voir dire

The day voir dire didn’t start ’til 4:00: and an updated voir dire do’s an don’ts list

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Trial day 1: 

Instead of doing her usual acrobatic routine, Nala is curled up around my feet. On the little rug in front of the sink.   I glance up at the little crystal clock on the shelf. It says 6:10 which means it is 7:10 since the clocks sprang forward Sunday. Haven’t changed it yet. The mental math keeps me sharp. Or so I tell myself.

On goes the regulation black.   Black jacket. Black tights. Black boots. Black skirt with little ruffles. The only color is a non-color on the shirt. Flesh toned I guess, in a shade several tones lighter than I. With rouching and gathering to soften the severity. Of my black hair.

I leave my rings on the little metal hand stand next to the orchid on the counter.   There are only two of them. One is a pretty piece of jade from an antique shop on Royale Street in New Orleans. The other is my best friend pinky ring. Shellie and I have matching ones. We do pinkie finger shakes wearing those rings. I always wear them. But not for this trial. Because my right hand is covered with a big band aid. The story involves E.J. my six year old nephew and Nala, but that can be told another day.

After dropping Nala off at doggie day care, get on the freeway. Head to Everett. This will take 45 minutes. Plenty of time to practice opening. Or conceptualize voir dire. Maybe review testimony of the first witness. After all, Steve Hay asked me to try this UIM case not quite a month ago.

It is raining. Gray. Too quiet in the car to listen to these thoughts. So turn on The Appeal by John Grisham. The narrator is real good. Am transported to Mississippi.

Park. Ride up the elevator. Walk a few steps across the courtyard to the entrance. There are no security lines around the ugly courthouse. Sorry if you’re from Everett. But that courthouse is about the ugliest thing have ever seen.

Make it to presiding and the court has just read our name. Don’t care, because Steve (Hay) is covering this.  He waves at me. We get assigned out within five minutes.   I get up before I even sit down and we head up to the fifth floor dept. 12.

Now there is a reason why I’ve just spent so long telling you about trial day 1. When we aren’t even in the courtroom yet. You’ll see soon.

We get there and our judge is Marybeth Dingledy. (pronounced Deengel ‘ die) What a fantastic name.   She is very direct, prompt, makes sound rulings on the motions in limine, has a twinkle in her eye. That’s all good.

So what is the problem.

Well, the Allstate attorney Jodi Held, says that she won’t agree to simply calling a panel of 29 prospective jurors. She’s worried there could be bias against Allstate, so she wants 35. Problem is there are only 29. We need to wait to see if any jurors are going to be released from the other voir dire panels around the ugly courthouse.

So we wait.

And wait.

Each lunch.

Come back and wait.

And wait.

Until finally at 2:30 pm Jodi cries uncle and agrees to go with whatever number there is.

Which turns out to be 31.

And then we wait for them to be brought up.

And for the judge to swear them in and do preliminary instruction and voir dire.

Which means that by the time I start voir dire – it is ten minutes until 4:00 p.m.

Can you imagine how upset those jurors must be. I see a lot of lips turned down Mr. and Ms. grumpy pants. And don’t blame that all. 29 of 31 have been sitting in the jury room all day long. Waiting on us.

Oh, this is going to not go well at all.

I put on a smile and start in.

Have you ever been to a comedy show where the audience doesn’t laugh. Or at a music concert where instead of people loudly clapping for an encore, they just leave. Or at a legal education seminar where people are reading the news on their computers and texting on their phones.

Well, that’s what it feels like when you start voir dire at 4:00 in the afternoon of a jury that’s been waiting for six and a half hours to start.

In the words of Winston Churchill which I keep quoting to my children. “Never. Never. Never give up.” So smile. Push forward. And complete the first 20 minute round of voir dire. By the end these folks are loosening up. Talking and shaking their heads yes and no. Sometimes smiling. They are getting into it.

Then Jody stands up.   And starts to give a closing argument in the guise of voir dire. Which is not really even in a guise at all. She asks a series of questions which requires everyone to nod yes. She doesn’t have them say or explain anything. She just wants them to agree with her.   Does this ever really work. This technique of pseudo-brainwashing. Well, maybe. But not today.

