Member in the Spotlight

John Menzel

John Menzel

This week's Member in the Spotlight is John Menzel of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. After graduating with his B.A. from Monmouth College, John was working for an investment firm on Madison Avenue in New York City when he decided to go to law school at nights. He graduated with his Juris Doctorate from New York Law School in 1984. After winning his first drunk driving case in 1987, John decided to concentrate his practice of law exclusively to drunk driving defense. Early on, he earned the nickname "Motion Menzel" by the judges he practiced before, as well as their respect. John's work ethic is ferocious. On top of a very demanding practice (of which he has appeared in more than 300 courts in all of New Jersey's 21 counties) he has argued over 100 appeals and has lectured on DWI at 153 seminars across the country. His technical writing background also lends expertise to his writings, including in the New Jersey Law Journal.

John's cases boast immense legal capital. The famous Chun (2008) case established necessary conditions before a breath test can be admitted. In Cummings (2005), the Court declared "preponderance of the evidence" in a specimen refusal case unconstitutional. Farrell (1999) still exists as the leading case in New Jersey on speedy trial and DWIs. John's eloquence in brilliantly arguing the law on Chun can be seen here: http://www.dwi1dwi.com/StateVsJaneChun.wmv


Tracey Wood

Tracey Wood

This week's member in the spotlight is Tracey Wood from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tracey graduated with a B.A. from Marquette University in 1988. She earned her J.D. at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1992. Before Tracey decided on a career in law, she wanted to be a doctor. When she scored better on the LSAT than the MCAT; the decision was made. Being in the spotlight always appealed to her from a young age, so choosing a career in courtroom litigation was a natural fit. When Tracey was in the seventh grade she starred as Patty in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.

"I got to wear the pretty pink dress and cute pigtails, and I got to sing… stuck with it." What also stuck was a natural gift to entertain, persuade, and delight her captive audiences- her jurors!

Tracey is a seven time recipient of the distinguishing Wisconsin Super Lawyers award, and has been named to the "Top 25 Women in Law" by Super Lawyers. She has a perfect 5/5 on the LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Rating Scale. She is past president of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL). Tracey is a sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) since 2001, and also formerly served as a Regent. Her other professional memberships include the American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Wisconsin State Bar. Tracey is the author of several articles regarding drunk driving, including "Challenging Prior Under the Influence Convictions," and is a contributing author of "Drunk Driving Defense" by Lawrence Taylor and Stephen Oberman. She frequently serves as a criminal law commentator and legal analyst to local media and has lectured on intoxicated driving nationwide.


James Bickford

James Bickford

This week's member in the spotlight is James V. Bickford IV of San Diego, California. James earned his Juris Doctorate from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from Hamden Sydney College, majoring in psychology. He also attended Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for two years and takes great pride in being a 4th generation Cadet. James comes from a long line of attorneys and an Appellate Judge. One of 4 boys, he knew at the age of six that he wanted to be a trial attorney. While his brothers grew up watching Bugs Bunny, he watched Perry Mason. James' idyllic life came to a crashing halt when at age 20, he suffered from a near fatal car accident. In the middle of his college career, it suddenly became questionable whether or not he would ever be able to read again. With massive brain injuries accompanied by an iron will, honed from his VMI disciplinary training and his indomitable spirit, he conquered the odds. Prior to engaging in law school, James took his natural gift of persuasion with people and academic psychology prowess to try his hand at sales. He was "schlepping everything from cars to vacation rental properties." What he discovered was "Training on sales is the best education you will get for being a trial lawyer".

After graduating law school, he began his career as an intern at the San Diego County Public Defender's Office. His first jury trial was defending a woman accused of DUI with a BAC of .16 and .17. After a 3 day trial, she was found not guilty of all charges. He went on to pursue DUI specialized training in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized field sobriety tests as a practitioner and instructor, Intoxilyzer 5000 for breath test operators and the Robert F. Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety for government toxicologists. As founder of The Law Office of James Bickford, he has dedicated his practice solely to defending DUI cases. He is both proud and dedicated to be a DUI defender of the National College of DUI Defense. Since becoming licensed in 2000, he has attended 13 summer NCDD sessions at Harvard, possibly holding the record of most attendances for years practiced.


