WICHITA, Kan. – Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered – one of Kansas’ leading law practices for criminal defense and criminal appeals – celebrates its 30th anniversary Dec. 11. Over the decades, the firm has gained a national reputation through its successful defense of multiple high-profile clients, including abortion provider Dr. George Tiller; a former Kansas high school football coach accused of sexual solicitation, and a former Kansas chief of police accused of sexual offenses. This past summer, after a scientifically complex three-week jury trial in Dodge City, Kan., the firm obtained “not guilty” verdicts on all counts for a young man wrongly-accused of murdering a child by cruelly beating or shaking her.
Defense attorney Dan Monnat and legal scholar Stan Spurrier founded Monnat & Spurrier in 1985. Monnat and Spurrier, who were childhood friends and high school rock’n’roll band mates, have a partnership that perfectly pairs Monnat’s eloquence and finesse in the courtroom with Spurrier’s unparalleled legal research and writing.
Spurrier graduated second in his class from Washburn University Law School, while clerking for several Shawnee County District Court Judges. Monnat, who earned an honor’s bachelor’s degree in English from California State University-San Francisco and a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law, worked for firms in Kansas and Nebraska before collaborating with Spurrier to build a firm the way they believed it should be run.
“In law school, we’re trained to do research. But in actual practice, litigators don’t have time to do research because we’re always in the courtroom,” Monnat said. “It seemed to me that for every lawyer in the courtroom, there needed to be an equally outstanding lawyer doing research and writing compelling briefs.
“As is often the case with brilliant scholars, Stan is an introvert,” Monnat continued. “I’m the extrovert. Together, we made one solid legal team that brought the best arguments to the judge and jury.”
That teamwork has led to numerous successes, including cutting-edge decisions of the appellate courts and one half-million-dollar white-collar-fraud jury trial where the judge found the defendant “not guilty” at the end of the prosecutor’s opening statement, based on Monnat’s motion and Spurrier’s research.
In addition to its success in the courtroom, the firm has become known nationwide for ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Kung Fu Strategies for the Courtroom,’ a continuing legal education seminar presented by Monnat and his wife, internationally acclaimed Chinese martial artist and Monnat & Spurrier Office Manager Grace Wu-Monnat. The hour-long seminar teaches lawyers the art of jury trial strategy, based in part on Wu-Monnat’s marital arts wisdom and in part on Sun Tzu’s ancient treatise, ‘The Art of War’.
In addition to Dan Monnat and Stan Spurrier, the firm includes two former prosecutors and two former public defenders, all noted for their extraordinary work in the criminal courts: Trevor Riddle, Sal Intagliata, Robb Hunter and, starting in January, legal research and writing specialist Kathryn Stevenson.
“For three decades, Stan and I have deliberately chosen to keep this a small, focused firm, so we could practice the golden rule of professionalism: Give the clients we are privileged to represent the same exceptional thought, action, courage and care we would want for our own families and loved ones if they were ever accused.
“Our firm has been privileged to do that every day for the past 30 years, and we intend to keep doing that every day for many years to come.”