Posted: February 6th, 2020
(Winston-Salem, N.C., February 6, 2020) — Kimberly Stevens (JD ’92), one of only three capital resource counsel in the U.S., joined Professor Mark Rabil for the first “Conversation With” event of the new year. She discussed her experiences working as defense counsel in numerous high-profile federal death penalty cases, navigating small-town prejudices, and the lessons she learned while litigating in a biased environment.
Stevens emphasized the significance of professionalism and compassion in legal practice.
“We are all attorneys,” Stevens said, “we are all trained professionals, and we can be gracious and we can be friendly to each other even when the stakes are at their highest.”
She shared that empathy was one of the cornerstones of her practice, saying that deeply understanding a client’s story has allowed her to build rapport with the people involved in a case – a crucial requirement for developing a solid defense in federal capital cases.
In addition to her stories about past trials and overcoming prejudice, Stevens talked about the struggles and threats she faced throughout her work, noting that it taught her how to deal with partisan bias in an emotionally charged situation and even how to work with people with radically different beliefs and experiences. This has allowed her to persevere in her practice.
“If you can get back up, you’re wiser,” Stevens said, “You’ve seen and you’ve felt and you understand.”
Listen to a Conversation With Kim Stevens (JD ’92) at wfu.law/gt5