Do you suspect that your partner is cheating? Fear not, the Cutlers are here to help! In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to Dana and Keith Cutler, stars of the new TV show “Couples Court with the Cutlers.” During their discussion with Jared, the attorney power couple answers common questions asked by suspicious partners, like whether it is legal to snoop through a loved one’s phone or track them via GPS. They also talk about data protection laws and how they are affected by modern day social interaction. Stay tuned to hear the Cutler’s beliefs about where to get the best BBQ in Kansas.
Dana Cutler and Keith Cutler run the law firm, W. Tippin & Associates in Missouri. The two have been married for 27 years and are taking the bench together in a new syndicated daytime court television show, Couples Court with the Cutlers.
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The Legal Toolkit
Redefining Couples Court with Dana and Keith Cutler
Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm, with your host Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Jared Correia: Welcome to an extra-special episode of the Legal Toolkit, here on the Legal Talk Network. If you are looking for a Game of Thrones podcast, may I recommend Cast of Thrones featuring Tim Laning. Yes, that Tim Laning.
If you’re a returning listener, welcome back. If you’re a first-time listener, hopefully you’ll become a longtime listener and if you’re Gordon Hayward, you made the right call and now Utah hates me. As always I’m your host Jared Correia and in addition to casting this pod, I’m the founder and CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management, consulting, and technology services for law firms.
Check us out at redcavelegal.com to learn more. You can buy my book ‘Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers’ from the American Bar Association on iTunes, and Amazon, and probably at The Rabbit Hole in Kansas City Missouri. You may also give a plug to Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, the finest barbecue in America and I’ll let our guest debate that if they have issue with my selection.
So here on the Legal Toolkit, we provide you each month with a new tool to add to your own legal toolkit so that your practices will become more and more like best practices. In this episode, we’re going to talk about a new daytime television show Couples Court With the Cutlers. This is going to be some new and exciting for me and I’m really looking forward to it.
But before I introduce today’s guests, let’s take some time to thank our sponsors.
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Now on to the show and our guest. Today I’ve invited Dana and Keith Cutler on to the podcast. They are the co-judges of the Couples Court. Welcome to the show Dana and Keith.
Dana Cutler: Thank you.
Keith Cutler: Thank you. Thank you for having us.
Jared Correia: Yeah this should be fun. So it’s name first, is that right Keith, that’s how I should do this.
Keith Cutler: I’m good with that.
Dana Cutler: And I’m glad he’s good with it.
Jared Correia: All right it’s going to be Dana and Keith. All right but before we get started and talking about your new show, tell me a little bit about your backgrounds?
Dana Cutler: Well we have been married 28 years. We’ve been a couple for 35 years, we met freshman year of college and have been together ever since, went to law school together, we have three adult sons 26, 23, and 19 and we practice law together and have practiced law our entire careers together. I do education law working with charter schools and Keith is a civil defense litigation attorney.
Jared Correia: Oh interesting. You both have different niches.
Dana Cutler: And so — yeah so, that’s us in the big capsule. With the show, I’m going to let him tell you about the show.
Jared Correia: Yeah Keith, let me know how the show — let me know all about the show, Couples Court. Hit me.
Keith Cutler: All right. Well, Couples Court with the Cutlers, it’s a daytime television courtroom show and it features couples who are having conflicts or complications, or disagreements in their relationship. I mean usually, one partner is accusing the other partner of cheating or being dishonest and the other partner is there to prove their innocence. And so it’s a courtroom setting. Dana and I are the judges in the courtroom. We’re the first married couple to preside over a television courtroom.
And as we try to uncover the truth and get to the bottom of whatever is, the issue between the couples, we use a wide variety of evidence such as lie-detector tests and cellphone forensics, GPS tracking, private investigators, decoys, the whole nine yards.
Jared Correia: Oh wow.
Keith Cutler: And so as the couples who are trying to convince us of their version of events, Dana and I are the judges and we try to just get to the bottom of the matter.
