Monday, September 9, 2013

To All My 18 Mentors Who Helped Me Become a Trial Lawyer

I do not profess to be the smartest trial lawyer, nor the richest or hardest working.  But I could not have become the trial lawyer I am without the help of some wonderful lawyers who took  their time to take me under their wings.  Most of these people are pretty much unsung heroes.  They may not be the ones who are in the news, or make the most,  because their goals are not just for accolades or money.  There are some very caring, talented, brilliant, people out their who made a real difference to me.

1.  Martha Sperry Hickman - I have written about Martha before.  I met her in law school.  After law school, she invited me to first chair my first jury trial.  Martha is wonderful and she still practices law.  She is brilliant and let me try most of the case, but dealt with the judge and had my back.  I forgot to mention that Martha became a lawyer when being a female lawyer was a rarity and women could not join the Kansas City bar.  Martha and I tried several personal injury cases together.  She was so funny and so much fun, but also a thorough and brilliant attorney.  She was my first role model, either male and female.  I can't thank her enough.

2.  The partners at the now-defunct firm Miller Dougherty & Modin.  My first job as an employees was with these guys.  They mainly practiced civil defense law.  I told them that I wanted to try cases, and they gave me cases.  All kinds, small, and maybe a little bigger. I was a hero if I won and they were fine if I lost the dog case they gave me.  And the three of them were great trial lawyers in their own right.  I learned so much from them.  Thanks, Spencer, Ed and Dick.

3.  John Kurtz - I have never worked with John, but a friend of mine told me about how great he was as a public defender.  I since got to know John.  John Kurtz is a man of compassion, kindness and truth.  I would be happy if I was half as noble as he.  He is my shining example of a really greeat lawyer.

4.  The Trial Lawyers College - I was fortunate to be a member of the first class in 1994 at Gerry Spence's ranch in Wyoming.  It was a life changer.  I learned psychodrama from the best psychodramatist.  I have since had a falling out with some of the management of TLC, but I must credit some very important people with whom I worked for 15 years.  These include:

Psychodramatists -
   a.  John Nolte - my teacher, mentor and friend.
   b.  Don Clarkson - my mentor.
   c.  Kathy St. Clair - my mentor.
   d.  Katlin Larimer - my mentor.

Lawyers _
   a.  Jim Jeans - my trial ad teacher in law school and teacher at TLC.
   b.   Fredi Sison - my friend and one of the most creative lawyers I know.
   c.  Carl Bettinger - another brilliant lawyer who is so creative.
   d.  Rafe Foreman - a great lawyer I met in Wyoming who we are lucky that now teaches at UMKC.
   e.  Joane Garcia-Colson - another brilliant teacher who taught me so many things.
   f.  Gerry Spence - who started the college and shared of himself.

5.  Denise Henning - a great lawyer who is teaching me the value of courage.

6,  Mary Ann Sedey and Donna Harper - my heroes in St. Louis.  They are so great.

I am sure that I have left out some people.  I want the people I have named to know how appreciative I am of their help.  Most are wonderful people. Thanks.

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