Member in the Spotlight

Brian Leininger

Brian Leininger

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Brian Leininger of Overland Park, Kansas. Brian has been practicing since 1991. He has owned his own practice since 2001. Brian was born in Waterloo, Iowa. He is the fifth of six children. His father was a factory worker who built John Deere tractors. His mother was a homemaker. All through college and law school Brian worked at least twenty hours a week and full time in the summers to put himself through school. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, and Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas.

After passing the bar, he became a research attorney for the Kansas Court of Appeals. After which, he became an Assistant District Attorney in Wyandotte County, Kansas, while also serving as a part-time city prosecutor for nearly four years. When Brian left the D.A.'s office, he became General Counsel to the Kansas Highway Patrol.  During this time, he also trained troopers and officers in DUI and drug cases. Brian has not only completed extensive police training, he is one of the few lawyers in the country to have achieved a DRE certification (Drug Recognition Expert). In addition, he also graduated from the FBI National Law Institute.

On top of DWI Defense, Brian is also very passionate about ending the war on drugs. He is a member of the NORML Legal Committee, and a speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP is a group of current and former prosecutors and Judges who support efforts at ending drug prohibition.


Carl Ward

Carl Ward

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Carl Ward of St. Charles, Missouri. Carl was second in his family to graduate from college, and the only one to go to law school. To pay for both his undergraduate and law school, he worked many jobs: a draftsman, roofer, leasing agent, security officer, and restaurant manager. Attending the University of Missouri, he graduated Summa Cum Laude and went on to receive his law degree from the St. Louis University School of Law in 1984. He determined that law school was quicker than earning a PhD in political science and he, along with the world, is so grateful he made that choice!

Carl is a leader. He has chaired or moderated the largest DWI law seminars for lawyers in Missouri for twenty (20) consecutive years. His mantra is "All in, all the time." He takes it personally when cops cheat and judges or prosecutors just "don't get it." Yet alongside his no nonsense approach, he goes the extra mile for judges who do the right thing. Carl has defended dozens of appeals by the Department of Revenue (Missouri's licensing authority) pro bono for judges making the right call. True to Carl's governing nature, his favorite thing about being a lawyer is establishing good DWI case law in the appellate courts to help everyone. Missouri currently has some of the best DWI case law in the country currently.


Amy Morell

Amy Morell

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Amy Morell of the San Francisco Bay area of California. Amy became a lawyer because she wanted to show other little girls that they too could become lawyers. She is the first of her family to attend and graduate from law school. She attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, and graduated from the California Western School of Law. Amy has been practicing DUI Defense exclusively for over 21 years.

Amy was born and raised in Tennessee in a little city close to Nashville. Her parents owned a construction company, and they retired at the age of 50. She has lived in Knoxville, Tennessee; London, England; Mykonos, Greece; Atlanta, Georgia; Lansing, Michigan; San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Piedmont, California. Amy worked many jobs before becoming a lawyer. She worked at a now defunct amusement park in Nashville called Opryland in Doo-Wha Ditty City where she wore a poodle skirt, swept up trash and gave people directions to the bathroom. She also worked stints as a grocery cashier, painter, house cleaner, babysitter, computer room monitor, head cashier at sporting goods shop, legal runner, law firm receptionist and a book shelver for a law library. She remarks that she made it one day as a law firm receptionist, much preferring being the lawyer!


Jim Medley

Jim Medley

This week's member in the spotlight is Jim Medley of Houston, Texas. Jim was born in Port Arthur, Texas. He was raised in an even smaller town nearby called Bridge City. This area of Southeast Texas is sometimes called the Golden Triangle. Jim grew up with the dream of becoming a police officer. Jim's mother was a licensed vocational nurse in elderly home health care, and his father was an operator at Texaco in Port Arthur for 35 years.

He graduated college from Auburn University in Alabama. After graduation, Jim immediately came back to Texas and became a police officer in Port Arthur. Jim went on to earn three Master's degrees: a Master of Education, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Management from Sam Houston University, and a Master in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston.

Jim has valuable insight into criminal defense from a law enforcement perspective. He never really planned on becoming a practicing attorney until he witnessed a supervising officer physically assault a man whom he arrested. When Jim properly documented the incident and was ordered to make a statement to Internal Affairs, the subculture turned on him. It was at this point he decided to go to law school to fight that subculture. Jim relishes sharing his law enforcement experience with jury panels. He comments, "I think my real-world experience has helped many of my clients get two word verdicts."


Michael Rajek

NCDD Michael Rajek

The NCDD's Member in the Spotlight is Michael Rajek of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Michael was born and raised in Merrill, Wisconsin. He played four years of college football at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. He was a grad assistant to the University of Oklahoma football team, while attending law school there. He is a two time Wisconsin PGA pro-am golf champion. Michael wanted to be a lawyer ever since he was quite young and caddied for a prominent lawyer who was a friend of the family. His father and two brothers are dentists. His mother was a television advertising representative.

Michael has practiced law in Wisconsin for 39 years. After law school, he returned to Wisconsin and served Pierce County as a prosecutor for ten years. He is a Founding Member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), as well as a member of the American Academy of Trial Attorneys (AATA), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Wisconsin Federal Bar, and the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He served as a former member of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board. He is a lecturer for the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers and a special lecturer for the Arizona State University Law School.


