For more than two decades Troy Gott has been a well known and accomplished Kansas trial attorney, whose professional legacy makes him quite nearly a household name among trial lawyers in the region, certainly in Wichita and central Kansas. Earnest, hard-working and personally committed to his clients and their cases, the 50-year-old Wichita native both benefits from - and must live up to - the Gott name: His grandfather, Henry V. Gott, was a trial and estate lawyer in Wichita dating to the 1920s; and his father, Ronald Gott, built a Wichita practice well known in trial and product defense work. "You ask me about mentors," says Troy Gott today, "well, you could say I've had them since I was born." (Another mentor: his brother-in-law, Mark A. Biberstein, the well known Wichita attorney who passed away at age 46 in February 2013.)
Today Gott is a good example of the Kansas plaintiffs' lawyer, standing up for and defending clients' interests in a largely hostile legal environment: Kansas was one of the first states to impose caps on jury awards in civil claims cases such as medical malpractice and accident negligence. Personal injury attorneys such as Gott, while an aggressive courtroom lawyer, have been capable of forging creative solutions to settlements their entire career. Gott recalls heading over to his father's office and fetching pop from the office refrigerator - "As an 8-year-old you're thinking, 'Cold soda at 9am? This is a great profession.'" In fact, the young Gott charted his own course for many years - "No one ever pressured me into my profession," he says. The youngest of three, he grew up in the Benjamin Hills neighborhood of West Wichita. His parents, longtime progressives, supported a controversial school desegregation plan that forced young Troy to be bussed out of the neighborhood; "I didn't understand or appreciate the meaning of all of it," says Gott today. "But they said, 'You have to work and make sacrifices to make society a better place.' I didn't know it, but it was a courageous stand at the time." It was a lesson Gott has carried with him throughout his life. Later Gott played offensive and defensive guard for a Wichita North High School team that went 5-4 his senior year; "It's wasn't about wins and losses - it was one of those experiences that taught you should never, ever give up." He went on to Western State College in Gunneson, Colorado, with the intention of playing football but "my knees couldn't take much more"; thus he returned and graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in political science. Gott went straight to law school at Washburn University, where he excelled and as a Law Review associate editor, co-authored an award-winning article, including a review of an opinion by then-appellate court Judge Robert Bork. "Law school is drudgery for some people - but not for me. It was all great. The law is magnificent to read. I've felt that way my whole career." Notably, though, and perhaps wisely, Gott did not join his father; instead he was hired by an insurance defense firm, gaining early trial experience. But "I grew disillusioned - we'd win cases, and I'd feel sympathy for those on the other side with legitimate claims."
By 1993 and barely 30, Gott teamed with some of Wichita's best known and respected plaintiff's lawyers, including Arden Bradshaw and Gerald Michaud. "You learn professional values from the people you work with - I certainly did." Gott, too, worked on complex personal-injury cases; he has collaborated with the Minneapolis firm of Meshbesher & Spence, and with other respected attorneys. Gott's late father, Ron, had long been an influence, but Gott chose to remain on the plaintiffs' side, and built a strong record of verdicts and settlements for his clients. For several years he partnered with two personal injury lawyers, until Gott decided "all the heavy advertising really wasn't what being a lawyer was about for me. It just didn't fit." He then established his own practice, with his father, now retired, still a great influence. The practice - mostly representing victims of malpractice, trucking accidents and other negligence claims -- grew by referrals from previous clients and from other attorneys. Recently, Gott teamed up with John Brennan, the owner of Brennan Law Group, and formed the firm of Brennan Gott Law.
The firm continues to focus on the same areas of practice: personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice and social security disability with offices in Wichita, Kansas. Naturally, Gott puts special pride in his family and the role they play - directly and indirectly - in his work. "It's hard for me to understand how lawyers who aren't committed to family can represent victims in crisis. That spirit of family - it should go hand in hand with our work." Away from the office "I like to do anything my family is doing." Gott and his wife, Sara Biberstein Gott, today have three sons, Henry, Jonathan and David.