Do you agree Allstate should investigate and look at all the facts and circumstances before they pay a claim. Yes they nod.

They may not be getting anything out of this. But she is. Her voice is getting stronger. She’s becoming impassioned. Says: Allstate has a right to look into the…

And at that point, I interrupt and lob an objection. Sweetly. Which the court overrules. Graciously.

Rick Friedman would be sighing and telling me Karen Karen Karen. What have I told you about objecting so much.

Am unrepentant. It needed to be done.

Jody is thrown off. Actually she probably comes out of her trance and realizes, the jury is just about totally asleep.   It is now 4:20. She’s gone 10 minutes. She calls a sidebar and offers to end her round of voir dire early.   Says the jury is flat. Well, no duh they’re flat. I’m about asleep myself.

So we end the day

My Updated Voir Dire List

  • Make sure you know the judge’s special protocol
  • Stand and face the panel
  • Don’t try to ingratiate yourself with the panel
  • Own the courtroom floor, don’t stand still, don’t pace frantically either
  • Don’t clasp your hands behind your back or in front and keep them out of your pockets
  • Make sure every juror in the room can hear and see you
  • Maintain proper interpersonal distance, don’t stand too far away, don’t get too close
  • Don’t think of it as rocket science, think of it as chit chat…organized, focused chit chat
  • Pay attention to body language – yours and theirs
  • Don’t read questions
  • Create a list of topics but don’t try to follow an exact outline
  • Don’t try to control the panel
  • Give to get
  • Don’t write down answers (there’s not enough time)
  • Have a staff member take notes for you if needed – don’t ask your client to help
  • Make eye contact with everyone, somehow, and don’t look like an FBI agent while you’re doing so
  • Invite the jurors to join the group discussion
  • Be animated, friendly, engaging, interested, open, genuine
  • If you feel phony guess what…
  • Listen to the person who is speaking
  • Listen to their body language
  • Listen to the aura of the entire panel
  • Listen to everything you don’t want to hear
  • Listen
  • Don’t spend too much time talking to a few jurors
  • If any of the jurors are monopolizing the conversation feel free to gently tell them you would like to give others a chance to speak
  • Make sure everyone says something
  • Stop talking so much – the jurors are the ones we’re interested in hearing from
  • Show that you care
  • Smile with genuine interest and friendliness
  • Stop frowning
  • Don’t try to ingratiate yourselfGive tidbits of information about the case, but don’t make an opening statement – the jurors will see right through you and the judge won’t be too happy either
  • Don’t be judgmental
  • Thank jurors when they dig deep to give hard answers
  • Make the court room feel like a safe place for the jurors to speak
  • Don’t think you can build credibility by saying the right things
  • The jurors won’t be focused on figuring out what you think but in forming impressions on what you do
  • Proactively transition between jurors instead of reactively jumping around
  • Be polite and respectful to everyone always
  • Don’t roll your eyes and huff and moan when it is the defense lawyers turn
  • What you do when the defense lawyer is having a turn, is just as important as what happens when you are having yours
  • Don’t talk with your client and act like they are having a roll in choosing the jury
  • Don’t call a juror by their first name, instead use Mr, Ms, or Juror # blank
  • Relax your face muscles and let them speak too
  • If the jurors are answering “yes” and “no” then wake up and smell the coffee – you’re doing it wrong
  • Don’t point at them
  • Keep track of the responses somehow and highlight problem or question mark jurors after each round
  • Don’t look scared even if you are, but it’s fine to admit to being nervous
  • Embrace the cliché – honey works better than vinegar

Photo:  Cristina and I at Southbeach in Miami during a break at the AAJ Midwinter Convention last month.  Note the shadow from the selfie stick.

Teaching Voir Dire with Bill Bailey and a little help from Trader Joes

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Prologue:

Taught trial advocacy for many years at UW School of Law with dear friend Bill Bailey.  Bill is now a full time professor at the school.  Since teaching without him would not be the same, decided to turn in adjunct badge.  However, today am going to the school to teach voir dire.

