16 SUPERLAWYERS.COM A TTORNE YS SELEC TED TO SUPER LAWYERS WERE CHOSEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROCESS ON PAGE 19.
For the Love of Bloomington
Betsy K. Greene of Greene & Schultz on representing plaintiffs,
doing victory dances and pushing those damned boulders
INTERVIEW BY ROSS PFUND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN BRAGG
Q: I hear you’ve tried over 85 jury trials.
A: I’ve actually tried 102—I hit triple digits
Q: Was it tough to hit that mark,
considering trials happen less often
A: That’s very much my experience. I
really love trying cases, I really do. It’s a
lot of work; you’ve got to be willing to put
yourself out there, but it’s what I do and I
enjoy it. However, my clients, not so much.
Although I regret not perhaps trying as
many cases, if it’s going to be best for the
client to resolve it, then that’s what we do—
because it’s not really about my hubris.
Now, I started out as a deputy
prosecutor, so I was in court all the time.
[During] my first 5 ½ years, my first 22
trials were criminal trials. I probably
had more than that, but I didn’t have to
start counting trials until I got my first
certification, so I only counted those that I
could absolutely document.
Q: So you might have a few more than 102.
A: I don’t need to claim credit for them,
but I was in court all the time, and that’s
when I learned that I really enjoy trying
cases. So I also think that there’s a
balance. It takes a lot of time and effort
to get prepared for them, and if you’ve
got too busy a caseload, it’s hard to be
Q: Do you do anything special to prepare?
A: Yes. I graduated in 2005 from the
Trial Lawyers College, founded by Gerry
Spence. I’ve been on the faculty since 2010.
So I have traveled around the country
and taught and had weeks and weeks
of training, and some very special trial
What the college does is use
psychodramatic techniques to discover
the truth of a story in action. It is basically
an action method to find the truth and to
explore the emotional content of a story.
So, in essence, we use these tools to act
things out. It’s much more effective to have
your client show you what happened.
Q: Show, don’t tell.
A: That’s exactly it. I think of a direct
examination as being 3-D instead of 2-D.
We want to engage the five senses; we want
to try to bring the fact-finder to the situation
so that they can understand the story of the
witness and the story of the case.
Q: You graduated from law school in
1982. By that time, were there plenty of
women in your class?
A: My dad went part-time to law school
when I was a kid. He went at night to IUPY in
Indianapolis, and when he graduated from
law school in ’67 or ’68, there were two women
in his class. By the time I got out of law school,
we made up roughly one-third of the class.
However, you did not see a lot of
women litigators. That was still very
unusual. So there was one time when
I was a deputy prosecutor, I worked in
Morgan County, which was the next
county north of Monroe, and my boss,
Jane Craney—who’s now the Honorable
Jane Spencer Craney—was the elected
prosecutor. And for one period of time,
there were no other women practicing law
in the whole county.
Q: What did you learn from her?
A: Jane was a fierce trial lawyer. I learned
that anyone can walk in a courtroom
and try a case, no matter their gender—
although truthfully, I don’t think I ever
really felt limited by that. I learned that
in order to be a trial lawyer, you’ve got to
find your own voice. When I first started
trying cases, I tried to be the “Iron Lady”;
that’s what they called Jane in the local
paper. Her style was a lot different from
mine, so it took me a while to figure out
how to talk to people in a persuasive way.
And that it’s OK to have some
personality and to be myself.
The best thing about working for Jane
is that she gave me discretion. I learned
to make decisions on my own, to be able
to defend them. To be in the prosecutor’s
office, your duty is more than just to
convict people. Your duty is to do the