Gerry Spence: “Art, Life and the Law” Part Ii from the Wyoming Chronicle

Also a little on the Trial Lawyer's College

The story of the lawyer who could not lose. In part one of our interview with Gerry Spence, host Richard Ager speaks with Spence about his life and famous cases and with 50 attorneys from around the country who are enrolled in Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College located outside Dubois, Wyoming. Be prepared to be surprised by some of the teaching methods at the college.

“Find Your Passion”, A TEDx Video Talk by Gerry Spence

Gerry Spence is not just an awesomely successful trial lawyer, but a true believer in justice, the jury system, and fighting to protect the people.

Famed trial attorney and Founder of the Trial Lawyers CollegeGerry Spence, knows a little about passion. Passion for life. Passion for a cause. A “passion for fighting for the people.”

Here is a share of a video, I found today about his TEDx talk at TEDxJacksonHole. There are more talks on “passion” and other topics []; but his talk on passion addresses justice, trial lawyers, and providing a voice to the powerless in his fight for the people and representing the less fortunate against the rich and powerful.

I supply this post because Gerry is an excellent speaker even after all these years and at this age. He’s a motivation speaker on justice and trial lawyers.

I had the privilege a few years back to meet him and speak with him. I even have a picture taken with him when we were both a little younger.

But consistent with this post is a little more on the motivational side of the house at the beginning of a new year. The beginning of a new year with a host of resolutions. And an end of year when we look back and reflect. A time to look to the future and see where and what we want to be and how we wish to get there, be there, and stay there.

Every business should have a “noble purpose”. Something more than making money, but covers your passion. By passion, I am not talking about the common meanings associated with love and ardor for a person, but a less common meaning. A meaning used often but not sure exactly what it means. By the way, “noble purpose” is not my slogan. It was key to a book by Lisa Earle McLeod whose web page with more details on her books is…/noble-purpose-strategy-not-…/. BTW this is a link to her about page which summarize what I am saying. You can figure out in more detail why I feel this is a fitting post at the start of 2017.

What is your passion in life? That which is a strong enthusiasm for something or anything that means something to you. My added point to this is do you have a passion that energizes you, brings that smile, puts pep in that step? Few do…. Many want.


And as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated – “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

This video on passion and trial warriors protecting each of us from the powerful is an eloquent and persuasive argument against voting away your right to a jury trial and the protection if afford your family and friends and others for the putative promise of saving a few pennies on your insurance premiums and a few more bucks for your doctors.

Bar Examination Pass List for July 2015 Examination (in searchable OCR format)

Results of the Kentucky Bar Exam for July 28 & 29, 2015. 375 applicants with 267 passing and 108 failing.

Campbell County Courthouse, Newport, Kentucky. Image courtesy of Keith Vincent,

Campbell County Courthouse, Newport, Kentucky.

Here are the results of the Kentucky Bar Exam for July 28 & 29, 2015.  375 applicants with 267 passing and 108 failing.

Of the three hundred and seventy-five (375) applicants who were certified to take the examination, two hundred and ninety-nine (299) took both the essay and the Multistate Bar Examination (“MBE”) portions of the examination, forty-four (44) took the essay portion only and thirty-two (32) took the MBE only.

Of the two hundred and ninety-nine (299) who took both the essay and the MBE portions ofthe examination, two hundred and twenty-three (223) passed both portions, six (6) failed the essay and MBE portions, three (3) failed the essay portion and sixtyseven (67) failed the MBE portion.

Of the forty-four (44) who took the essay portion of the examination, thirty-five (35) passed and nine (9) failed.

Of the thirty-two (32) who took the MBE portion of the examination, nine (9) passed and twenty-three (23) failed.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Tad Thomas to Present iPad Trial Tech Seminar at Jefferson County Public Law Library on May 7, 2015 – Free but please RSVP

From the Jefferson County Public Law Library:

Join us on May 7th at the Jefferson County Public Law Library for an informative presentation by local attorney Tad Thomas.

Meet and greet reception starts at 4:30pm, followed by the presentation at 5:00pm.

Please RSVP by responding to this email or call at 574-5943.

Jefferson County Public Law Library
514 W. Liberty Street, Suite 240
Louisville, KY 40202

image003Technology now touches every aspect of our daily lives. Tad Thomas will be sharing Technology Tips and Tricks for Small Firm Lawyers. Mr. Thomas is an expert in the use of technology in the practice of law.

Some of Tad Thomas’s previous seminars include:

“The Ethics of Social Media and Cloud Computing”; American Association for Justice “Weekend with the Stars,” New York, NY, December 7, 2012.

