An Interview with Kathryn on how she used the methods of Discovering the Story to better prepare her case to change lives — one client at a time. (Methods you can learn at the upcoming Texas Regional!)
What was it that brought you to the College last July?
I wanted to improve my trial skills. I want to win justice for my clients. I was nervous about going to trial and TLC is the top training ground in the country for trial attorneys. I want to be the best defense attorney and provide the best quality service.
You recently won a pretty big case! Can you share details with folks?
Absolutely! This case began after my client ended her relationship with her abusive boyfriend. The abuse was so bad that her ex served three years in prison for beating her. After his sentence was over, my client and her ex-babies daddy had moved on (at least thats what she thought). But one day she was driving in the neighborhood where her ex-boyfriend was in the passenger in his fiancées truck. As she was driving past him, he flung open the passenger door of the car causing her to strike the door with her vehicle. He claimed that he was in the drivers seat and that she had intentionally rammed the vehicle. However, we obtained proof that he had caused additional damage to the car before notifying the police. His fiancée made a claim with the insurance company which they paid. However, the one mistake he made was that sometime later he left the cell phone that he had forcibly taken from her in my clients truck. Upon discovering her old phone, she recovered all the text messages between her ex and his fiancée talking about how they were going to commit insurance fraud, including the before and the after photos of his fiancées vehicle, which they had rammed to increase recovery from the insurance company. It was unbelievable.
In the end, this case did not go to a contested trial. At the last minute, he fled out of state where he was ultimately convicted of four more felonies that he committed after his fraudulent scheme against my client. The State couldn’t find him, and we had to come back for trial for several days in row. Since the State could not find their witness, they did not present any evidence against my client when we had a trial before the court. But I’m confident we would have won based on all the evidence I learned from my client through discovering her story.
What process did you use to discover her story that made the difference?
She responded really positively when I did a “listening exercise” with her. I also worked with her to reenact the events to let me see what actually happened, and that helped me get some ideas for how to defend her. To prepare myself for cross examination, I did the “chair back” exercise for each of the witnesses for more insight into people I would be cross examining. When I was preparing her to testify, we spent hours together re-enacting scene after scene in her case. It was through that process that I discovered that there were six more key witnesses that she hadn’t told me about! I had met with her many times and not a word about these witnesses! It wasnt that she had been hiding something from me — I just hadn’t gone about asking her the questions the right way. Once she began showing me everything that happened on the day of the confrontation with her ex, the new characters emerged. I recall wondering, “Where did all these people come from?”!!
What are some of the most distinct differences in your cases since attending the Trial Lawyers College?
Since attending TLC, I feel more responsibility towards my clients than I did before. I am more connected to the human element and personal story involved in each case. This connection, when paired with learning my clients story, provides me the necessary tools to secure justice on their behalf. Trial Lawyers College has made me a better listener, and this has enabled me to know my clients on a personal level.
Before attending TLC, if I had a case where I suspected drugs or something like that, I would ask for a parents phone so I could attempt to get an idea of the clients situation and whether they could complete probation. In the case of the client above, I spent time with her so that we could become acquainted with each other, and she would trust me. We looked at family pictures, went over certificates her children had won in school and also their report cards. I learned a lot about her and her family. She is a very pleasant lady. Her children are very smart. They do very well in school with excellent conduct and all As and Bs on their report cards.
Before going to the ranch, I prepared my cases by focusing on filing pre-trial motions to find out what happened, just the facts of the case, the pictures from the cell phone, getting crime scene photos, going over those kinds of details. At the Ranch I learned about discovering the real story of my clients.
That’s great that you could make such a positive impact on this person’s life, what is the next step in this for you?
I am in the process of trying to help my client get a scholarship so that she can get a degree and have more income for her family. I also recently got these criminal charges and the arrest expunged from her record.
I have a strong desire for my client to be successful in her career and future relationships. The abusive relationship with her ex has had a very negative effect both on her and her children. I am attempting to secure low cost counseling, both for her and for children. It is my hope that, with more training and the help of counseling, my client can break the cycle of abusive relationships and find a sense of self-worth, for her and her children because of the impacts of the domestic violence. It has been an honor and a privilege to service the needs of my client. TLC taught me not only how to better prepare to fight for a client, but I also learned that its
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