After factoring everything that could go wrong with traffic, arrive 30 minutes early.  Make a quick pit stop at  Trader Joes.  Scan the aisles and choose: 1) bag of mandarin oranges; 2) container of cookie butter chocolates; and 3) small bags of mixed nuts and dried fruit.  These are the secret ingredients.

Start class off.  Ask question.  Student answers.  Reward follows.  Chooses chocolate.  Throw one at him and he catches it.  Next person volunteers.  Chooses nuts. Toss it over and miss target.  Someone retrieves it for her.  And so on.  Needless to say, class participation is superb. 

During this event,  Bill is taking notes. 

Here they are:

 

From: Bill Bailey

Date: January 13, 2015 4:49:20 PM PST

To: Trial Advocacy adjunct professors

Subject: The Monday Class Report-Voir Dire Training With Karen Koehler

 

Dear Faculty, In keeping with my New Year’s resolution, I want to fill you in on the Monday class, which was a huge success, with great energy and participation by the students. Karen Koehler is a remarkable trial advocacy teacher who I was most fortunate to be paired with for a number of years here at UW. Her spontaneity, creativity and intuitive grasp make her uniquely suited to help students understand and perform one of the most feared parts of a trial

Karen broke the session into two parts, first talking about trust and communication in the courtroom and “us” (lawyers) versus “them” (jurors). Then we adjourned to the mock courtroom “set” in 138 Gates. The students filled the jury box and the first two center rows of 138. One by one, they took turns asking the panel about attitudes and issues pertinent to the Constantine case.

Prior to adjourning to the courtroom “set,” Karen asked for a show of hands, which class members considered themselves extroverts and which were on the introvert side. It was about evenly split. She went on to say that most lawyers are not the brash extroverts that the public thinks we are.

Then she asked for a show of hands on who was the kind that others confided secrets in during adolescence. About 5 students raised their hands. She asked them why they thought others trusted them. The replies varied. “”I am a good listener.” “I care about people.” “I could be trusted to keep a secret.”  “I am calm and rational.”

Her provocative question that followed was, “If you weren’t one of those people that others trusted then, what are the odds of shifting into that now?” One student had a very good answer to this, “High school was a strange time. I have matured a great deal since then, much more comfortable with myself.”

Karen then focused on the core challenge of voir dire: “How do you get information out of people in a courtroom on who is going to be biased against your clients?” She used the term “lawbotomy” to describe the biggest issue for lawyers. “We learn to speak in measured sentences full of the jargon we learned in law school. This separates us from real people.” Karen laid out the consequence. “It turns voir dire into us versus them. You have to figure out how to be real. You want to be on the side of the jury, not on the other side with the lawyers.”

She made some general remarks on how to approach voir dire successfully. “First impressions are formed quickly. The jury weighs everything coming out of your mouth. You want to set a tone that goes beneath the surface and gets things going. It has to be a dialog, not information collecting. Safe, not judgmental.

Your questions should be based on whatever the last answer from a panel member is, trying to keep it going. If you read questions from a script, you will get scripted answers. This needs to be a human interchange. Make your questions to the panel small, short and simple. Dial down, trying to explore an issue. React with real human expression. But never judge people based on their answers, always thanking them for their candor.

You work the panel like a talk show host, getting them aligned. Deal with issues in groups. “How many agree with that?” “Why?” “Who has an opposite view?”  You don’t want to be seen as just a data collector that is just trying to kick some of them off.

Karen’s view is that for many lawyers, voir dire is a time of stalling and giving empty platitudes, thanking the panel for their service, trying to curry favo. “Jurors want you to get into it. Hit the go button.”

She exhorted the students to be like the “normal, regular people they were before they went to law school.  Act like a real person. Just do it! Get in and be real.” She asked them, “How does a real person stand? What kind of acknowledgement or eye contact do they make? How do they hold their hands. How often do they smile?”

