A Passion for Community Service

The family law attorneys at Ward Potter LLC, share a passion for community service. Each attorney spends time outside of the office serving individuals and organizations in and around the Wichita community. Previous community service projects include leading a mentorship project with Hamilton Middle School. In 2012, Ward Potter (previously Ward Law Offices, LLC), was honored with the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education Good Apple Award for excellence in service to students. In addition to their collective community service work, each attorney at Ward Potter serves in various ways individually in Wichita and across Kansas.
Below is a sampling of some of the organizations our attorneys and staff work with to improve our community and help the people in our community in need of not only legal services but help in other areas of life.

Junior League of Wichita

Lynn Ward is not only the Managing Partner of Ward Potter LLC. She is a Past President of the Junior League of Wichita. Lynn and the staff of Ward Potter were pleased to support the Junior League of Wichita in their fight against child abuse by supporting the Junior League of Wichita’s 16th Annual Holiday Galleria, a shopping experience for the whole family October 3-6, 2019 at Century II in downtown Wichita.

The 3rd Annual Show Pride in Your Ride Car Show was an unforgettable evening! With the support of our guests and donors we raised over $2400 for OK Elementary School and Black Traditional Elementary! Special thanks to the following businesses who donated wonderful items for the raffle or provided support of our event: Hereford House, Plastic Surgery Center, Hall’s Culligan, South Central Kansas Mustang Club, Joe’s Car Wash, USD 259, Big Tool Store, and Janet Evans.

On Friday, March 29th Ward Potter LLC and the Wichita Thunder joined forces to support the Guadalupe Clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.

The 2018 Show Pride in Your Ride event was held on Friday, September 7. All proceeds from the 2018 event benefited Pando. The Pando Initiative has been successfully connecting with more than 200,000 students in area schools since 1990. Their core model focuses on individual students who are struggling with school and life. They position a dedicated staff member inside partner schools in Wichita, Derby and Haysville public schools.

On September 15, 2017 Ward Law Offices hosted the first annual Show Pride In Your Ride car show. Show Pride In Your Ride was an informal, non-judged car show for friends, neighbors and colleagues of Ward Law Offices, LLC. During the event, Ward Law partnered with officials from United Methodist Open Door who held a raffle. Car Show attendees were able to purchase tickets for a chance to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. All proceeds from the evening’s raffle benefited Open Door. The focus of Open Door is to meet the basic needs of people in poverty. Their Homeless Resource Center, at 402 E. 2nd Street, is a daytime assistance center for the homeless, where individuals receive case management, a daily meal, access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and mail service.

Passion Projects – Two Lives at a Time & The Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team

Lynn Ward, Board of Directors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Stephen Blaylock, fellow of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers present a check to Laura Roddy, President of Junior League of Wichita; and Jessica Williams, Junior League of Wichita grant writing  chair. Ward was presenting to Roddy a check for $5000 from the AAML Foundation for the JLW Two Lives at a Time project. The Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Children’s Home will help teen moms develop crucial life skills, including how to build healthy relationships and effective parenting practices.

Lights, Camera, Trial!


Sometimes lawyers tell clients to “forget what you may have seen in the movies; your trial will be nothing like that”. Maybe, but there will be a courtroom, a Judge, an opposing attorney, witnesses, exhibits, etc., just like the movies. True, a Joe Pesci-esque character will not likely come into court with a leather coat and a Brooklyn accent, but that is not to say trial lawyers are like “normal” people. We aren’t.

A trial is a combination of procedure and performance, both of which are equally important. However, if the procedure was followed, and your case is prepared properly, the performance can make a difference. A trial is not a show, but trial lawyers know in the end we must convince a Judge our argument is correct. Evidence and procedure are helpful, but presentation matters.

Boiled down, a trial is opening statements, presentation of testimony and exhibits (evidence), objections, and closing statements. There could be other issues like motions to do this or that, but usually trials follow a pattern. So, what do these terms mean?

