Kimberley Motley is an international human rights and civil rights attorney from Milwaukee. Motley is the first foreign attorney to practice in Afghanistan since 2008. Motley has been in the news lately for representing the family of Alvin Cole, a teenager killed during a police shooting outside Mayfair Mall. She spoke with Libby Collins in this week’s episode of WTMJ Conversations.
Short transcription provided by eCourt Reporters, Inc.
LIBBY COLLINS: At what point did you start thinking about becoming an attorney?
KIMBERLEY MOTLEY: You know, it’s interesting, because there wasn’t like a thing happened, you know, it just sort of naturally happened. But I do remember when I was in high school, my parents were extremely strict about watching TV. And so, you know, of course, they didn’t let us to watch TV. So, I remember my history teacher was like, you know, assigned us to watch Law & Order that night, so we’d have a discussion the following day at the high school. And I went to Whitefish Bay High School, a 220 student. And I went home and I was like, “My teacher said I have to watch Law & Order.” So, I watched Law & Order and I loved it. And then, literally, for like the next two years, that was part of my excuse, even though it was just that one time. I was like, “My teacher said I have to watch Law & Order.” And they kept allowing me to watch the show, which was really interesting, and I think part of that, I guess, sort of was an indirect installation to why I decided to become a lawyer. But to be honest, I wanted to be a DJ, that really was —
LIBBY COLLINS: Wait a minute.
KIMBERLEY MOTLEY: — I wanted to be like —
LIBBY COLLINS: Hold on. You wanted to be a DJ?
KIMBERLEY MOTLEY: Yes. Yes.
LIBBY COLLINS: I love that.
KIMBERLEY MOTLEY: That’s what I wanted to do. Yeah, and it’s — I mean, because I think I love music and I love being creative. And, to me, you know, I think in a certain way maybe that I’d become that from a legal standpoint. You know, I feel like the best DJs are those that are able to understand the beat of the crowd when you’re going to a club or a party. And I feel like as a lawyer, as a litigator, that’s what my job is, and instead of spinning music, I’m spinning laws. You know, because a successful litigator needs to understand the genre that a court wants to listen to. Some courts like rap, some courts like hip hop some courts like rock. You know, you’re not going to be an affective lawyer unless you understand what laws you need to quote, what different cultural nuances you need to bring into your argument, you know, understanding the arguments that you just need to make and create within your playlist of argument for the court, just like a good DJ. Because a good DJ understands it’s not about the songs that you want to hear, it’s about the songs that you need to play to get them dancing and to make them feel it in their soul. And so, I feel like in a little way that sort of I have become a DJ, but from a legal standpoint.