“iPad Pre-Trial and Ethics in Social Media: Identifying the Pitfalls of the Communication Revolution”; Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, Indianapolis, IN, October 18, 2012.

“iPad at Trial”; Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, Indianapolis, IN, October 18, 2012.

“iPad for Litigators”; Louisville Bar Association, Louisville, KY, September 21, 2012.

“Cloud Computing: Is the Sky Really the Limit?”; American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, July 31, 2012.

“Social Media: Identifying the Ethical Pitfalls of the Communications Revolution”; American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, July 29, 2012.

“Paperless Office: iPads and Apps for Lawyers”; American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, July 29, 2012.

ABA honors Kentucky lawyer John M. Rosenberg for efforts in providing access to legal services – Floyd County Times –

WASHINGTON – John M. Rosenberg, former director of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky (AppalReD), received the American Bar Association Grassroots Advocacy Award for his longtime service and his outstanding work in providing access to legal services on Wednesday night.

Rosenberg served as director of AppalReD from the time it first received funding from the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1970 until he retired almost three decades later. The largest legal aid organization in Kentucky, AppalReD provides free legal services to low-income residents in eastern and south central Kentucky, each year helping approximately 6,000 clients to obtain work, adequate food, health care and housing. In issues ranging from employment discrimination to protecting victims of domestic violence, Rosenberg has been a stalwart advocate.

Prior to his work at AppalReD, Rosenberg served for eight years as a trial attorney and section chief in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, litigating discrimination cases in the deep south. He was part of the team that prosecuted the murderers of the three civil rights workers who were killed in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964.

Read more . . . 

Law Library Series – On Mel Ignatow, the Man Who Got Away With Murder, but not perjury or infamy will continue on March 12, 2015 in Louisville


Round Three of the panel discussion on the Mel Ignatow interview, conducted by attorney T. Clay, will be presented this Thursday, March 12th. 2015 at the Jefferson County Public Law Library. Reception starts at 4:30 followed by panel discussion and interview at 5:00 pm.  Please RSVP by responding to this email or calling 502-574-5943. 

Double Jeopard by Bob Hill

Double Jeopard by Bob Hill

The Jefferson County Public Law Library has been offering a monthly forum addressing attorney authors, discussions, and timely topics for the legal community and the public.  It has been well-received and is incredibly flexible.  This part of the series began with Bob Hill discussing his book “Double Jeopardy” [click on this link for a description of the book and a chance to buy it directly from the publisher] on the Mel Ignatow murder trial.  We had the opportunity to catch some of his insights into his interview and writing of this book.  

During this discussion, Thomas Clay, Louisville attorney, who was appointed by the federal judge to handle Mel Ignatow’s perjury charges contributed to the discussion immeasurably with comments from his jailhouse interview with Ignatow.

Attorney Thomas C. "T" Clay

Attorney Thomas C. “T” Clay

There was such interest that another forum was scheduled on February 5, 2015 when Attorney T. Clay shared with nearly forty of the library’s patrons more details of that jailhouse interview that he had conducted with Mel Ignatow after evidence was found of his guilt, in the murder of Brenda Sue Schaefer. Mr. Clay was joined by Justice Johnstone and members of his staff as well as Prosecutor James Lesousky.

We were also privileged and honored to hear from those who were also close to this trial – those on the staff of then Judge Martin Johnson (the trial judge).

There was so much to share that another forum was set for February 18, at which time excerpts of the recorded interview put chills in my spine to hear this psychotic and evil man discuss what he had done.

Retired Justice Martin Johnstone

Retired Justice Martin Johnstone

And now, we have what might well be the concluding discussion this Thursday, March 12th where Justice Johnstone, Jim Lesousky, and T. Clay are scheduled to return to again take a look back at what can only be described as a brush with evil and the lingering reflections from a heinous crime nearly a quarter century ago which still is fresh in the hearts and minds of many in Louisville.

However, let us not forget the victim, Brenda Sue Schaefer, and her family who has endured pain and a loss that should be endured by no one.  When Ignatow’s name comes up, think about shooting up an “arrow” prayer for them and all the others who have prosecuted justice for our benefit and which most probably has exacted a price that time will never heal and none of us ever come near to comprehending.

In 2012, the FBI files were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by  WLKY (click here for the story, access to the files and the two news stories by WLKY’s investigative reporter Steve Burgin).

News: “Ex-prosecutors at odds on police-caused deaths” – by Andrew Wolfson, Courier Journal Dec. 11, 2014

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Marc Murphy, left; and Dave Stengel, right.

In the wake (or even the midst) of the Ferguson, Mo. fracas, it looks like local ex-prosecutors David Stengel and Marc Murphy were having a fiery exchange of words on their own.  And of course, I missed it!

