When asked how he won a $66.6 million dollar verdict, Lee Hunt attributes much of the victory to the intelligence of the jury — and his ability to forge real, human relationships with his clients.
On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen talks about trial law with the founder of Hunt Law in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The two discuss Lee’s latest big victory, covering everything from his client’s injuries, liability, and the trust he placed in his jury. They also discuss Lee’s background and his passion for trial work.
“I try very hard never to go, at the very least, more than a year without significant trials,” said Lee. “It is absolutely terrifying, trying a case where you know your client’s future life is at stake. It’s terrifying. But as long as you’re in the mode of it and haven’t been that far removed from it, it’s a fear you know how to deal with.”
For Lee, the trial process is personal. Not only does he dedicate time and energy into every case, he also puts the same effort into knowing his clients on a personal level. He believes clients and lawyers should trust one another, and he credits that trust for much of his success over the course of his lengthy career.
Name: Lee Hunt
About: Lee Hunt is the founder and lead attorney at Hunt Law. He graduated from the University of Kentucky School of Law, where he received the Order of Coif award. For the past 20 years, Lee has proven himself time and again with a winning track of successful jury awards for injury victims.
Almost above anything else, Lee stresses the value of the relationship between attorney and client. He believes that by the end of a case, the client and lawyer should trust each other, know each other, and genuinely care about each other. Lee wants to know his clients on a personal level and not just as another case number.
His reputation precedes him as a compassionate, caring lawyer, who offers his clients more than just top-notch legal council. He vows to stand with his clients every step of the way and won’t give up until he sees their trial through to the end.
Company: Hunt Law
[02:06] An intro: Lee tells Michael and listeners some background on the big case he won in New Mexico, which involved a movie set, a production company, a moving crane, and a man pressured into making a life-altering decision.
[07:57] Negligence costs money: Lee discusses how the production team ignored warnings from local New Mexicans about the safest way for his client to move a crane up a mountain.
[12:26] Relatability: One of his strategies with the jury was to make the case relatable for any blue collar worker who has been put in tough situations rather than focusing on the case’s specific location on a movie set.
[14:57] The jury: Lee describes the process of selecting the jury pool and the focus groups that were involved.
[17:36] Comparative fault: From the jump, Lee wanted to really own his client’s culpability in the case, which ultimately played out in their favor. His client was found only 19% at fault.
[22:15] Damages: Lee breaks down how he came up with the different damage costs.
[28:16] Trust the process: Whether to give the jury an exact number in payouts or leave it up to them ultimately comes down to each individual case.
[33:26] Personalization: Lee really puts the time and effort into getting to know his clients, as well as their families. He spent time with his client’s family in California leading up to the case and discussed their worries and concerns.
[37:50] Zoom vs IRL: Lee discusses how New Mexico’s COVID protocols impact trials and how witnesses are perceived by the jury via Zoom versus in person.
[46:53] In his nature: Having grown up an athlete and continuing to be an avid runner, Lee attributes some of his trial success to his natural competitiveness and ability to go the distance.
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In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.