Gordon “Gordy” Erspamer, Senior Counsel with Morrison Foerster, has been fighting tirelessly for veterans’ rights. Gordy’s most recent victory, in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, provides hope to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Describing problems at the VA as “egregious”, the court ordered the VA to overhaul its mental health system.
Prior to this, Gordy defended ‘atomic veterans’ (veterans suffering the consequences of radiation exposure during nuclear testing in the 1950s) and veterans subjected to secret government tests that occurred until the 1970s.
This is part 2 of the interview between Gordy Erspamer and Lisa Reep, Executive Director of the CCCBA. You can watch or read Part I of the interview here.
Gordy is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious Pro Bono Publico award from the American Bar Association. Furthermore, Gordy has also been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Lawyer magazine .
Gordy, after all this time defending veterans and fighting what the Ninth Circuit Court calls the unchecked incompetence of the V.A., do you feel that there is any improvement in transparency at the agency or at service delivery?
In 2009, you were awarded the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico award. In addition, you’ve also been honored with Trial Lawyer of the Year awarded by the Trial Lawyer for Public Justice Foundation, the Justice Award from the National Association of Radiation Survivors, the Dean K. Phillips Memorial Award for Advocacy by The Vietnam Veteran’s of America, and last, but of course not least, the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Presidents Award, among many other awards that are too many to mention.
You have been actively been involved in pro bono work and advocacy since law school. What inspired you, and what would you tell the next generation of lawyers who might ask, “Why should I get involved in pro bono work?”