The best way to get to know me and find out why I love being a trial
lawyer at Bretz
Injury Law is to understand where I come from. I grew up with a
single mother and three sisters and spent a lot of time with my
grandparents. An inquisitive kid, my mom, and grandparents pushed and
challenged me, helping me develop a passion for learning. With their
support, I got my first job at the age of 11, earned the rank of Eagle
Scout by 13, and then graduated college and started teaching classical
and quantum physics at Kansas State University by the age of 20.
One of the side jobs I did as a kid was yard work for a local retired
lawyer. I didn’t know what lawyers did, but I admired this man and
wanted to be like him. Physics and teaching intrigued me, but I could
not get the idea of being a lawyer out of my mind.
I think there are three primary things that have made me who I am as a
trial lawyer. The first was an opportunity to get out of Kansas and
attend Pepperdine University School of Law in California on a
scholarship. I didn’t realize the importance of it at the time, but I
received an education from one of the top law schools in the country.
For me – a small-town Kansas boy – this was an eye-opening and
The second career-defining opportunity was lucking into a job during law
school with the Los Angeles firm of Erin
Force II, and The Twilight Zone fame, Engstrom
Lipscomb & Lack. At Pepperdine I learned “the law,” but at EL&L I
learned how to be a trial lawyer, litigating aviation and catastrophic
injury cases from around the globe.
The third, and by far the most formative event in my life, occurred on
Valentine’s Day in 1992. On that day my 16-year-old sister, Marlee, and
two of her friends were delivering baskets of flowers when their car was
struck by a train, instantly killing all three of the girls in the car.
Going through that devastation with my family at the time and in the
years since has given me a personal understanding of the crushing pain
suffered by those who have lost a loved one. Since then, I have devoted
both my professional and personal life to helping those who have been
seriously injured or who have lost a loved one, and to make the
community a safer and better place to live.
My professional and personal lives bleed together. I am on the National
Board of Directors for MADD with the singular goal of bringing an end to
the mayhem caused by drunk and drugged drivers. I also volunteer time
with the United Way, Red Cross, Interfaith Housing, ABATE, and the
Training and Evaluation Center of Hutchinson.
Even after 30 years, I still enjoy teaching. As a trial lawyer, I get to
teach juries, insurance companies, and frequently even defense experts.
To help other trial lawyers improve their skills and get better results
for their clients, I teach trial lawyers across the country – from
Seattle to Atlanta and every place in between – at the Keenan Trial
Institute. I’ve also been able to teach through the local community
college, the Boy Scouts, and Sunday School.
I handle motor
liability, dangerous and defective products, and nursing home cases.
I’ve been fortunate to receive accolades from CNN, Martindale-Hubbell,
and AVVO. But the recognition most dear to me was a handwritten note
from a client saying: “You treat me like your only client, and I so
My wife of 30 years, Amy, and I have two compassionate and driven
daughters, Lauren and Hannah. Lauren has a Master’s degree in Speech and
Language Pathology and is currently a law student at the uni of Kansas. Hannah
is a second year law student at Brooklyn Law School in NY.
- Auto, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents
- Product Liability
- Nursing Home Claims
- Wrongful Death
- Premises Liability
- US District Court of Kansas
- US District Court of California – Central District
- US District Court of Colorado
- US District Court of Oklahoma – Eastern and Western Districts
- US District Court of Illinois – Northern District
- US District Court of Missouri – Western District
- US District Court of Nebraska
- Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Kansas Bar Association
- Reno County Bar Association
- National Trial Lawyers Association