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Lawton & Cates Service Offerings

Listen to Kent Carnell talk about the services that Lawton & Cates can offer you if you find yourself in need of litigation.

Devil's Advocates: Dominic we are joined right now, live in studio, by a new guest and a fine sponsor one of the partners over at Lawton & Cates. We are joined by Kent Carnell. Kent welcome to the Devil's Advocates show.

Kent Carnell: Thank you very much.

Devil's Advocates: Sir, you have quite an impressive resume, you have been called a Super Lawyer. Where is your cape Kent?

Kent Carnell: Well, what it means is that I have been a trial lawyer for over 40 years. Super Lawyers of Wisconsin Designation basically I have that for business litigation. I am also listed in the Best Lawyers of America in Personal Injury and Construction Law. A lot of what that means is that I have a lot of experience and know how to try cases in various of areas the law.

Devil's Advocates: Kent you are with Lawton & Cates that is a diverse law firm. You guys have a lot of different specialties, you mentioned some of yours. What other kinds of representation does Lawton & Cates offer?

Kent Carnell: Well let me say in general that we can handle any kind of legal dispute that looks like it’s going into court. Also, I don't particularly do it, but we do Family Law, we do Employment Law, we do Worker's Compensation. It can be disputes where someone is trying to take the license away from a doctor or dentist or something like that. So we are pretty diversified, but it is trial law even business trials, but not business law per se.

Devil's Advocates: How about FCC fines could you help us out with something like that should that ever happen?

Kent Carnell: Probably, but it would take some background because I haven't really done that before.

Devil's Advocates: Let's not break any of those rules during this segment then Kent. Let me ask you sir, we talked before we came on the air, about your construction law background and your personal liability background, but are those two things directly correlated? When you talk about construction law what is usually entailed in the representation you provide?

Kent Carnell: Since I've done this for so many years I understand construction practices. I understand the terms of construction, how things are built, I understand it from an engineering standpoint, a carpenter's standpoint. I have handled cases in construction where you're dealing with climbing tower cranes, going up buildings to home builders, which is more simple. So a lot of it is understanding the means and methods of construction. Also, it is understanding the construction lien law if contractors or subcontractors can file liens on the property that helps them get paid in the end.

Devil's Advocates: What about the personal injury side? Are you representing people hurt on the job site? Does that usually tie in with your construction background?

Kent Carnell: It often does, I have handled people who have been injured on construction, on a job site like that. Sometimes it turns into a worker's compensation case. Other times if there is another third-party involved not the employer of the injured worker you can have what's called a third- party case against that person, where you can recover the full value of the injuries where sometimes worker's compensation is limited.

Devil's Advocates: Folks you are listening to the Devil's Advocates radio show. We are live in studio with Kent Carnell from Lawton & Cates and Kent when I was a kid I used to watch Perry Mason. Every week he is the courtroom, he has a trial every week or at least if you believe the series. Let me ask you at least in real life or in real litigation how frequently do the lawyers at Lawton & Cates end up before the judge? How frequently does that occur?

Kent Carnell: Well you may be before the judge on a number of things along the trial process such as: scheduling, motions on certain issues when you are trying to keep out certain evidence, or decide if you can take a deposition of this person. In terms of trials themselves there has been a change since when I started practicing. Much more often earlier in my career you went to trial and actually tried the case. In the last ten years or so they started a mediation process in the state of Wisconsin. Dane County actually started that where a judge will order the parties to go to mediation you get a third party a retired judge or an experienced lawyer and they will kind of knock heads. Statistically about 90% of civil cases will settle at or shortly after the mediation process.

Devil's Advocates: Kent whenever I end up in litigation, unfortunately it is occasionally and I go to mediation. I am fine with mediation but I want to do the talking or I want my attorney to do the talking. Do you find that there is that sort of latitude in the mediation process? Can you still control those outcomes on some level or is that still at the direction of the mediator most typically?

Kent Carnell: Well, mediations are voluntary and any settlement is voluntary. So if you go to a mediation you do not have to settle. You would listen to the mediator and hopefully listen to what he says, listen to your lawyer and what he says. In the end you’re making an I'll call it a business judgment. Does is make sense to settle at this level whatever it is? Or does it make sense to take a chance at going to trial? All trial lawyers will tell you no matter how good your case is you are taking a risk by going to trial. Because things happen that nobody anticipates, you can't totally control a jury and they may come out with some weird result that nobody expected and you may lose the case. So you are making a business judgment in the end.

Devil's Advocates: Kent let's say you're up against another party in litigation and you are representing your client, do you feel like the quality of your representation helps get your client to a suitable settlement amount? Do you think the quality of representation matters in these matters?

Kent Carnell: I think it matters a great deal especially if you have experience. I think over the course of the years I've developed and other people in our firm have developed a reputation with the lawyers we usually find on the other side of cases. We are straightforward, we are honest, if we say something that's what we mean and that leads to a respect among both sides of lawyers doing this kind of work so you can reach what is a reasonable position, without having to bluff or say things that are inaccurate.

Devil's Advocates: Well Kent we don't want a reasonable outcome! We want a victorious outcome! We want to win!

Kent Carnell: Well hopefully what that reasonable outcome is, is victorious for your client. Reasonable in the sense of what makes sense knowing all the legal ramifications of the case and what can or cannot happen in during the trial process.

Devil's Advocates: Well we appreciate your time Kent Carnell partner with Lawton & Cates. I've hired you guys! I've got you working on a couple small litigation issues. So if we go to mediation and you're my lawyer on that case I'm looking for a victory! That is the only reasonable outcome I'm looking for sir.

Kent Carnell: We will get you that, that's what we do.

Devil's Advocates: Kent, we greatly appreciate the sponsorship of Lawton & Cates. We look forward to getting to know more of the partners of the firm and your respective specialties you guys are broad, you cover a lot of topics and we appreciate your time today.

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