We then got into the voir dire process itself, with each student going about 2 minutes and then getting feedback from all of us. The liability areas touched on in the questioning were all very pertinent to the Constantine case, e.g., How do you feel about bicyclists on city streets? How many of you get irritated when you see them darting in and out of traffic? Who rides a bicycle regularly? How comfortable do you feel in traffic with cars? Who uses their cell phone while driving? How safe do you think this is? Who has ever rented a car in an unfamiliar city? Did it take you time to get used to the rental car? How do you navigate in an unfamiliar city? Who has ever used a crosswalk in downtown Seattle? Do you always look both ways? Are you concerned about being hit when you cross? Who ever has had a near miss as a pedestrian, when a car didn’t see you?” How careful are drivers in stopping for pedestrians? Who has ever motioned a pedestrian across a street when driving? How many of you consider yourselves safe drivers? How did you learn? Who taught you?”

Then we shifted to damages questions. How many of you have gone to college? How many of you changed your majors? How many times? Did anybody take time off during college or afterward? Has anyone ever lost a family member or close friend to trauma? How did that affect you? Did it change your daily life? How do you feel about awarding 4 for loss of life.”

In her feedback, Karen constantly urged the students to be themselves, “Know who you are and what makes you special. That’s what you go with in the courtroom. Be authentic.”
She also reminded them that “the purpose of voir dire is not just to get people off the jury. You are building trust. The trust relationship is the single biggest thing.”

The students were totally engaged in this, It was thrilling to see them put themselves out there for the sake of personal and professional growth. Karen created a climate in the classroom where they felt totally safe to explore the unknown.

Photo:  Nala and I on a picnic table at Lake Wenatchee state park.  Right before we jumped off.

 

Trial diary excerpt: The case of the chunk

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This trial diary excerpt is from 2011 King County Superior Court.

Trial day 1

Am not smiling as leave the courtroom.  Judge Hill has just chewed me out.  All my energy is turning inward.  Breathe in.  Breath out.  Walk down the stairs to the car.  And leave.

It starts off as a promising day.  The sky is blue.  There are plenty of jurors available downstairs.  The first round is brought up.  19 are excused for hardship leaving 41.  Just in case, a second group of 20 is brought up.  12 of them are excused.  People are struggling to make ends meet.  A somber pall is cast over the courtroom.  Too many people have to publicly humiliate themselves explaining they are scraping by pay check to pay check. 

The judge reads the neutral statement:

Plaintiff claims, on June 18, 2008, he was driving his truck on I-5.  As he passed under the Holgate overpass, someone dropped a large chunk of concrete onto the freeway.  The concrete broke through Mr. Clark’s windshield and struck his right shoulder.  Mr. Clark claims the incident was foreseeable because of the history of the overpass and its location next to the area known as “The Jungle.”  He claims the Defendant State of Washington should have installed protective screening on the overpass and that its failure to do so was a cause of his injury.  Defendant State of Washington denies Mr. Clark’s claims.  It claims that the bridge was properly built according to applicable standards, that there was no need for screening and the only cause of injury was due to the intentional conduct of a third party. 

The jury doesn’t blink.  But I can feel backs stiffening.  The change in aura is palpable.

Judge H then asks the jury two pages of questions that we had hoped to issue via a written questionnaire but couldn’t due to – no time.  She does not ask a single followup question.  I actually approach the bench and ask if she will follow up with the two people who said they had “concerns” as to whether they could be fair jurors in the case.  She declines and tells me I can.

So I do.

Have never jumped out of an airplane.  But can imagine that feeling of catapulting oneself over the edge into a zone of pure fear.  Because that is what voir dire feels like today.  There’s no dipping a toe in first to gage the temperature.  No wiggling around the edges to find a cozy place to begin.  Have to launch right into the guts of the beast.

The first juror who said she couldn’t be fair turns out to be a former attorney general so she is excused.  A no brainer.  The second juror is number 70 something.  Way in the back.  As soon as I read his bio and see him walk in the room I mark his name (on my chart) with red for danger.  Hate it when those predictions turn out true.

