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6 Things You Didn’t Know about Kathleen Zellner
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Photo still courtesy of the documentary “dream/killer.”

Summary: Steven Avery’s new lawyer has an impressive track record.

It was announced this week that “Making a Murderer” subject, Steven Avery, just got two new defense lawyers. One of them, Kathleen T. Zellner, has a long career of exoneration, and fans of the show are wondering — who is this attorney? 


To recap, Avery was arrested for the death of Teresa Halbach shortly after he was released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer” examines the trial and investigation, where it appears he was framed, and the public is seeking Avery’s release.

1. Zellner is known for one special skill.

Fans of Netflix’s documentary “Making a Murderer” are out for justice, and who better to have on your team than Zellner? Bustle writes that Zellner is “a specialist in wrongful convictions,” and she has the track record to prove that. She has had 17 cases overturned in her career, and she has won millions in damages for her clients. For instance, Kevin Fox was incarcerated for allegedly murdering his daughter. Zellner persuaded the Illinois state’s attorney to do a DNA test, which found Fox to be innocent. Her website reports she won him a $15.5 million settlement.

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2. Zellner almost was a history professor.

Zellner grew up in Texas, and she attended the University of Missouri as an undergraduate. LawCrossing reports that she originally wanted to be a history professor, but her husband, a bonds trader, encouraged her to go to law school. She got her law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law and set up practice near Chicago in 1991.

3. Zellner has won numerous career awards.

In 2014, Chicago Law Magazine named her Chicago Lawyer Person of the Year, and in its write-up, they called her “Kathleen Zellner, the rescuer.” Her website states she has also won awards from organizations such as the American Bar Association, the Chicago Tribune, and the Illinois State Crime Commission.

4. Zellner followed Donald Trump on Twitter.

Zellner is fairly active on Twitter, and she has a large following, with more than 36,000 followers. Since the announcement she would represent Avery, she has become somewhat of a celebrity and there appears to be fake accounts created in her name!

Additionally, we noticed Zellner followed presidential candidate Donald Trump. Based on her professional track record, it seems unlikely she would vote for him, so did she follow him because his tweets are so outrageous? (We reached out to Zellner but have yet to hear back what she thinks of him.)

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5. Zellner believes women are better trial lawyers than men.

Zellner told Law Crossing her theory of why women attorneys excel at trial.

”I think women are better listeners and I think they’re more perceptive about sizing up potential jurors. Men tend to get sort of caught up in their egos and talking about themselves… And the art of successful voir dire is listening,” Zellner said.

6. Zellner is the kind of trial lawyer that is made for TV.

Law Crossing called Zellner “one of the most successful trial lawyers of our time” and that her style is perfect for television.

Law Crossing wrote, “Kathleen Zellner is known for winning multi-million dollar medical malpractice settlements for her clients and freeing innocent people from Illinois’ death row. A made-for-TV attorney, Zellner once saved a man on death row by coaxing a woman on the stand to confess that she, and not Zellner’s client, had committed the murder.”

With her wits and media savvy, fans of “Making a Murderer” have a lot to look forward to.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Kathleen T. Zellner website

Source: LawCrossing

Photo still courtesy of the documentary “dream/killer.”


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