We at the College of Law are deeply saddened by the passing of a most beloved friend and alumnus, Terrence W. Mackey.
There are few people in this word that have the ability to touch the lives of everyone they knew and leave them for the better. Terry was one of those people. He had infectious good humor, charm, and a wit that brightened the day of everyone around him and left an indelible mark on your soul. Moreover, he had a selfless nature and generous heart. He gave so much to the University of Wyoming, especially the College of Law. He often spent time at the college in the capacity of a teacher and mentor, sharing his passion for the law, his respect and pride for the profession, and of course, his love for the Cowboys and Cowgirls.
A driving force behind the College of Law Moot Courtroom renovation, Terry believed that the building should be reflective of the quality of students coming out of it. The beautiful project that ensued is due in large part to his efforts, and true to his word, the College of Law produces skilled trial advocacy graduates because of him.
Perhaps one of his greatest contributions was the Summer Trial Institute. One of the founding attorneys of the program, Terry donated countless hours of his time, making himself available for the full two weeks of the program every year since it began in 2011. When the program expanded our capacity in Laramie, he even helped implement the program in Alaska, traveling up to help teach for a full week. The students that had the good fortune to learn trial advocacy from him should count themselves some of the luckiest, and those of us that administer the program consider ourselves even luckier. The program is part of his lasting legacy.
The pure talent that he had on his feet and in the courtroom was nothing short of impressive. The skills that he taught our students were even more appreciated when we had the good fortune to see him in action. Terry showcased his experience and abilities in the 2017 Spence Law Firm Historic Trial where he volunteered to serve as the Plaintiff attorney on the case, and won. There is really only one word that is appropriate to describe his performance – Wow!
His service and dedication was the embodiment of what it means to be a good lawyer. In addition to the countless hours he spent teaching the Summer Trial Institute program, he served on the College of Law Alumni Board since its inception in 1994, even serving as the inaugural President. He was also appointed to the Dean’s Advisory Board in 2007 and was easily one of the cornerstones of the group. He was unfailingly outspoken on the topics that were important to him, and kept the Board on task for the things that mattered most for the College’s mission, mainly its clinical programs.
In his professional life, Terry was a force to be reckoned with. Following three years in the United States Navy, Terry graduated from Casper College in 1966 with an Associate’s Degree, and again from the University of Wyoming in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He then attended the University of Wyoming College of Law, where he served on the Law Review and worked in the Defender Aid Program. He graduated with his treasured J.D. in 1970. His resume is a laundry list of both civil and criminal litigation experience, including an argument before the United States Supreme Court. In his 48 years of practice, he enjoyed a reputation as one of the top trial lawyers in Wyoming. The College of Law was pleased to honor his career and service in 2013 with the Distinguished Alumni Award, and again in 2016 for his achievements while in law school as the Honorary Order of the Coif Recipient.
In the words of Professor Steve Easton, “Terry was a lawyer’s lawyer. The best kind of lawyer. The kind of lawyer who stands next to someone who does not have another friend in the world and fights like hell for him, sometimes in a lost cause, but never going down without a fight. There is no higher calling for someone who holds a law license.”
What Terry did for the College of Law pales in comparison to who he was. He was unwaveringly kind, steadfastly loyal, and gracious in both person and spirit. The most cherished memories of Terry are simply being in his presence. He had the ability to endear himself to all and the talent to make anything fun–even grading Jury Instructions. He would often share stories about his family, old battles in the courtroom, or his time in the Navy, always with that mischievous twinkle in his eye. He was vivacious, and relished the good things in life and foremost, the people in it.
Losing him is a heavy blow to our hearts, but we are forever fortunate that we will continue to see the effects of his support for years to come through our trial advocacy programs and the contributions he has made throughout the years. He was truly one of the greatest men we have ever known. We are deeply honored and privileged to have called him a friend.