An Open Letter to Gerry Spense, Total Tool

“We have to redefine who we [as trial lawyers] are: We are the most important people in America,” Spence said. “There is no other profession in America that fights for freedom, that fights for what America is about, that fights for justice for ordinary people.”

To make his point, Spence — founder of the Trial Lawyers College, which trains lawyers to be more effective in the courtroom — said to imagine that all of the doctors and healers somehow vanished.

“I want to ask you which would be more important: If all of the doctors in the country somehow disappeared or all the trial lawyers in America somehow disappeared?” he asked. “We can live without medical care, but we cannot live without justice.”

Gerry Spense on trial lawyers

Mr. Spense,

It’s nice to see you defending trial lawyers. I like lawyers in general. Lawyers are how our civilization has decided to settle disputes between aggrieved parties, and I like it a hell of a lot better than dueling. If I’m going to be involved in a court case, I want a knowledgeable pit bull of a lawyer on my side, because pro se given our legal structure is for people who would also be willing to perform surgery on themselves based on skimming the CliffsNotes to Gray’s Anatomy.

But then you go and be a total tool about it, spouting the kind of ego-driven hyperbole that makes people dislike lawyers. No other profession fights for freedom? At all? And you said this one day after Veteran’s Day? Are you completely high?

And people would swap out lawyers — not justice, mind you, despite your rhetorical slight-of-hand — for doctors? Despite my dismissive view of pro se representation, if no one else had a lawyer either, I bet I could get by. That’s not the case with health care. The law is an artificial construct that we have developed, and we can change it if we need to. You can’t do the same with the human body.

Our society works because of the symbiotic relationships we have with each other. If our laws weren’t enforced by the police and other officers of the court, do you think anyone would listen to lawyers and their oh-so-important defense of freedoms? If truckers vanished and food transportation was crippled, would we ignore starvation to bask in the glow of trial lawyers? That’s why your ranking of trial lawyers over all other professions is short-sighted, divisive, and idiotic.

Spense, your work in Estate of Karen Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee was great, and your courtroom skills are legendary. I’m glad you’re proud of being a trial lawyer. But try paying attention to other people around you and what they do, and recognize that, even though you’re at the top of your profession, your profession isn’t at the top of every other one.

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