So, I could not let it go, and am publishing extracts of Mr. Wolfson’s story below.

You can catch the ENTIRE story by clicking on the link (and hopefully, it will be still available)

Ex-prosecutors at odds on police-caused deaths

– by Andrew Wolfson, Courier Journal Dec. 11, 2014

The failure of grand juries to indict white police officers in the deaths of blacks in Missouri and New York has triggered a war of words between former top prosecutors in Louisville — and a debate over whether special prosecutors should be appointed in such cases.

Responding to a Facebook post by former Commonwealth’s Attorney Marc Murphy that suggested police got off in both instances because the prosecutor “was with them in every way, the whole time,” ex-Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel called Murphy’s conclusion “offensive” and an “easy answer.”

“If you had been in office longer, you would know that,” said Stengel, who defeated Murphy in a 1996 primary.

* * *

Former Commonwealth’s Attorney Nick King, who served in the office from 1992 to 1996, said it’s not that elected prosecutors can’t do a fair job; he said independent prosecutors should be appointed to “promote public confidence in the result.”

And retired Judge Geoffrey Morris, who presided over grand juries that heard evidence in two controversial police shootings, including Taylor’s, also said it is important that they be led by prosecutors who are “not beholden to the FOP.”

But other prosecutors and police said a blanket rule requiring that such cases be farmed out to special prosecutors is unnecessary — and could be counter-productive.

Tom Wine, the current Jefferson County commonwealth’s attorney, said his office has successfully prosecuted police for various crimes — and that when he was an assistant, he prosecuted one for rape.

Lawyers: Story on the “Kennedy’s of Kentucky” and Public Service – The Browns of the Bluegrass – John Jr. , John, III, and John IV

Former Governor John Y. Brown, College Student John Y. Brown, IV, and Former Kentucky Secretary of State John Y. Brown, III (photo from NKU Forum Media Gallery)

Former Governor John Y. Brown, Bellarmine University Student John Y. Brown, IV, and Former Kentucky Secretary of State John Y. Brown, III (photo from NKU Forum Media Gallery)

Never forget that one person’s legacy is another’s heritage.  

This phrase I heard from my father.  And where he got it, I know not.  But it is a universal truth;  a reminder to all of us  that as lawyers and a nation we stand on the shoulder’s of those who built this nation by public service and service to the public.  And by service, I do not limit service to others as just government service.  For me to describe “service” any further would otherwise limit that which we can all do.  Harry S. Truman said it better than I – “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

With the New Years’ Eve celebrations now over and resolutions with the best of intentions beginning, I though the story of the John Browns (Jr., III, and IV) to be both enjoyable and reminder that our resolve to do good should hopefully extend beyond the next week and year, but extend to endeavors beyond law, people whom we know and don’t know, and to generations to follow.

I hope the following stories are a gentle read for you, as they were for me, and a reminded service can be done.

The stories are entitled ““Kennedys of Kentucky” reflect on politics’ past and future” by Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, Channel 9, WCPO in Cincinnati and “‘Kennedys of Kentucky’ family to talk public service at NKU“.  The subjects are John Y. Brown, Jr. (former Governor of Kentucky); John Y. Brown, III (former Kentucky Secretary of State); and John Y. Brown, IV (Bellarmine University college student).  John the III is Of Counsel with the Lexington law firm of Miller & Wells.

The forum was at Northern Kentucky University’s “Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement“.  Although they posted some videos,  I did not see one for the Browns’ talk.  Should anyone find it, please email me to share.

Thanks to Louisville attorney Benham Sims, a former district court judge who an outstanding attorney and public servant in his own right (plus these folks are related to him too!) who shared the story on his Facebook pages.  Benham, just a reminder to you of a mutual friend of ours whom we both remember well for his service the bar and to others, and, as far as I know, never said no to one in need.

Here are some extracts from the stories.  Click on the links in each title for the entire read, and I do hope they remain available in the newspaper archives.

Kennedys of Kentucky’ family to talk public service at NKU

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS – Few Bluegrass families can tout the political fortitude, business acumen and public service reach of the Brown family, which includes the former Democratic governor.

* * *

A forum on Thursday at Northern Kentucky University will delve into the Brown matrix – the family’s public service work and what has fueled its leadership through decades. Serving as panelists from the Brown family are: Former governor, John Y. Brown, Jr.; his son and a former Democratic secretary of state, John Y. Brown III; and his son John Y. Brown IV — who is a a budding Republican.