He is a former cop.  For something like 43 years.  Die Hard in the flesh.   He may have retired a year ago but he is on a mission.  Nothing is going to stand in his way.  So when I ask him why he raised his hand as not being able to be fair, he spends the next two minutes explaining how he knows the State is wonderful, the City is wonderful, the officers do a perfect job, the area in question has been handled as best as can be, the bridge in question was built according to standards and there is no way anyone is responsible other than the crazy idiot who threw the rock off the overpass.  Judge H then asks the defense if they have any question, they ask one – and he reiterates his platform with even more vehemence.  I ask that he be excused for cause, she asks him a question which results in him restating his platform before she gently cuts him off and excuses him.

After he leaves, a juror raises his hand to speak.  Says he used to be a deputy knows that area well.  He can totally see how someone could throw a rock off it and why it should have a protective screen.  He is trying to say more but  Judge H cuts him off.  Am grateful for him.  We move on.

It is ugly.  As ugly as I’ve seen.    Another juror says bad people do bad things, that doesn’t make the government responsible.  If they had to screen this bridge, that would mean they would need to screen all of them.   That would come out of the pockets of the taxpayers who are us.  This case is “silly.”  80 percent or more of the jurors generally agree with her.  I ask how many have a different viewpoint and 8 timidly raise their numbers.  

How do you move forward when the jurors are condemning the case before it has even started.  Once you launch you keep going.  That’s how.  With all the positive energy you can muster.

There is a nucleus of six jurors who have said they aren’t just skeptical.  They are so skeptical that they don’t think they can be fair.  We are working to help them get excused for cause.  Right at the verge and

What?  No warning and we’re taking a break at 3:30 and court is over for the day at 4:00.

Am disoriented.  Want to rush up to the judge and yell wait and stop everyone from leaving the courtroom.   But don’t of course.

After the jury leaves approach the bench with the AGs and tell the judge – need to finish challenging that group for cause.

And that’s when she scolds me.

She’s mad at me and I didn’t even know.  Focused on the jury, she’s to my back and haven’t paid her much attention for the past half hour.  Well, am paying attention now.

She is talking and I’m still disoriented.  What is she saying.  Am thinking – need to finish the challenges for cause and she’s saying it’s the state’s turn now.  Waaaaaaaah.  But your honor, I was in the middle of challenging the jurors for cause.

She says that if I was to try to challenge them now, would fall short because haven’t asked them proper questions.    I “asked for it” by having them  judge the case before they heard any facts.  It is my fault they are taking these positions.  Should have asked –  if they are given a legal instruction will they follow that despite their beliefs.   Haven’t used those words.

Head is loopy. In a nanosecond am thinking – have we been in the same courtroom.   Am I losing my mind.  Have I done this all wrong.  Is it my fault that the jurors are speaking about their strong biases, calling this case silly and saying they can’t be fair, they aren’t the right jurors for this case.   Have I wrecked the process.  Did I not lay foundation to challenge for cause.  My head clicks back on right.  No. No. No.

Should probably bite my tongue, but am fighting to seat a decent jury for our client.   Say as respectfully as can – your Honor, the tone of the jury’s discussion was set when the cop got up and made his speech at the very beginning. This all had to be addressed at that point.   She doesn’t disagree.  Instead she says – you should have cut him off.

Wow.

I suppose she’s right.  If I didn’t want to hear the bad stuff and didn’t want the jury to hear the bad stuff I should have cut him off.   But that’s the exact opposite of how I choose to do voir dire.

Ultimately she decides we will end the day after the jury comes back from break.  But I am allowed to challenge them for cause in the morning before the state begins.

And so, I march out of the courtroom.  Focused.  Determined.  Scolded but not repentant.

How Allstate made the jurors wait to start…for over 6 hours: a trial diary story

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Trial day 1

 

Instead of doing her usual acrobatic routine, Nala is curled up around my feet.  On the little rug in front of the sink.   I glance up at the little crystal clock on the shelf.  It says 6:10 which means it is 7:10 since the clocks sprang forward Sunday.  Haven’t changed it yet.  The mental math keeps me sharp.  Or so I tell myself.

On goes the regulation black.   Black jacket.  Black tights.  Black boots.  Black skirt  with little ruffles.  The only color is a non-color on the shirt.  Flesh toned I guess, in a shade several tones lighter than I.  With rouching  and gathering to soften the severity.  Of my black hair.

