Interview with Ryan McKeen

By Lawyer Minds | May 8, 2020 | Interviews

Ryan McKeen

Ryan McKeen is man of many talents. He continues to run a decades-old blog that pushes out new unique content about legal topics in his home state of Connecticut. He manages Connecticut Trial Firm, which he founded and has now grown to nine team members. He is a frequent lecturer and speaker on topics ranging from law firm management to advances in courtroom technology. Ryan, along with four of his colleagues, also published “Tiger Tactics,” a widely recognized guide for how lawyers can build their practices. When Ryan is not out dominating the world, he spends every moment of his free time with his family and cheering on his Red Sox. 

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a lawyer?

“The experience of being a lawyer is the most rewarding experience that I’ve had as a lawyer.”

Here’s what I mean by that – I think lawyers are uniquely situated to do good. We get to help our clients through times. And if we do this thing right, we get to improve our communities and provide rewarding opportunities for those we work with. I also consider lawyers that I have met throughout the country to be one of the great riches of my life. There are some amazing people in this profession.

What type of timelines do you have (internal or written) in the month and weeks leading up to the trial?

Our belief is that trials are won and lost on the medical records. I know we as lawyers love to talk about opening statements, closing arguments, and witness examination. But knowing those medical records, all that’s in them, and how defense will manipulate them is where the rubber meets the road. So we look at them, organize them for trial, redact the records properly, and file motions to preclude anything unnecessary.

Otherwise our system is pretty basic – we work backwards from jury selection. By the time we see a juror we have our opening statement done, our evidence ready to go, our examinations done, our closing argument drafted, and our witnesses prepped. The reason we do this is we don’t want anyone – defense counsel, a juror, a judge, our client – thinking for a second that we will blink.

How long do you enjoy a successful win (verdict or settlement) before getting back to work?

We celebrate with our families and pizza at the office. Usually a trial – especially if we are in a venue not near our office – takes us a way from our families. So having everyone together and getting pizza is the way to go.

Why is jury duty important?

Jury duty is important because we are in a war between corporate and human values. Corporations have successfully eroded real values through legislation and regulation. They’ve made it harder to vote. They use all sorts of things to erode the value of human life. I blame these efforts for our current state of incivility.

A jury box is our last and best hope. A juror’s vote for what kind of world they want to live in really matters. Do they want a world that recognizes the value of life?

What’s a typical day in your law firm like?

A typical day in my law firm starts around 6 am on my couch. I handle overnight inquiries and leads and begin to get to work. I also usually begin by posting on our firm’s social media channels. I then get ready for my day and head into a time block where I do deep work on one of my core responsibilities. My afternoons are filled with calls and meetings. At night I go home and prepare for the next day.

How do you stay organized?

“Disorganization is the true enemy of a trial lawyer.”

We put a premium on organization. We have been completely paperless for years. Filevine, our case management system, really helps us stay focused on what needs to be done while putting the information we need at our fingertips.

Thank you to Ryan for sharing the tips and tricks that have made his firm a success story. Ryan’s organization of choice is Achilles International CT., which supports and encourages disabled athletes to participate in mainstream athletic events. Serving on the board of this organization has given Ryan a first-hand look at the positive impact it has on the community.