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Charles Spevacek started out representing insurers’ policyholders, moved to defending architects and engineers and then environmental claims insurance coverage. (Submitted photo)
Charles Spevacek started out representing insurers’ policyholders, moved to defending architects and engineers and then environmental claims insurance coverage. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Insurance focus leads to high-profile cases

Name: Charles Spevacek

Title: Partner, Meagher & Geer

Education: B.S., economics, Purdue University; J.D., Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Chuck Spevacek’s caseload involves claims against the U.S. Olympic Committee arising from the Larry Nassar abuse cases, multidistrict opiate litigation consolidated in Cleveland and the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The high-profile work stems from the Meagher & Geer partner’s expertise in representing insurance companies in commercial litigation, a practice he’s developed over three decades.

The other common thread is that none of those headline cases has direct ties to Minnesota.

“It’s an honor to be asked to be involved in cases of that magnitude,” Spevacek said. “In general we’ve developed a good reputation nationally and that’s paying dividends now in terms of the types of claims that come across our desk.”

Spevacek started out representing insurers’ policyholders, moved to defending architects and engineers and then environmental claims insurance coverage.

The work of determining how insurance contract language applies to a set of facts and is covered by the law “seems to fit the way my brain works,” Spevacek said.

Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Say something that makes me smile. I found that people with good senses of humor are inherently interesting to talk to.

Q: What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A: I was a pretty accomplished debater in high school. Every one presumed that I would be lawyer. So I rebelled and tried to study engineering, which lasted for a week or two. On the first Monday after classes I started into the economics school with the intention of going to law school, thus proving everyone right that I should have been a lawyer all along.

Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A: The two on my e-reader now are the Ali biography by Johnathan Eig and the book about Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill called “Franklin and Winston,” by John Meacham.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: Hypocrisy. I’ve learned that people are willing to forgive others for just about any sin, but hypocrisy is rarely one of them.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A: The relationships that I’ve made over the years. My practice is pretty national and I really cherish the friendships with colleagues I’ve made all across the country as well as here in Minnesota.

Q: Least favorite?

A: I don’t like legal fee auditing services and having to appeal write-downs on the basis of legal fee audits. If I think I’m right I’ll appeal even if the time it takes to do the appeal costs me more than the amount that’s at issue.

Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A: I like to travel. I like to play golf. When I turned 55 my daughter got me involved in running these “Tough Mudder” obstacle races. We’ve done three of them together and are scheduled to do another one in Las Vegas in October.

Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A: My hometown is Kokomo, Indiana. It’s 50 miles straight north of Indianapolis. Its major attraction is a stuffed cow called Old Ben. He’s billed as the world’s largest steer. He has his own house in a city park.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?

A: [The late] William D. Flaskamp, one of the founding partners of Meagher & Geer. Bill was my mentor. I had the honor of working on a lot of cases with him. He was a purely larger-than-life personality both in terms of away from the courtroom and in the courtroom. Best trial lawyer I’ve ever seen.

Q: What is your favorite depiction of the legal professional in popular culture?

A: I really liked “The Verdict.” It showed the agony that the lawyer goes through in preparing for trial. The trial scenes were as close as Hollywood tends to get in terms of being accurate. It was extremely well acted by Paul Newman.

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