I leave my rings on the little metal hand stand next to the orchid on the counter.   There are only two of them.  One is a pretty piece of jade from an antique shop on Royale Street in New Orleans.  The other is my best friend pinky ring.  Shellie and I have matching ones.  We do pinkie finger shakes wearing those rings.  I always wear them.  But not for this trial.  Because my right hand is covered with a big band aid.  The story involves  E.J. my six year old nephew and Nala, but that can be told another day.

After dropping Nala off at doggie day care, get on the freeway.  Head to Everett.  This will take 45 minutes.  Plenty of time to practice opening.  Or conceptualize voir dire.  Maybe review testimony of the first witness.  After all, Steve Hay asked me to try this UIM case not quite a month ago.

It is raining.  Gray.  Too quiet in the car to listen to these thoughts.  So turn on The Appeal by John Grisham.  The narrator is real good.  Am transported to Mississippi.

Park.  Ride up the elevator.  Walk a few steps across the courtyard to the entrance.  There are no security lines around the ugly courthouse.  Sorry if you’re from Everett.  But that courthouse is about the ugliest thing have ever seen.

Make it to presiding and the court has just read our name.  Don’t care, because Steve (Hay) is covering this.   He waves at me.   We get assigned out within five minutes.   I get up before I even sit down and we head up to the fifth floor dept. 12.

Now there is a reason why I’ve just spent so long telling you about trial day 1.  When we aren’t even in the courtroom yet.  You’ll see soon.

We get there and our judge is Marybeth Dingledy.  (pronounced Deengel ‘ die) What a fantastic name.   She is very direct, prompt, makes sound rulings on the motions in limine, has a twinkle in her eye.  That’s all good.

So what is the problem.

Well, the Allstate attorney Jodi says that she won’t agree to simply calling a panel of 29 prospective jurors.  She’s worried there could be bias against Allstate, so she wants 35.  Problem is there are only 29.  We need to wait to see if any jurors are going to be released from the other voir dire panels around the ugly courthouse.

So we wait.

And wait.

Each lunch.

Come back and wait.

And wait.

Until finally at 2:30 pm Jodi cries uncle and agrees to go with whatever number there is.

Which turns out to be 31.

And then we wait for them to be brought up.

And for the judge to swear them in and do preliminary instruction and voir dire.

Which means that by the time I start voir dire – it is ten minutes until 4:00 p.m.

Can you imagine how upset those jurors must be.  I see a lot of lips turned down Mr. and Ms. grumpy pants.  And don’t blame that all.  29 of 31 have been sitting in the jury room all day long.  Waiting on us.

Oh, this is going to not go well at all.

I put on a smile and start in.

Have you ever been to a comedy show  where the audience doesn’t laugh.  Or at a music concert  where instead of people loudly clapping for an encore, they just leave.  Or at a legal education seminar where people are reading the news on their computers and texting on their phones.

Well, that’s what it feels like when you start voir dire at 4:00 in the afternoon of a jury that’s been waiting for six and a half hours to start.

In the words of Winston Churchill which I keep quoting to my children.  “Never. Never. Never give up.”  So smile.  Push forward.  And complete the first 20 minute round of voir dire.  By the end these folks are loosening up.  Talking and shaking their heads yes and no.  Sometimes smiling.  They are getting into it.

Then Jody stands up.   And starts to give a closing argument in the guise of voir dire.  Which is not really even in a guise at all.  She asks a series of questions which requires everyone to nod yes.  She doesn’t have them say or explain anything.  She just wants them to agree with her.   Does this ever really work.  This technique of pseudo-brainwashing.  Well, maybe.  But not today.

Do you agree Allstate should  investigate and look at all the facts and circumstances before they pay a claim.  Yes they nod.

They may not be getting anything out of this.  But she is.  Her voice is getting stronger.  She’s  becoming impassioned.  Says:  Allstate has a right to look into the…

And at that point, I interrupt and lob an objection.  Sweetly.  Which the court overrules.  Graciously.

Rick Friedman would be sighing and telling me Karen Karen Karen.  What have I told you about objecting so much.

Am unrepentant.  It needed to be done.

