I understand what it is like to struggle. I grew up poor and I have worked for everything that I have. My father was a steel worker and my grandfather was a sharecropper. Growing up I wrestled, boxed, played football and baseball.
I am a veteran and served in the Navy. I worked my way through college washing dishes, delivering newspapers, delivering pizzas, repossessing cars, and bouncing in bars.
I'm married with two daughters. I work hard to give my daughters the opportunities that I never had.
I have had over 30 jury trials as lead counsel. I have tried cases in state and federal court. I continually work hard to improve my skills as a trial attorney. I attended Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer college. I read trial practice books, psychology books, communication books; anything that will improve my trial skills.
Other than the law; I love cigars, baseball and photography. (In that order.)
Former Sandite receives ClarenceDarrow Award
By MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Kevin Adams is proof that with hard work and perseverance, dreams can come true.
Adams was recently awarded the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Association's Clarence Darrow Award.
Adams first realized he wanted to be a lawyer while attending church.
"We'd go to church and I always asked questions and the Sunday school teacher didn't always have the answers," he said.
"He was the first person to suggest I should become a lawyer."
As a kid, F. Lee Bailey and William Kunstler were his heroes.
"Lawyers stood up for what they thought was right," Adams said.
But, emulating his heroes seemed unachievable.
"My family's poor and we didn't know any lawyers. No one in my family had gone to college," he said.
"The hardest thing about it, when you're a young child, is keeping in mind you can actually do it."
"I think about my daughters, with me being a lawyer and having lawyer friends, to them, it will seem like second nature."
Adams, a 1991 Charles Page High School graduate, didn't just want to be a lawyer; he wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer.
"I've always been somebody who roots for the underdog," he said. "Everyone's entitled to a defense. Even though it's unpopular, I never wanted to be a prosecutor."
It's not always easy winning cases, Adams said.
"There's some point in every case when I think it's impossible," he said.
"During the second trial with Leandrew Charles White, the day before the trial ended it wasn't going well."
"We had a couple of heavy blows dealt against us. I worked hard that night and then gave the closing the next day. Someone in the court told me it was the best argument he'd ever heard."
Since May 2002, Adams has won six not guilty verdicts in eight serious criminal jury trials.
His victories include acquittals in three child abuse cases, two murder cases and a federal drug conspiracy case.
His most recent victory was in United States of America v. Ritz. Adams won a verdict of acquittal on the sole count of conspiracy after a three-week jury trial.
While nine other defendants were indicted, his client was the only one found not guilty.
A quote he frequently reads by John Adams is "No man in a free country should be denied the right to counsel and a fair trial."
"By defending a client, you're ensuring the judicial system works the way it's supposed to," he said.
But not everyone understands why he does what he does.
"One of my grandfather's friends came over, apparently I knew him as a child. I got ambushed with 'How can you defend them when you know they're guilty?'" he said. "Who determines who's guilty? You have to have a system and this is the system we have and I think it's the best in the world."
Adams is only the second Tulsa attorney to receive the award, and one of the youngest.
"I'm certainly pleased," he said. "It's nice to get recognition. Too often, defense is a thankless job."
Jim Rowan, a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City, nominated Adams for the award.
"I think he's a phenom to get his law degree in 2001 and win the Clarence Darrow award a year and a half later," he said. "That's quite an accomplishment. Some lawyers don't do that in a lifetime."
Rowan said he likes Adams' style.
"He took on Dr. (Robert) Block, one of the smoothest testifiers I've ever seen. Kevin did an impressive job cross examining him," Rowan said.
"Somewhere along the line he's learned much on the skills to persuade. He uses repetition, logic and is very animated."
Adams' tenacity and hard work ethic also impressed Rowan.
"We had a break in a trail and went to his home. The kitchen table was covered with books and papers and I could tell he had been working hard on the case," he said. "And he's just talented. He's got a good head on his shoulders and handles himself well in front of a jury."
The Clarence Darrow Award is given annually to an individual attorney for zealous criminal defense advocacy.
"From the Tulsa World, not an endorsement"
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