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 horizon-expanding experience.
The second career-defining opportunity was lucking into a job during law school with the Los Angeles firm of Erin Brockovich, Delta 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 vehicle, premises 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 appreciate that.”
My wife of 28 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 works as an SLP with the Blue Valley School District in Kansas City. Hannah is in law school in New York.
- 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