite quote about the law?
"Justice for all is a cruel myth." - Gerry Spence

This interview was first published in the Summer, 2008 edition of the Fieger Times newsletter.

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