Could Your Coffee Money Change Somebody’s World?


I’ve never missed anything I’ve given away. -Otis Scruggs

As I started learning about attorney Amy Lorenz-Moser, I started wondering if the money I spend each year on coffee I can’t pronounce, could change somebody’s world.1

When Lorenz-Moser isn’t busy with complex personal-injury defense, including product liability and toxic tort defense, she has a passion for providing representation for battered women. That’s how she met Carlene Borden and Vicky Williams. In unrelated incidents “both had been convicted of murdering their husbands after suffering many years of physical, sexual, and mental abuse.” “Evidence of the abuse was never presented at their trials.” Each woman had served over 30 years in prison. Lorenz-Moser’s interest in helping battered women started in college and has continued throughout her career.2.

“These two women remained in prison despite a Missouri law enacted in 2007 specifically intended to help cases like theirs. The law states that offenders who had murdered their spouses would be eligible for parole if they had served at least 15 years, had no prior violent felony convictions, had a history of ‘substantial physical abuse or sexual domestic violence’ not presented at trial, and were sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years.”

“The Missouri Board of Probation and Parole denied parole to both women previously on two occasions in spite of the law. Lorenz-Moser filed a Writ of Mandamus” with the court, “arguing the Board improperly delayed its determination and that when it finally issued a ruling, it had applied an incorrect standard and failed to issue a detailed report outlining its reasoning. The court ruled in” favor of her clients, “but the Board refused to release the two women.”

“More determined than ever, Lorenz-Moser persisted with a second Writ and convinced the court to force the Board to revisit the issue of release. This time, arguing that the Board had violated the previous court order, had still not issued proper reports, again applied an improper standard, and improperly considered the women’s offenses, the court found for her clients on every single point.” “Amid a firestorm of controversy,” “the women were released.”

“Borden, 65, and Williams, 55, won their freedom through Lorenz-Moser’s tenacious fight for their release.” In addition to “handling the cases on a pro bono basis, she also paid the litigation expenses out of her own pocket and spent hundreds of hours, many at night and on weekends, in the pursuit of justice for these women.”

When you agree to represent a client pro bono, you expect to invest an undetermined amount of time working for the client without being compensated, but paying the litigation expenses out of your own pocket? That is noble.

I found myself wondering how much the out-of-pocket expenses were for Carlene Borden and Vicky Williams: two-filing fees, evidence of abuse records, and so forth. Best I can figure, it was about what I spend a year on coffee that I can’t pronounce (sometimes I even have to write it down). Here’s the thing. As much as I love the caramel-frap-snap-something-or-other in the moment I am drinking it, the experience quickly fades. In fact, I can remember the experience generally, but I can’t remember any one coffee drinking experience specifically. They just don’t matter to me (or anyone else) anymore.

Lorenz-Moser made the better investment. For the price of coffee, she changed two somebodies’ worlds. An investment they will always remember.

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  1.  ©2015 Brandon L. Blankenship
  2. All quoted material, unless otherwise noted, is taken from
About The Author

Brandon Blankenship

Brandon L. Blankenship is a continuing legal education presenter and business educator. He is the author of Unmasking Hour. He writes weekly posts on the legal industry and is a contributor to the Nobility Academy. He and his wife Donnalee live on their hobby farm south of Birmingham, Alabama.