Jared Correia: So this is cool. So you have a courtroom setting but you’ve also got heavy reliance on technology, which I think is pretty interesting these days.
Dana Cutler: Yeah.
Keith Cutler: Yes.
Jared Correia: And you can tell these couples, right? I mean you have seen each other pretty much every minute of the day for the last 28 years and you guys are still doing great. So can we talk about that?
Dana Cutler: Yeah. We tell people that that is pretty unusual and actually we very interestingly have very different practices. So at the end of the day I still have to say to him what did you do today because I am doing my thing with my clients, he is doing his thing with his clients, so we literally had not seen each other every minute of every day. I don’t think we — as much as I love him I looked either one of us could stand that.
Jared Correia: So let me ask you this, your practices don’t focus on family law, it doesn’t sound like really in any way, how did you get involved with a show like this?
Dana Cutler: It was crazy. It was about a year ago we got a call from a talent agency here locally in Kansas City and they said this show was being considered and they were looking for husband and wife lawyers and we said the same thing we don’t do couples family law, we have never been on television and they’re like, your name keeps coming up would you like to try it?
I first thought we were being punked by some friends and I must have asked a girl about five different ways that she knows this friend of ours. She was like I don’t you weirdo stop it. And ultimately it was for real and we interviewed by phone, by Skype and they kept calling us back and we kept thinking what’s wrong with these people and the rest is history, here we are. So literally picked out of the Midwest into a whole new life.
Jared Correia: That’s really funny, so you had no inclination, you did not necessarily have any desire to do this, you just got plucked, that’s interesting.
Keith Cutler: Yeah I mean it wasn’t our radar whatsoever.
Jared Correia: Wow! So did you did you think it was interesting in the sense that it was different from your existing practice areas? Is that one of the reasons why you wanted to try it?
Keith Cutler: Well I think that was part of it and what we found is even though it’s not necessarily in an area that we practice as we listen to the couples on Couples Court and we listen to what their problems are, their life problems and their things that with Dana and I haven’t been together, married 28 and another seven before that dating, so a total of 35 years I mean the experiences that we have enjoyed living together, raising the family together, practicing law together, just enjoying life together, we are able to use that to really help the couples figure out okay what’s going on, what’s your root problem, how can you move past this.
And so there are some legal issues that come up and I think our general legal training is more than sufficient for us to be able to handle those issues, but in terms of the couple aspect of it, the love part of it, I mean we just draw on our life experiences.
Jared Correia: So I got to ask you and I do want to get to the legal stuff in a second here, what if there’s a tie? What if Dana wants to go one way and you go the other? Do you thumb wrestle?
Keith Cutler: Well I try to use all of my legal persuasion skills to convince her that I am right.
Dana Cutler: And if he doesn’t and the reality is if he can’t convince me legally he winks at me and he knows that gets me every time, so – so I am such an easy mark.
Jared Correia: So the tiebreaker is the tiebreaker is Keith winking, I will watch for that in the show.
Now before we get to a break, I want people to know so they can watch when and where can they watch the show, “Couples Court with the Cutlers?”
Keith Cutler: The show will be airing all over the country and we premiere beginning September 18th and viewers can check their local TV listings for the channel and time in their area or they can visit our website at couplescourttv.com.
Jared Correia: Okay everybody here that couplescourttv.com, and I will let you say that a couple times throughout the show as well. This has been fun to start with but we are going to take a quick break.
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Now on to the show and our guests.
Thanks so much for coming back, how do you feel, rested? Let’s get restarted here with Dana and Keith Cutler who are here to talk about their new show “Couples Court with the Cutlers”.
Alright in our last segment we were talking a little bit about the structure of the show and one thing that’s clear is we’re going to be talking about the legal significance of technology applications. So let’s address some of that. So snooping on one significant other how does that happen, why, how often, etcetera, let’s start with probably a common issue. If you know your partner’s smartphone password, is it legal to view their text messages?
