Geoffrey Fieger Shares Secret of Success

Renowned Attorney Geoffrey Fieger recently spoke to students at his namesake Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute at Michigan State University College of Law. He talked about his family, his reluctant journey to becoming a lawyer, and his subsequent love for trial law.

He also shared with the future lawyers his secret to being a great trail lawyer.

"The secret, if there ever is a secret, and there isn't really, but the secret is to be yourself. You can't be me. I can't be Gerry Spence. You can only be you ...

"The only way I could ever win a case, the only way you could ever win a case in front of a jury, if that's what you want to do, is to be yourself ...

"I have across some slick dressed, tassel shoed guy from a law firm who is honey and molasses to a jury, I have no problem. I'll tell you my problem is if somebody comes and is fumbling all over and is just embarrassed and tries to do the best job but is a real person. Whoa, that person is way more dangerous to me than any of the slick guys who claim to be big talkers. If they see you as a person who is willing to come before them with all the mistakes and foibles and all the weaknesses, don't be afraid of it and they'll see you as a real person. They'll reach down and help you ...

"It's not about ingratiating yourself to be a phony. They don't like you, they will cast you away to the wind. But if you are yourself, then you have the greatest opportunity to do what I do, which is I'm a storyteller. I sit in front of the campfire and I tell a story ...

"Know who you are. Look in the mirror ... I'm not kidding you, look in that mirror every day and say who the hell am I? Who the hell am I and why am I me? How did I get here? How did I get here …"

Geoffrey Fieger donated $4 million to start the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute, the nation’s first trial practice institute for law students, in 1997.


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