Allen Trapp

Allen Trapp

This week's member in the spotlight is Allen Trapp of Carrollton, GA. Allen graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee and magna cum laude from the Georgia State University College of Law. When asked why he became a lawyer, Allen responded, "I did not have the talent to play first base for the Baltimore Orioles (or any other MLB team)." Seriously, Allen was so impressive at debate at 14 years of age. His coach encouraged him to pursue law for which we all can be grateful!

Allen has completed the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration 24-hour Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course, a Drug Recognition Expert course, and owns an Intoxilyzer 5000. He is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense. He is author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide (3rd edition), Georgia Criminal Law Survival Guide, and co-author of the Tennessee Criminal Law: Handbook for Citizens, in addition to several articles published in The Champion and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has lectured on DUI/DWI in Georgia, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Florida, Wyoming, and Arizona. Allen is a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (serving as Vice President from 2009-2012), Georgia Defense Of Drinking Drivers Group, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and has served as the Georgia Delegate to the NCDD from 2008-2014.


Our NCDD Founding Father

Our NCDD Founding Father

Back to the beginning, "Honestly, I can't recall who came up with the idea of the College. My best recollection is that it was initially three or four of us, and we contacted those we felt to be the leaders in the field to meet in Chicago to form some sort of national organization. I do recall that we focused primarily on education …as a former law professor, I approached the administration at Harvard."

Larry Taylor has led the fight in the United States against the erosion of the Constitution when it comes to DWI. He started the NCDD. He served as the first NCDD Dean. He has written 13 books and 35 legal articles. He has given over 200 lectures on DWI in 38 states. He wrote the most relied upon and preeminent DWI textbook (Drunk Driving Defense, now in its 7th edition after 33 years), recently recognized as leading authority in the United States Supreme Court's recent landmark case of Missouri v. McNeely by Chief Justice Roberts. What drives such a leader? Where did the passion come from? From a true and pure heart, in Larry's own poignant words, "I liked my clients. I liked wearing the "white hat". I learned the science being used to prosecute my clients was bogus: the prosecutor was offering false evidence and, unlike in most criminal cases, I was the guy who was trying to present the truth to the jury. I felt like I was the guardian at the gate of the assault on the Constitution. Because of the increasingly politically incorrect nature of DUI- akin in the public's eyes to child molesting- constitutional rights were increasingly being ignored, both in the courts and in the legislatures. Legislators, bureaucrats, prosecutors, and judges were stumbling over themselves to appear tough on drunk drivers."


Willard Hall

Willard Hall

This week's member in the spotlight is Willard Hall from Beaumont, TX. He graduated with his B.S. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and immediately set out writing for two of his hometown newspapers back in Beaumont: the Port Arthur News and the Beaumont Enterprise. After being assigned to the courthouse beat, Willard realized that was where he truly belonged. (How is that for having the perfect perspective when dealing with the media?) On a mission, Willard went back to law school graduating with his J.D. from St. Mary's University School of Law. With the spotlight always attracting him, he secured a job with Beaumont's illustrious criminal defense lawyer Joe Goodwin, who couldn't be bothered handling the minor DWIs that walked in the door. Like the perfect storm, it was at this very time in 1983 that Texas changed DWI from a traffic offense into a criminal act. Willard ran with it, fighting his "traffic offenses" like hell and earned a reputation of being a DWI trailblazer, way ahead of his time-never letting up. Willard's professional efforts mirror the no holds barred daredevil adventurer in him. Growing up at the local airport gassing up planes, he flew his first solo flight at the age of 16. After obtaining his pilot license, but became a F.A.A. licensed certified flight instructor at the age of 19, teaching flying lessons to put himself through college.