Opening Statement: An opening statement is not an argument. The opening is meant to give the Judge an idea of what the issues are, what the evidence will be, and what you are asking the Judge to do. Each attorney has their own style for opening statements. Mine is simple:

    • Always given an opening statement;
    • Keep it short and to the point (5-10 minutes); and
    • Don’t argue.

Usually a trial happens after months of preparation. The parties know the issues, the Judge knows the issues, and they just want to GET ON WITH IT. However, it is a mistake to waive an opening argument, even if it seems like a “simple” case. A trial is not a time to assume anything. Even if the same Judge heard all the motions and had the parties in the courtroom dozens of times before trial, assuming the Judge knows the case is an error. Expect your attorney to take a few minutes to frame the case and let everyone know what to expect.

Direct Examination: Direct examination is the first time the witness is questioned and tells what they know about the case. During direct examination the witness should give the Judge background information that supports their proposal and tells the Judge the story of the case. The Judge does not want to hear from the lawyer, the Judge wants to hear from the witness. If you are called as a witness (and you will) be prepared to give more than just “yes” or “no” answers. The questions should be open-ended (What, Why, Who, etc.), and answers should be given to help the Judge understand why the issues are important.

Cross Examination: Cross examination is what you usually see in movies, with lawyers shouting at witnesses and giving lectures. That is not how it is supposed to happen, and usually it does not. That said, we lawyers love to hear ourselves talk, and we’ve seen the same movies you’ve seen. Cross examination is the chance for the lawyer to get the witness to say things they do not want to say by using leading questions. Again, each lawyer has their own style, but I find that haranguing a witness is not effective, especially if the witness cries. While that might sound satisfying, it can make the lawyer look like a bully and create sympathy for the witness. The better technique is to methodically go through the testimony and evidence, get the witness to admit they were wrong (or better yet lying – that is the best), and show the Judge they are not credible. Usually it is not that clear, but cross examination is the best way to keep witnesses honest about the facts.

Re-Direct/Re-Cross: After the direct examination and cross examination lawyers have a chance to ask additional questions if needed. Re-direct or re-cross questions are not required, but they are common, especially if the cross examination was damaging to the case and the witness needs rehabilitated.

Objections: Objections happen when a lawyer thinks a question or exhibit should not be used as evidence. If you are testifying and a lawyer objects, stop talking. The Judge will rule on the objection and then tell the witness how to proceed.

Admission of Exhibits: Exhibits are usually copies of records, photographs, emails/texts, reports, and sometimes recordings. But just bringing them to Court is not enough. Exhibits must be relevant to the case, authentic, and testified to by a witness. Sometimes exhibits are stipulated into evidence beforehand to save time at trial, but contested exhibits will require foundation, or the background letting the Judge know the exhibit should be admitted and considered as evidence. Foundation comes from witness testimony, and it can be tricky if the witness (or the lawyer) is not prepared. Beware: exhibits for a trial can be hundreds, if not thousands, of pages. You should review them all carefully before trial. The likelihood you will be asked about an exhibit is very high. If you have not reviewed all the exhibits before the time of trial it could be damaging to your case.

Closing Statement: This actually is argument. This is the time the lawyer tells the Judge what the evidence shows, how the evidence supports your case, and why you should prevail. Closings are longer because the lawyer can now argue the client’s position. Again, differences in styles are abundant, but I find that a calm and collected argument, referring to all the evidence, positive and negative, is the best option. An older lawyer once told me something I will never forget: the only reason for a lawyer to be dramatic in court is if they do not have a good case.

A trial is not a fight, or a time for hysterics. Emotions will be high, and lawyers cannot help but be a little dramatic. But too much drama detracts from the message. Rather, a trial should be a well-organized presentation of the evidence demonstrating why your position on the issues is correct. Not a robotic recitation, but not so much drama the message is lost.

After all, this is not a movie.