Jody is thrown off.  Actually she probably comes out of her trance and realizes, the jury is just about totally asleep.   It is now 4:20.  She’s gone 10 minutes.  She calls a sidebar and offers to end her round of voir dire early.    Says the jury is flat.  Well, no duh they’re flat.  I’m about asleep myself.

So we end the day.

Photo:  This beautiful courthouse is the Grays Harbor Superior Court building.  The Snohomish County Courthouse is the opposite of beautiful.

Voir Dire…as a social gathering via Spreecast

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What the heck is a spreecast.

Why so glad you asked.  But can’t quite explain it to you.  Because still not exactly sure.

Mitch Jackson, asks me to do one with him.  On voir dire.

First, have to get the spreecast up and going on computer.  But the screen goes dark and there’s a box telling me to hit a button.  Can’t hit the button because box won’t close.   So call Mitch.  He walks me through to the black screen and box.  He says, hit the button in the box.  I say – it isn’t a real box.  He says – hit it.  So I do and well…it is a real box.  What a dummy.

So it is up and going and basically he’s on one side of the screen and I’m on the other.  He’s a real pro.  Has an ear piece and looks sharp.  I on the hand, am bouncing on my ball and looking off to the side where I think the camera is.

Despite my personal challenges, we have the spreecast and it is quite fun.  He is quite perky and a darn good interviewer.  Kind of like a lawyer version of a decades younger Larry King.

Here’s the interview.

http://www.spreecast.com/events/karen-koehler-the-velvet-hammer


Check out a recent interview by Super Lawyers about my blog. Yes, I'm a lawyer. But I'm also a human being. I have a doggie named Nala, three daughters, eat brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts for breakfast, and wear jeans as often as possible when not in court.
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True eloquence consists in saying all that is required and only what is required. — La Rochefoucauld


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop


The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free. — Oprah Winfrey


If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. — Woody Allen


The soul never thinks without a picture. — Aristotle


To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. — William Shakespeare


Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. — Muhammad Ali


Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. — Stephen Hawking


It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. — Apache proverb


People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost. — Dalai Lama


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
— Anne Frank


Learn to laugh; it is a discipline to be mastered. Let go of the everlasting burden of always needing to sound profound. — Richard J. Foster


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. — Albert Einstein


Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain. — Helen Keller


Remember that lost time does not return. — Thomas á Kempis


If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small. — Proverbs 24:10


Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. — Gertrude Stein


It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom. — Albert Einstein


The right of trial by jury shall be preserved. — 7th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution


I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. — Ludacris


And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
— Erica Jong


Words are chameleons, which reflect the color of their environment. — Judge Learned Hand


You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefullness, But still, like air, I'll rise. — Maya Angelou


The moment that justice must be paid for by the victim of injustice it becomes itself injustice. — Benjamin Tucker


He who keeps his eye on results cannot give himself wholeheartedly to his task, however simple or complex that task may be. — Howard Thurman


An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. — Mahatma Ghandi


Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum. — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr


The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. — Flannery O'Connor


We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. — Jimmy Carter


To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. — Simone Weil


It is not the level of prosperity that makes for happiness but the kinship of heart to heart and the way we look at the world. — Alexander Solzhenitsyn


It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service. — Albert Einstein


The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. — Elie Wiesel


I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. — Bill Cosby


The time is always right to do what is right. — Martin Luther King Jr.


I had rather attempt something great and fail, than to attempt nothing at all and succeed. — Robert Schuller


It is very easy to break down something. You can take a stone and throw it through that window; that is easy. Try fixing it, and that takes longer. It takes longer to help someone who has been broken. That’s the work you’re doing. — Desmond Tutu


How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. — Annie Dillard


Mine honor is my life; both grow in one; Take honor from me, and my life is done. — William Shakespeare


To straighten the crooked you must first do a harder thing – straighten yourself. — Buddha


A thought is an idea in transit. — Pythagoras


Fall seven times, stand up eight. — Old Japanese proverb


No generalization is wholly true, not even this one. — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


Of what use is eloquence? He who engages in fluency of words to control men often finds himself hated by them. — Confucius


There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. — Martha Graham