Dana Cutler: Yes if you — well it depends on how you got it. If they voluntarily provided that password then yes they’ve opened the door. If you have surreptitiously received it, looked over their shoulder while they were typing it in or something like that probably not but one other factor which you could consider is who owns the phone and who pays the bill.
If you own your partner or your spouse’s phone, you pay the bill, you bought the phone, you can — you have access to it because of that ownership piece to it and the reality is like they could go to their phone provider and get access to your phone. They could go and say we’d like to get the text messages I could go and say I’d like to know a log of calls that have been made over these periods.
So those two pieces did you get it voluntarily or do you own the phone or the services providing — being provided for the phone, those would factor into whether or not it’s legal for you to do so.
Keith Cutler: And Jared I can tell you a number of the couples that we see on Couples Court they exchange passwords in the beginning of their relationship and then as one partner starts to drift astray, either he or she forgets that they gave the other partner their password or they change it but the other partner somehow finds out about it.
And so we have a number of the cases that we hear where yes the other partner has gotten the password because it was given to them. And the question is okay are you using it in the manner that you should be using it or are you going beyond the permission that was given you.
Jared Correia: Oh that’s interesting and I would guess within most couples’ relationships one person pays for the phone bill and the phones right?
Dana Cutler: Usually or they have separate phones. I mean if you’re going to be a cheater, you probably should not let your significant other buy your phone or pay for your phone, that’s kind of like cheater 101.
Jared Correia: That’s a premeditated cheating.
Dana Cutler: If you’re going to do it, do it right.
Jared Correia: Get a burner phone if are you going to cheat.
Dana Cutler: Yeah.
Jared Correia: All right I like that. And you were about to give me a real answer and then you said it depends at the outset and that’s how I knew you are a lawyer.
Dana Cutler: Thank you, question mark!
Jared Correia: No, exclamation!
Dana Cutler I appreciate that.
Jared Correia: All right, let’s talk about another piece of this. Is it kosher for someone to use a GPS tracker to follow our partners suspected of cheating and I feel like this has general applicability because that stuff happens all the time while breaking bad, so I kind of –
Keith Cutler: Yeah it seems like everybody has GPS on their phones or on their tablets and everything else. It depends on a couple of factors and there’s that lawerly answer it depends again but it depends on if you are trying to track your partner’s car, for example, it depends on who owns the car, whether you have permission to put a tracking device on it, and whether the driver is in a place where there’s an expectation of privacy.
But the thing that the viewers really have to be careful of is that many states now have anti-stalking laws and so whereas you think well I’m just putting a GPS on my partner’s car, I just want to know where they’re going, you can run afoul of actual anti-stalking laws. And so you have to be careful of that. It’s just an example and in New York, there is something called Jackies Law, and in New York you cannot use a GPS tracker to track someone if they’ve made it known that they don’t want to be tracked or followed.
And so, you know, anybody who’s thinking about using a GPS to track their significant other they need to check with their local laws and the state laws to make sure they aren’t violating any anti-stalking laws.
Dana Cutler: But of course, you also have all the GPS factors on cell phones and, you know, through your Google apps and through Facebook and so if you are someone’s friend, if your partner is your friend and they can at least get an idea of where you are it may not be a pinpoint at this particular spot, but they can tell within a few blocks where you are and that would not be like putting a device on somebody’s car that would be I’m your friend therefore I can keep up with you.
So again all of those pieces are out there and people are using them and we sit regularly on Couples Court where the partners forgotten that I’m your friend and I’m tracking you that way.
Jared Correia: Oh absolutely and that’s why I was just going say as well just like segue, like this dovetails with the last question nobody’s turning off their location devices on their smartphones so they’re just on and if you don’t protect your smart phone in the first place your partner can just pick it up and see where you’ve been anyway. All right this is good.
