Firm News

It's All About Puzzles & People

Katherine J. Hornback
Katherine J. Hornback

Katherine J. Hornback says she is drawn to litigation because she enjoys working with people and taking on the challenges of the legal puzzles presented in her cases. She likes the fact that each case is always different with different clients and different legal puzzles.

Hornback is an Associate at Reinhardt & Associates PLC in Lexington. Her practice areas are insurance defense, employment law, personal injury, general civil litigation, federal crop insurance, and administrative law. One hundred percent of her practice is devoted to litigation.
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Wired for Mediation

By Dan Baldwin - Attorney at Law Magazine

Jeff Darling says he is "wired" for mediation for two reasons. "I'm incredibly objective. That's what helps in mediation. When I'm called into a mediation it's because of that. People know that I'm not just a plaintiff's lawyer. I'm not just a defense lawyer. I can pick apart both sides equally. My mind is just wired that way," he says.

Darling feels the reason for his objectivity is his wide range of legal experience.

"I have done everything on both sides. I have defended people charged with serious crimes. I've prosecuted murder cases. I have both prosecuted and defended death penalty cases. In my civil work, I have tried many civil cases, divided fairly equally on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. I understand the difference. On the plaintiff side much of what you do is choreography. You're developing your strategy, deciding what goes where, whereas when you're defending the case, it's a different mindset. There's a different philosophy in putting the case together. I'm equally comfortable doing both," Darling says.

His practice areas are approximately 75 percent civil, divided fairly evenly between plaintiff and defense, and 25 percent criminal defense, almost exclusively in federal court. He has provided mediation services in a number of large cases throughout his career, most of them involving personal injury and medical malpractice. But he has also mediated cases involving property damage and property disputes.

Darling was admitted to the Kentucky State Bar in 1983, from the University of Kentucky, and was subsequently admitted to appear before United States District Courts in the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1995.

Darling is originally from suburban Buffalo, NY, but decided to attend Kentucky's Morehead State University. Darling calls this part of his life his version of the Australian aboriginal trek known as walkabout - an experience that was completely different and completely out of the way of his life at that time.

"I liked Kentucky and after graduating from the Kentucky College of Law in 1983, I decided I wanted to stay in Kentucky and I've been in central Kentucky ever since."

After graduating from law school, Darling worked for three years as a public defender in eastern Kentucky, work that involved a lot of jury trials on short notice, including cases involving shootings, knifings and assaults. As with most public defenders, he had to adapt quickly to handling a high volume of cases and a lot of trials with little preparation or notice.

This type of practice continued when Darling began working for the Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorneys' office as a felony prosecutor. Once again, hundreds of serious felony cases were tried, many on short notice.

He found the work challenging, but also a lot of fun compared to some civic work in which the attorneys become bogged down in minutia, case preparation and detail. "As a public defender or a prosecutor you have to learn to think on your feet and adapt quickly and that's what it teaches you. It instills in you the ability to think on your feet to the point where trials come up now, not only do I not worry about them, I welcome them. I don't worry about cases where someone says, 'We're going to trial in three weeks.' I can say, 'Okay.'"

One of his great joys in his profession is trying cases. "The last thing I want to be doing is sitting at my desk talking on the phone. I like being out and about, whether it's in the courtroom, taking a deposition, interviewing witnesses or whatever. Not only do I not fear it, I get very disappointed when I don't get to do it. I've got this personality mindset of 'Let's try the case.' That is the big plus."

In choosing to be a lawyer, Darling says there was no epiphany; becoming a lawyer is just something he has always wanted to do. He credits much of this early interest the law to his enjoyment of legal dramas on television, such as Perry Mason and Judd for the Defense, and the movie The Paper Chase.

He always had an interest in working in the arena of criminal law. Immediately after graduating law school he became a public defender for three years before becoming a felony prosecutor for four years. He then joined a firm that handled exclusively insurance defense work for three years, after which he founded his own firm with a partner for about 16 years.