Wm. Keith Dozier is a trial attorney and personal injury lawyer who runs a private practice in Lake Oswego, Oregon and has been representing clients since 2001. Keith has tried personal injury cases to verdict in state and federal courts and has been recognized by his former clients and fellow lawyers for his record of providing ethical and effective representation. Keith has been elected to The American Board of Trial Advocates and the Oregon chapter of ABOTA, an invitation-only organization dedicated to ethical advocacy and the preservation of the American jury system.
Lawyer Minds: What types of cases do you handle?
Keith: We have successfully handled all forms of serious injury cases ranging in type from medical malpractice to products liability to vehicle crashes. What is important to us is the quality of the client and their sincere need for help.
Lawyer Minds: When you are deciding about whether to take a case, what factors are you considering?
Keith: First and foremost, we need to have a solid connection with our clients. There must be a trust relationship both ways. Then, our case evaluation centers on whether we believe there is a legal claim that can be won after hard work and preparation. We work with reputable medical and technical experts to fully understand each potential case and support our clients the best way possible.
Lawyer Minds: How important is creativity when working on complex cases?
Keith: Creativity is key. In our modern world it is vital to find new and interesting ways to convey complex information in a format that is both easily understandable and can be rapidly digested in a short amount of time. Effective soundbites and Twitter length communications must be harnessed to engage judges and jurors and allow them to both be interested and invested in our client’s story. Focus groups are tremendously helpful in learning the challenges presented by each case. Listening to feedback from others starts the creative process.
In our modern world it is vital to find new and interesting ways to convey complex information in a format that is both easily understandable and can be rapidly digested in a short amount of time. Effective soundbites and Twitter length communications must be harnessed to engage judges and jurors and allow them to both be interested and invested in our client’s story.
Lawyer Minds: How do you stay current on law changes that could impact a client’s case?
Keith: I am fortunate to be members of great legal organizations which publish organized updates on the law, and which also have very active email listservs. This allows for early warning of potential changes in laws that affect our cases. I am also very thankful to work with a local appellate and research attorney whom I trust implicitly to counsel me regarding complex legal matters from a neutral perspective.
Lawyer Minds: How do you prepare for trial?
Keith: We prepare all our cases as if they will go to trial. This includes gathering all pertinent information, obtaining expert reviews, and conducting focus groups to learn about our cases. That is done early in the litigation process so that if settlement negotiations fail, we are prepared to move forward to trial without delay. This ensures preparedness and preserves our reputation for being ready to try cases without hesitation.
Lawyer Minds: Is there a moment in any trial that sticks out to you—good or bad—and can you share that?
Keith: I once had a trial where an all-white jury returned a unanimous $19 million verdict for four black men who were repeatedly racially harassed and threatened in the workplace. When the verdict was being read our clients wept, as did many in the jury. It was an amazing display of what civil juries can do to ensure justice in a world where people often feel unrecognized or unappreciated. Ten local citizens sent a message in a way that no politician or judge could have. That is the power of the jury system.
Lawyer Minds: What constitutes success in your mind regarding a case outcome?
Keith: I want my clients to feel that we did the best job possible for them. I want them to feel as if they were respected and listened to. Everything else will fall into place.
Lawyer Minds: Do you believe pessimism or optimistic is more valuable as a lawyer?
Keith: You cannot possibly do what I do for a living without being an optimist. Our clients are often horribly injured, requiring ongoing care. I must believe, and I do, that we can obtain a measure of justice for them that will enable them and their families to live better lives than otherwise possible.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering practicing law?
Keith: If you do anything just for the monetary reward you are wasting everyone’s time. Instead, get to know your clients on a personal level. Visit them in their homes, meet their family. Learn to appreciate how they live and what matters most to them, what they truly need. Then be the kind of legal representative for them that you would want for your own family.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one thing you want the readers to know about you that we didn’t ask?
Keith: I believe that the civil jury system in the United State is a vital guarantee against tyranny, greed, and elitism. I also believe that our justice system is under attack by big business interests and want-to-be oligarchs/dictators. We must not only represent our profession well as ethical lawyers, but we must also invest in the preservation of the civil jury system and an unbiased bench.
Lawyer Minds would like to thank Wm. Keith Dozier for sharing his insights with our readers.
Interview with Tyler Schneider