Kevin’s dedication to his craft comes from years of learning the value of hard work. Growing up on a family farm and then working at an Alaskan cannery in between college and law school have embedded in Kevin a sense of pride in everything he does. Every case that Kevin works on at Coluccio Law – large or small – benefits from the lessons he learned. Kevin’s tenacity and work have led him to receive countless recognitions from trial lawyer organizations across the country and outstanding results for his clients. Below, Kevin shares with us what makes him tick and why his family is the most important thing in his life.
When you are deciding about whether to take a case, what factors are you evaluating?
I remember early advice in my career – “your practice will be defined by the cases you reject more than the cases you accept”. All too often lawyers take cases that they should not. One saying that I have used in talking with my former partners or colleagues is, “don’t get intoxicated by the damages”. You must assess liability prior to taking a case or very early in your representation. This is as important for the client as your practice.
“I am careful to take cases that are right and just. Cases that I feel 100% committed to pursuing.”
At this point in my career, the factors I consider most are obviously liability issues, and fit. Is this a client that I can work with and can work with me? Is the client committed to his/her claim? Given my skill set, staff, and time, is this a case that is best handled by me?
Which do you enjoy more – cross-examination or direct examination, and why?
Cross – because it takes great care and focus. You also must have the mindset that less, in most cases, is more. Attack is not the best approach, until you are given “promise” by the witness – meaning the witness invites you, by his/her testimony, to become more aggressive. Also, you must be constantly aware that “now” is the time to stop.
I would share the following about direct. With direct, I like to be unconventional, meaning, giving the witness the opportunity to be real. An example – I once simply asked a doctor who had dedicated his whole career to one area of medicine, “why?” His eyes lit up, because he could share why for 30 years he had studied and practiced in a very specific area of medicine. The jury was on the edge of their seats and the doctor became real.
How do you help a client prepare for trial?
By spending time with them as a human being and not a lawyer. Go to their home, play cards with them. Ask them about their dreams, regrets, their sorrows, their joys. Spend a night with the client and his/her family. Have dinner with them. I had a burn case in which my client’s hands were badly deformed and disabled. He told me that he didn’t like to go to his favorite breakfast spot because everyone looked at him and he spilled his food and was embarrassed. He agreed to go there, and we had breakfast together – it was because of this experience that I could better understand and explain his condition.
“In wrongful death cases, I often go to the gravesite and sit and listen, watch visitors to the cemetery.”
It is all about time and commitment that helps our clients.
What are your outside interests and hobbies and how do they play into your career?
My family is the most important part of me – going to family events, kids’ games, walking in our local parks together. My kids and wife come often to my office – or they did until going to college and boarding school.
I like to golf and exercise, and it is important to have these outside activities.
I like to garden, which allows me to go to my roots, in that I spent much time growing up working on my uncle’s farm.
“My interests and hobbies outside of my law firm make me realize the importance of our health, our lives, and our ability to pursue interests without disruption.”
Where do you see your law firm 10 years from now?
I’ll be retired and enjoying family, golf, Napa, CA, and gardening.
What’s something you wish everyone knew about lawyers?
That it is a competitive and tough profession that requires a great commitment, long hours, and great risks. That many of us stay awake at night worrying about our clients.
Also, that we are real and simple human beings that have chosen a path that places a great deal of responsibility upon us. A career in which common folk rely upon us to protect their interest and to help with their future abilities to succeed and survive.
What charity/organization are you passionate about?
My family has been committed to Water1st International for many years. My family has traveled to many water sites and have been involved in all avenues of fundraising. We recently dedicated a water site to a young client of mine that was killed in a trucking crash.
My brother and mom have Parkinson’s disease, so we are involved in the NW Parkinson’s Foundation.
We are also involved with KEXP, a local radio station.
Periodically, we are asked to support various local groups, which we try to do.
Thanks again to Kevin for sharing his story with us. Kevin asked we highlight the above organizations for your consideration.