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Rick Spivey: Supporting, defending and educating the community

November 26th, 2013 2:05 pm by Katina Rose

Rick Spivey: Supporting, defending and educating the community

Attorney Rick Spivey has spent the majority of his life in his hometown of Kingsport - supporting, defending and educating the local community.  

Spivey grew up in Kingsport with his parents, watching his father go to work everyday as a mail carrier and his mother as a devoted homemaker and day care worker. He graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School and played basketball and baseball while in school. His first experience with the legal profession was at the age of 17 when he was called as a character witness in an embezzlement case against his school principal.

After experiencing and participating in the trial process, Spivey decided he wanted to be a defense attorney.   After graduation, he went to Carson Newman College and then entered Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

Upon graduation from law school, Spivey worked for a firm in Birmingham for approximately two years before he came back to his desired hometown of Kingsport. He wanted to return home to be closer to his family and to fulfill his desire to help the residents of the community.  

In 1981, he opened his own firm in Kingsport and has built a successful career as a criminal defense attorney over the years.  He sites his passion for this work, genuine concern for his clients and his ability to relate well with a variety of people as attributes that have contributed to his consistently-growing legal business.  

“I want to help the average person who is going through a difficult time in their life. We all make mistakes from time to time and I believe everyone can be rehabilitated. There is good in everyone,” said Spivey.  “I have strong feelings about the power of the state as opposed to individual rights.”

Spivey devotes most of his time to practicing criminal defense because of his passion for the work.  He feels like he relates well to jurors and the average person because of his own life experiences. 

Working hard is nothing new to Spivey, as he worked all through his school years. He even worked as a garbage collector for the city of Kingsport while in high school.  He also understands the addiction side, as he has been a recovering alcoholic for the past 23 years.

After practicing law for 38 years, Spivey hopes to continue working as long as possible.  When his only son, Matthew, joined his firm a year ago he said, “It rejuvenated me.”

Over the years, he has collected a lot of memories, but one that stands out in his mind is when he represented a woman on a shoplifting charge.  She was adamant about pleading not guilty and when the not guilty verdict came in, she started crying and told Spivey, “You are the only person who has ever helped me.”  

Spivey has devoted his time and professional skills to help others.  “I believe in protecting the rights of individuals and everyone deserves a fair trial and a chance.”

When he was in law school in Birmingham, Spivey was the first person to cross inter-racial borders by becoming the first white big brother to an African American little brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister program in Birmingham. To this day, he still keeps in touch with his “little brother” and feels the positive impact that participating in the program brought to both of them.  

Staying active in the local community is important to Spivey, as he has coached youth sports, was the color commentator for WKIN for 16 years and owned/operated the Kingsport Mets for 16 years with his cousin, Steve Harville.

Not only does Spivey want to help others, he wants to educate people about their rights in the legal system.  He would appreciate the chance to speak to the public about their rights and reasonable search and seizure.   At one time, he was asked to speak to a class at Dobyns-Bennett about their legal rights and enjoyed sharing this information with young adults. He would like the opportunity to present this information to more individuals, as he feels that too many people are uneducated in knowing their basic rights as a citizen.  

Spivey, King & Spivey, LLP, is located at 142 Cherokee Street in Kingsport. Contact them at 423-245-4185.

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