Stephen Paul Barnard

Stephen Paul Barnard

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Stephen Paul Barnard of Tucson, Arizona. Stephen received his J.D. from the University Of Arizona College Of Law, and his B.S. from Arizona State University. He has practiced law for 42 years. Quite mind boggling, and perhaps holding the record for the most DUI jury trials in the country as a defense lawyer, Stephen has tried over 900 DUI jury trials. His expertise does not end at the trial level. He is responsible for more than twenty precedent setting cases before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Arizona including: the right to change judges in lower courts, the right to counsel during a DUI investigation, and the right to obtain independent evidence. Sharing his successful passion with others, Stephen co-founded the AACJ Aggressive Defense of the Accused Impaired Driver bi-annual seminar 27 years ago, recognized as one of the best blood test seminars in the country. Sharing tips from his vast litigation experience, he is also a very impressive and effective presenter. Interesting to note, Stephen's interest in becoming an actor blossomed into his decision to settle on a career in law.

Stephen is a sustaining member of the National College for DUI Defense since 2001, member of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, America Trial Lawyers Association, and American Bar Association. He also serves on the board of governors for Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice where he heads the DUI committee. He was named one of The Best Lawyers in America for 2010, and one of the Best Lawyers in Tucson by Tucson Lifestyle Magazine, with a superb attorney rating by AVVO.


Rhidian Orr

Rhidian Orr

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Rhidian Orr of Denver, Colorado. Rhidian received his J.D. from the University Of Denver College Of Law in 2000, his B.A. from the University of Denver in 1994, and his MBA in 2002. He is co-author of the Colorado DUI Survival Guide (2013) and authored a chapter in the Inside the Minds: Navigating DUI Drug Cases (2012). Alongside with Tim Bussey, Rhidian helped create a DUI training program for the public defenders of Colorado.

Inheriting his entrepreneurial spirit from his family of doctors, Rhidian was an owner of an Internet company by age 27. When the dot com bubble burst, he went back to law school with an eye towards corporate mergers and acquisitions. With this in mind, after graduating law school he decided to get his MBA. After passing the bar and finishing his MBA, a dear friend of his got arrested for DUI. A conviction meant his friend would lose his career. Rhidian reluctantly agreed to handle his DUI immersing himself in every DUI book and legal reference he could find. He prevailed and to use his inspiring words, "I helped a good person overcome a mistake and it didn't cost him his career in the process. But I also realized how many people were not as fortunate as my friend, so it was at that moment that I decided to fight for those accused of DUI. This is how I became a DUI attorney."


David S. Katz

David S. Katz

This week’s member in the spotlight is David S. Katz of Orlando, Florida. David was raised in New Jersey and has spent his entire adult life in central Florida. David has an Associates of Occupational Sciences in Culinary Arts – Summa Cum Laude, a Bachelors of Science in Food Service Management, Summa Cum Laude, both from Johnson & Wales University and a Juris Doctorate – Summa Cum Laude from Barry University, School of Law.

Interesting to note, after graduating college, David became a chef and successfully owned and operated two restaurants in Gainesville and Altamonte. So it is no surprise his hobby is cooking and trying new restaurants.

David, as a former prosecutor set a high ethical bar. He was instrumental in reopening closed Florida cases when problems came to light on the Intoxilyzer 8000. A short time after 9/11, while selecting a jury, he was successful in convincing a judge to strike the entire jury panel because it became clear the defendant, a young man of Arabic descent, would not get a fair trial.

David and his partner James Phillips have seven associates at their firm. With the exception of only one associate leaving to work with a father in law, all trained associates remain. His excellent management and legal skills has earned his firm the Client’s Choice award four years in a row as well as the Martindale Hubbel’s Client Distinction award the last two years.


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