* * *

Browns in the Bluegrass

The son of a congressman and speaker of the House in Kentucky’s General Assembly, John Y. Brown Jr. was 33  years old when he and other investors bought the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1964 from founder Harland Sanders for $2 million. At that time the restaurant 600 franchises outlets in the United States, Canada and the first overseas outlet, in England, according to the Kentucky Fried Chicken website. The chain is noted for jump-starting the fast-food industry known globally today.

* * *

His son, John Y. Brown III followed him into politics, serving as secretary of state  from 1996 to 2004.  He ran unsuccessfully on the Democratic ticket for lieutenant governor in 2007.

Breaking the family’s Democratic traditions, John Y. Brown IV is a registered Republican.

“Kennedys of Kentucky” reflect on politics’ past and future

Be a maverick.

That’s the mantra of former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown Jr. – one taken from his father and used  to inspire his family’s commitment to public service and entrepreneurship.

Described by some as the “Kennedys of Kentucky,” few Bluegrass families can tout the political savvy and business acumen of the Browns. Their  influence stretches from the counters of Kentucky Fried Chicken to those in the state’s and nation’s capitols.

“I have great pride in the John Y. Brown legacy and past, and I’m very excited about the future,” said the former governor, who on Thursday was joined by his son John Y. Brown III and grandson John Y. Brown IV for a forum on public service at Northern Kentucky University.

* * *

The Browns on family and leadership

“We have 85 years of outstanding service in my family,” said John Y. Brown Jr.  “I’m very proud of it, and it all started with my dad.”

* * *

The Browns on politics and public service

Were this the 1930s, John Y. Brown IV says he’d probably be a Democrat – like his father and grandfathers before him.

“I think I have more a commitment to a set of values than any particular party,” he told the crowd. “Entrepreneurship – that’s big in my family. Honesty, hard work. Right now, I think the Republican party embodies those values more so than the Democratic party.”

Politics today, both elder Browns agreed, have become too partisan.

* * *

The Browns on business and entrepreneurship

Public service isn’t limited to politicians, says Brown III, a business consultant.

“You don’t have to run for public office to be a civic servant,” he said.

Lawyer-Author: Linda Y. Atkins’ new book released – “Deadline for Murder”

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From Interview at Great Day Live with Terry Meiners and Rachell Platt

Thomas Atkins is an attorney in Louisville.  His wife Linda Y. Atkins is also his law partner (Atkins & Atkins) AND a legal writer.  Before continuing with this post and in the interest of full disclosure , please note that Tom and I have some non-legal connections.  Tom and I are military retirees, native West Virginians (I’m from Point Pleasant and Tom from Charleston), and graduates of Marshall University (We ARE Marshall!), as well as choosing Louisville as our adopted homes.

Although I knew Linda had written several books over the years, I just learned she has published a FOURTH book – “Deadline for Murder” in the Hillary Adams.

Rather than give my own plug, let me share the remarks and comments of others.  I will purchase this book and read it.  I might even go back and look at the earlier books in this ongoing legal series.

Here is a link to an interview (actually more of a conversation) with Lori Kommor of the Voice-Tribure – “Linda Atkins: Taking Legal Experience Into The World of Fiction

As a prominent Louisville attorney, Linda Atkins has many experiences to draw upon. After working on a particularly intriguing case during the 1990s in eastern Kentucky, she was inspired to take those experiences and apply them to writing fiction. Her mystery series, featuring criminal defense attorney, Hilary Adams, takes readers on a roller coaster ride of suspense and mayhem as they follow Adams and a cast of colorful characters inside and outside of a fictional Louisville courtroom. Her fourth book in the series, “Deadline for Murder,” was released this week. I had a chance to talk to Atkins about her interest in writing, her love of Kentucky and her greatest challenges as an author.
Click here for the actual interview.

Interview (on line video) with Terry Meiners and Rachel Platt on Great Day Live, WHAS 11.

Upcoming book signing by Linda at Norton Commons on November 20, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Meeting Street Coffeehouse will host a book signing honoring Linda Y. Atkins, author of Deadline for Murder: A Hilary Adams Mystery, on November 20th from 6-8pm. Deadline is Atkins’ fourth novel and was released in print and on ebook on October 28th.  Join us at Meeting Street Coffeehouse and meet the author in person and get your signed copy of her latest legal thriller!

Another meet and signing at the Kentucky Book Fair on November 15, 2014

The 33rd annual Kentucky Book Fair takes place on Saturday, November 15th, 2014 at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Kentucky, the Commonwealth’s Capital City.  Web site is above link.  Click here for fact sheet.

Interview with “The Big Thrill”, on-line publication of International Thriller Writers

You can get the book at (Kindle and paper).  

Other books by Linda in the Hillary Adams series are: