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Leave Him Alone, Norm

There goes Norm, screwing with Gerry Spence today.  Norm has a history of this -- I wish I could link to his Connecticut Law Tribune columns.  Then again, maybe not.

I don't think Norm should leave Gerry alone because I'm part of the Koo-Aid Crew, but because Gerry is vulnerable.  We should protect, not attack, the weak.

Spence hasn't tried a case since Ruby Ridge, instead devoting himself to pundicy (though not very successfully), celebrity whoredom, and self-obsession.  At the TLC seminars, there is always an Evening With Gerry Spence, where all are encouraged to pretend like we're best friends with the man.  (Ecce homo?)

Inevitably, someone will ask: "Gerry, why haven't you tried a case in so long?"  Gerry's answer -- "No one will go against me!"  The audience cheers, while I choke on the bullshit.

Spence is a multi-millionaire.  He has the resources to live a criminal defense lawyer's dream - to search out and try actual innoncence cases of his choice.  No pangs of conscience, no ethical dillemmas.  Just rough and tumble representation of people he believes in.

Instead, he flies around in his Lear Jet, talks to trial lawyers about how great he is, and writes books.  This way, he can never lose.

That's all well and good, but when professors retire, they change their titles.  So too should Gerry.  Henceforth -- Gerry Spence, Trial Lawyer Emeritus.

The great trial lawyers like Darrow, Steuer, and Nizer tried cases until they died - win, lose, or draw, they fought like hell.  The fear of losing did not cause them to give up.  It was more important to remain in the fight than to keep a perfect record.  Indeed, Edward Bennett Williams, suffering from terminal cancer, represented Michael Milliken, and the representation ceased only after his breathing.

While Spence might have belonged on a short list of greats, his self-love and self-indulgence has cost him his place.  Like Pete Rose, he let his weakness stand in the way of his greatness.

Spence is not a lion, but a lamb.

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