On November 25, 2022, the Discovering Justice community lost one of our most dedicated and long-term champions; Gary Spiess, founding board member, former board chair, 2006 gala honoree, and twenty-year supporter.
Recruited by Discovering Justice’s first Board Chair, Jack Regan, Gary brought extensive operational and financial expertise to the Board that would help the new group build a strong organizational foundation for success. According to Jack, “Gary had superb judgment and considered what not to do, equally as important as what to do.”
Excellent at tempering expectations by setting realistic, well-defined, and measurable goals, Discovering Justice benefited greatly from Gary’s wisdom in its early years to its current state.
“As a friend and colleague of Gary for so many years, I can say, without any hesitation, that his involvement in organizing, building, and fostering Discovering Justice gave him the greatest joy, happiness, and contentment,” said Terence McGinniss, who served as a Discovering Justice Board member with Gary. “His vision and that of several other founding members of Discovering Justice came together in such an extraordinary way and provided him with such a source of pride. For Gary, Discovering Justice represented the convergence of what truly motivated his life – love of the law, seeing social justice being actively taught and engaged, and bringing together diverse communities for the common good.”
“Gary ran the best meetings I have ever seen in my professional career. He offered all the opportunity to speak and always knew exactly when to close the conversation. He believed that all opinions mattered and was skilled at hearing all perspectives and crystalizing the essence of the conversation and issues at hand,” said former Executive Director, Lissy Medvedow.
“Gary was a brilliant and exemplary leader in so many ways, but the first words that come to mind are ‘gracious’ and ‘kind’. It is those qualities that made him so effective in the many roles he undertook, and why it was such a joy to work with him,” said Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a former colleague of Gary as a Discovering Justice Board Member.
Former board chair Tony Doniger recalled, “Gary loved lawyers and the practice of law. He wanted to share this with students hoping that some would choose to follow a similar path and one day come to love the legal profession just as much as he did.”