Peter Gerstenzang

Peter Gerstenzang

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Peter Gerstenzang of Albany, New York. Peter has practiced law for over 45 years. The State Bar of New York recently honored him in 2016 with a distinguished service award: "Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law." Peter has honorably served the National College for DUI Defense from 2003-2015 (Regent, Dean, Dean Emeritus). He helped create the Public Defender Training Seminars sponsored by the NCDD, and remains a pivotal force. Peter is always giving of his time, energy, and resources to other lawyers.

Peter grew up in Grand Gorge, New York, an upstate dairy farming village of approximately 500 people. His parents ran the local pharmacy and Peter had various jobs including milking cows, throwing bales of hay onto hay wagons, construction worker and assistant chef. Peter had three siblings, all of whom his parents put through college with one brother becoming a physician, and the other a patent attorney. Peter's sister is a pharmacist. Growing up, Peter was influenced by the fact that he was a first generation American on his mother's side. His Mom, Aunt, and Grandmother escaped the pogroms in the Ukraine and emigrated to the United States. His family's experience gave him a deep interest in, and appreciation of, American history and the development of the United States Constitution. This interest ultimately led him to the legal profession.


Doug Wells

NCDD Doug Wells

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Douglas Wells of Topeka, Kansas. Doug has practiced law for over 35 years. He was born with law in his blood. His father was an attorney and judge. His mother was a district court clerk until she retired. Doug graduated from Kansas University and received his law degree from Washburn Law School. Doug is a hometown guy: born, bred and completely dedicated to his roots. He has spent his entire life in Topeka, with the exception of one year in Japan and his 4 years as a student at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas. Walter Payton said it best, "If you forget your roots, you've lost sight of everything." Not only has Doug honored his roots, he lives to serve them. When asked why he became a lawyer, he responded that after excelling in high school debate and forensics, "I began to realize that all people did not get an equal opportunity at success. People need an advocate. While I cannot help everyone, I can do my share." Doug has done more than his share. Doug's resume of giving back is quite impressive. He has served as President of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for 3 years, and served on their Board of Governors for ten years. As a high mark of esteem among his colleagues, Doug was the only DUI defense attorney appointed by the Kansas Bar Association to serve on the Kansas DUI Commission, which functions to review and modify Kansas DUI laws. In addition to affecting the DUI landscape for the betterment of all of Kansas citizens, Doug has also dedicated vast amounts of his time to teaching young law students as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at Washburn Law School. His other professional associations include the Kansas Association for Justice, the American Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, the Topeka Bar Association, and he served as the 2004-2005 President of the Third Judicial District of Criminal Defense Attorneys.


George Bianchi

George Bianchi

The National College of DUI Defense's (NCDD) Member in the Spotlight is George Bianchi of Seattle, Washington. George has practiced law for 33 years. In this time period, he has risen to the top of his field by serving as President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice (WFCJ) and as the Dean of the NCDD, among a list of many other service positions. In 2013, the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) honored him with the President's Award. That same year, the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice (WFCJ) presented him with a special award for his "Tireless Leadership, Courage, Integrity, and Command of the Law". In addition to serving his fellow colleagues in the pursuit of justice, he has served the City of Seattle on a panel responsible for reviewing public defense services and assigned contracts. His well respected published works include chapters in Drunk Driving Defense by Lawrence Taylor and Inside the Minds: Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence.

George's Italian grandfather, a barber, immigrated to Seattle and instilled in George the value of hard work. Raised in the tight knit Italian community known as "Garlic Gulch", George's father, Al Bianchi, was a "larger than life" prominent attorney who practiced both personal injury and criminal law. His mother, a 5'1" red headed Norwegian with a college degree, sacrificed a career in banking to raise George and his sister. A strong willed force, she advocated women's rights before Gloria Steinem's collective movement. Both of George's parents inspired his ambitious resolve. His mother taught him "If you strongly believe in something, NEVER give up". His father demanded excellence, refusing to hire him fresh out of law school remarking "I can't afford for you to learn at my clients' expense."


Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Steve Oberman of Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. Oberman is a towering pillar of the highest ethical integrity both in the practice of law and life. He has championed a career in both the defense of the accused in DUI matters and educating other lawyers. He remains a pivotal force in the Board Certification program of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), as well as the mastermind behind the annual "DWI means Defend with Ingenuity" seminar in Las Vegas, co-sponsored by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In addition to his private law practice of 36 years, he is currently working his 20th year as an adjunct professor teaching a Trial Advocacy course at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Steve attributes his hard work ethic to his grandparents and parents. His father is a physician who, before his alleged retirement, was Director of the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham. He still works one day a week. His official title is Professor Emeritus at the UAB Dept. of Medicine. His mother raised Steve and two siblings. In an entertaining and relevant anecdote of how times have changed, Steve recalls how his mother got her driver's license. She applied in her early thirties. Being extremely nervous when she left for the test drive; the officer drove her back to the starting point and suggested to Dr. Oberman that she might partake of an alcoholic beverage before her next attempt!


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