Tony A. Potter is a Member of Ward Potter LLC, where he uses his experiences in general civil, trial, and appellate practice to represent clients. Tony received his Juris Doctorate from Washburn School of Law in 1994 and has been continually licensed to practice law in Kansas since 1995. Tony is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the Wichita Bar Association, the Northwest Kansas Bar Association, and Chair of the Wichita Bar Association Family Law Committee. His commitment to his clients was also recognized in 2018 when he was acknowledged as a “AV” attorney, peer rated for high professional achievement by Martindale-Hubbell, and he enjoys a 10.0 rating from the Avvo attorney website. Contact Tony

Ward Potter LLC is a family law firm located in Wichita, Kansas. Ward Potter handles divorce, child custody, parenting time, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, visitation by grandparents, and paternity cases. The firm also provides litigation alternatives such as collaborative family law, mediation and arbitration. The mission of Ward Potter LLC is to guide clients through changes in their families with empathy, excellence and expertise. We strive to calm chaos and focus on the resolution, not the battle.

345 N. Riverview Ste 120 | Wichita, KS 67203
©2020 Ward Potter LLC
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A Passion for Community Service

The family law attorneys at Ward Potter LLC, share a passion for community service. Each attorney spends time outside of the office serving individuals and organizations in and around the Wichita community. Previous community service projects include leading a mentorship project with Hamilton Middle School. In 2012, Ward Potter (previously Ward Law Offices, LLC), was honored with the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education Good Apple Award for excellence in service to students. In addition to their collective community service work, each attorney at Ward Potter serves in various ways individually in Wichita and across Kansas.
Below is a sampling of some of the organizations our attorneys and staff work with to improve our community and help the people in our community in need of not only legal services but help in other areas of life.

Junior League of Wichita

Lynn Ward is not only the Managing Partner of Ward Potter LLC. She is a Past President of the Junior League of Wichita. Lynn and the staff of Ward Potter were pleased to support the Junior League of Wichita in their fight against child abuse by supporting the Junior League of Wichita’s 16th Annual Holiday Galleria, a shopping experience for the whole family October 3-6, 2019 at Century II in downtown Wichita.

The 3rd Annual Show Pride in Your Ride Car Show was an unforgettable evening! With the support of our guests and donors we raised over $2400 for OK Elementary School and Black Traditional Elementary! Special thanks to the following businesses who donated wonderful items for the raffle or provided support of our event: Hereford House, Plastic Surgery Center, Hall’s Culligan, South Central Kansas Mustang Club, Joe’s Car Wash, USD 259, Big Tool Store, and Janet Evans.

On Friday, March 29th Ward Potter LLC and the Wichita Thunder joined forces to support the Guadalupe Clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.

The 2018 Show Pride in Your Ride event was held on Friday, September 7. All proceeds from the 2018 event benefited Pando. The Pando Initiative has been successfully connecting with more than 200,000 students in area schools since 1990. Their core model focuses on individual students who are struggling with school and life. They position a dedicated staff member inside partner schools in Wichita, Derby and Haysville public schools.

On September 15, 2017 Ward Law Offices hosted the first annual Show Pride In Your Ride car show. Show Pride In Your Ride was an informal, non-judged car show for friends, neighbors and colleagues of Ward Law Offices, LLC. During the event, Ward Law partnered with officials from United Methodist Open Door who held a raffle. Car Show attendees were able to purchase tickets for a chance to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. All proceeds from the evening’s raffle benefited Open Door. The focus of Open Door is to meet the basic needs of people in poverty. Their Homeless Resource Center, at 402 E. 2nd Street, is a daytime assistance center for the homeless, where individuals receive case management, a daily meal, access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and mail service.

Passion Projects – Two Lives at a Time & The Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team

Lynn Ward, Board of Directors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Stephen Blaylock, fellow of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers present a check to Laura Roddy, President of Junior League of Wichita; and Jessica Williams, Junior League of Wichita grant writing  chair. Ward was presenting to Roddy a check for $5000 from the AAML Foundation for the JLW Two Lives at a Time project. The Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Children’s Home will help teen moms develop crucial life skills, including how to build healthy relationships and effective parenting practices.

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