Kathleen Zellner born May 7 is an American attorney who has worked extensively in wrongful conviction advocacy. Notable clients Zellner has represented include Steven Avery (who was the subject of the 2015 and 2018 Netflix series Making a Murderer), Kevin Fox (who was falsely accused of murdering his daughter), and 19 exonerees who are listed in the National Registry of Exonerations.
Kathleen T. Zellner
|Known for||Wrongful conviction advocacy and civil litigation verdicts|
|Home town||Bartlesville, Oklahoma|
Early and personal lifeEdit
Kathleen Zellner was born in Midland, Texas, the second-oldest of seven children. Her father Owen Thomas was a geologist, and her mother Winifred was a chemist who became a nurse. When she was nine years old, she and her family moved to small-town Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Her siblings are psychologists and lawyers.
She attended Marquette University in Wisconsin, and then the University of Missouri, before graduating with a B.A. from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She received her J.D. degree from the Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1981, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, and clerked for 2nd District Illinois Appellate Court justice George W. Lindberg.
She opened her firm, Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates in Downers Grove, Illinois, in 1991. Her firm handles wrongful conviction cases, civil rights violations, medical malpractice, and prisoner abuse cases. Zellner had achieved 19 exonerations as of October 2018, and now 20 exonerations for clients.
Notable clients Zellner has represented include Steven Avery (who was the subject of the 2015 and 2018 Netflix series Making a Murderer), Kevin Fox (who was falsely accused of murdering his three-year-old daughter), and 19 exonerees who are listed in the National Registry of Exonerations. Newsweek reported that a lawyer said that facing her at trial was "worse than my divorce."
As of March 2016 she had won almost $90 million from wrongful conviction and medical malpractice lawsuits. In 2000, The National Law Journal named Zellner a top ten trial lawyer in the United States for a suicide malpractice verdict of $13 million. She also won a $15.5 million verdict for the violation of Kevin Fox's civil rights in 2007, an $11 million verdict for Ryan W. Ferguson in Missouri who had served 10 years in jail, and a $9 million civil rights verdict for Ray Spencer in Washington in 2014. In 2012, she won the American Bar Association "Pursuit of Justice" Award.
|2015||Dream/Killer||Herself (Ryan Ferguson's attorney)||Andrew Jenks|
|2018||Making a Murderer||Herself (Steven Avery's post-conviction attorney)||season 2, 10 episodes|
|2017||I, Witness||Herself||season 1, episode 3|
|2016||Dateline NBC||Herself (Ryan Ferguson's attorney)||season 24, episode 22|
|2014-2016||20/20||Herself (Attorney)||2 episodes|
|2013-2014||48 Hours||Herself (Ryan Ferguson's attorney)||season 26, episode 19|
- "Hotshot Lawyer; Meet Making a Murder's Kathleen Zellner," The Daily Telegraph, November 13, 2018.
- Minutaglio, Rose (October 31, 2018). "Who Is Steven Avery's Attorney Kathleen Zellner?". Esquire. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Chris Harvey (November 18, 2018). "'If you're rich, you can get away with murder' - Making a Murderer lawyer Kathleen Zellner," Independent.
- Julie-Anne Barnes (November 25, 2018). "Making a Murderer lawyer Kathleen Zellner reveals incredible links to Scotland," Daily Record.
- McGreal, Chris (October 28, 2018). "Kathleen Zellner: the Making a Murderer lawyer you want on your side". The Guardian. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "Attorney keeps winning freedom for wrongfully convicted; Millionaire medical malpractice lawyer has time, money to defend clients". nwitimes.com. December 9, 2001. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
- Alex Rodriguez (December 9, 2001). "Lawyer in Roscetti case offers forgotten a lifeline," Chicago Tribune.
- Stephanie Francis Cahill (March 2002). "Attorney for the Damned". ABA Journal. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
- Saul, Josh (March 29, 2016). "Steve Avery's New Attorney Is Going Hard After the Cops She Says Framed Him". Newsweek. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "Kathleen T. Zellner," Martindale.
- Tracy Swartz (October 18, 2018). "5 things about Chicago-area lawyer Kathleen Zellner as she makes her 'Making a Murderer' debut", Chicago Tribune.
- John Flynn Rooney (April 22, 2014). "Zellner a champion of exonerations". Chicago Law Bulletin. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Emma Ledger. "Why Making a Murderer’s Kathleen Zellner is going to be your next TV obsession," Stylist.
- "Browse the National Registry of Exonerations". Law.umich.edu.
- "Top Rated Downers Grove, IL Civil Rights Attorney | Kathleen Zellner | Super Lawyers". Profiles.superlawyers.com. Retrieved March 14, 2020.