Introducing The Velvet Hammer Website 2.0: http://KarenKoehler.com

My website was old. 

Ten years ago (at age 47 if you must know) finished my stint as President of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.  Our organization had helped the citizens of our state survive two consecutive initiative battles - caps on medical negligence damages and a roll back of the Insurance Fair Conduct Act.  We were bashed by the insurance industry in the process via millions in TV ads. 

Took on the small personal mission of sharing the inner workings of life as a plaintiff lawyer.  Hoping that through transparency, others might see that lawyers were real people too. 

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7 bullets

I am looking at the Medical Examiner's chart.  She has been shot 7 times.  7 pieces of metal are either in or have gone through her small body.  The same height as mine. But more slender.  Her face is beautiful.  It was spared.  They aimed at her middle.

I count the bullet holes on the front of the body diagram.  Then on the back.  There are more than 7 holes.  Some bullets count for 2 holes each.  In. Out.

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The meanest motion ever

Sometimes my job is sickening.   I get the whole idea of defense lawyers attacking my clients in order to make sure they are telling the truth.  But what I can never get used to are the grotesque tactical maneuvers used by some defense lawyers to save an insurance company a buck.

Here are a few excerpts from an argument I made to the Court opposing defense counsel's motion to dismiss a father's claim for the wrongful death of his child.  Before reading this: a) put on a white jacket; b) stand up fully; c) employ wonder woman frown; d) thrust out chin; and e) use extra emphasis when using the word: "repulsive."

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How to Fly Across the Country for the Weekend and Not Stay Overnight

Friday
9-10:00 am perform office work with Nala in tow
10:00 – 11:15 teleconference with AAJ committee. Anne takes Nala for a walk and brings her back.
11:15 – 12:30 Meeting with co-counsel and new client who is in full rigid body brace. Nala tries to tip her over.
12:30 – 1:15 Put Nala in car. Head to court but first stop off at Whole Foods Interbay as frig is bare. Pick up fruit.

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Dear Judge: Can you PLEASE muzzle that woman...and the press

In its third motion for protective order my least favorite tourism company asks the court yet again to stop the plaintiff from filing motions in the public court file.  Instead they want a special rule that requires us to give them five days notice before we can file a document so they can bring a motion asking the court to seal it or block us.  Kind of like an early warning anti-missile system.  We must tell them before we launch then they try to shoot us down before the paperwork can hit the courthouse file.

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Keep your head to the sky

Judges don't like it when us attorneys can't stop bickering.  They are irritated by having to deal with our exchanges of snipes, digs and downright insults.

Last month after a trial ended, two jurors followed me down to the courthouse lobby.  They wanted to talk about what happened.  Both commented on how impressed they were that the attorneys acted in a civil manner.  Sure we disagreed with each other and objected and there were tense moments.  But we were not overly disrespectful like the lawyers they saw on television.  They appreciated that.

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Lawyer v. Lawyer part 4 I guess

After Thanksgiving, my brother sisters and I decide to sort through the few remaining boxes of mom's things.  The contents of two storage units and a condo have been reduced to a pile of certificates, photos, and little treasures.  We are at Greg and Laurie's craftsman house.  Sitting around the living room.  Creating our respective piles.

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Should a toddler's life ever be worth nothing

A few days before Thanksgiving a defendant corporation sends me the report of its expert accountant.  This person's job is to place a value on the life of a two and a half year old child who has died as the result of the negligence of others.

In our state the way we decide the "value" of loss of life under such circumstances is to project what the child would have grown up and earned during her life time.  Less what the child would have consumed.  The amount that is left over is called "net accumulations" and this cold calculation = value of the life lost.

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