All right, I got another question for you. So this has been a big learning experience for me, right? So I’ve been told that there are human beings named Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna, so this is next to me, I watched —
Dana Cutler: What?
Jared Correia: Yes. I watch History Channel a lot. My wife told me this is true. So apparently these people are in a relationship and it’s not going so well. Nude videos are involved, nude videos that I have not seen by the way. So in any event as a legal side of this, if you’re super mad at your girlfriend could you post naked pictures of her?
Keith Cutler: The answer is generally going to be no. The majority of states have revenge porn laws. They actually don’t call them that but that’s essentially what it is. They are laws that prohibit you from publicizing or posting or disseminating intimate pictures where the person probably doesn’t want you to publicize those pictures and so in most of the states you’re going to have a problem with that.
Dana Cutler: So in fact there’s 38 states plus the District of Columbia have what they call revenge porn laws. I was surprised that New York does not have one of these. They tend to be on the cutting edge, but you’ve got California and by golly Kansas has one but not New York.
So and in California it’s considered a misdemeanor and most of the states treat it as a misdemeanor, but, you know, the problem with the revenge porn laws is that you see people in family court it’s a big issue of hey, I’ve got this video of my spouse doing whatever and they want to bring that in the court to show that this person is somehow suspect. The only problem is if it’s you in the picture with them I think it makes you both suspect — both suspect but that’s probably another conversation for another day.
Keith Cutler: Yeah. You asked whether it was legal, but there’s also kind of the moral side to it and, you know, as we talk to the couples in Couples Court we tell them look when you’re arguing, when you are at odds with each other never say anything that you can’t take back, because that cuts very deep and so when you post pictures like that once they’re out there they’re out there forever you can’t take those back and you’ve harmed the person in perpetuity. So that’s more of the danger than the legal side of it is just a moral side of it if — you just don’t want that out there.
Jared Correia: Oh absolutely! The Internet is forever.
Dana Cutler: Well that we tell people it is forever, even if you delete them from your wherever you put them you don’t know whose screen snap, you know, screenshot it or copied it and it shows up forever and ever and ever. So, yeah, that’s one of those things don’t go digital.
Jared Correia: Yeah and somebody’s servers somewhere. Alright, so let’s broaden this topic a little bit and you addressed some national laws just now. So in terms of the data protection laws that a lot of states have now, I think actually every state probably at this point has a data protection law has that changed the way that couples interact both publicly and privately at least as you’ve seen in Couples Court?
Keith Cutler: You know, actually from what we’ve seen in a Couples Court I don’t think that the laws have changed the way people interact. I think the way people interact have kind of changed the laws.
As you know the law is always behind technology. Technology changes and moves so fast that the law can’t keep up. And so I don’t think the way people interact have changed, I mean people are putting their information out there. It’s surprising to me what people will post online, what they will put in chat rooms and on social media, and the law is just trying to keep up with that.
So the more people put out there the more walls that people bring down in terms of their privacy, the law just tries to keep up to protect people from themselves.
Jared Correia: That’s very good point. Okay, so we’re going to take another break here. This will give you an opportunity to look up suggestive images of me online, best of luck.
So in the meantime, listen to some information from our sponsors.
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Jared Correia: Hey, you made it back. How are your macaroons? We are still talking to Dana and Keith Cutler, the co-judges of ‘Couples Court with the Cutlers’, coming to a television screen near you starting on September 18th.
All right, Dana, Keith, let me ask you this. Is it crazier practicing law in a real life family law firm or hosting a television show where couples fight about who is worse?
Dana Cutler: Whoa, it depends on what day you talk to me. Life is stranger than anything we can conjure up fictionally, and sometimes things that happen in our practice or dealing with the schools that I represent, some of the stuff that happens in the schools I’m like, are you kidding me, and then somebody will show up on Couples Court and say something I’m like what. So it just — it depends on what day you talk to me, which one is crazier, but each provide their own highlights that’s for sure.
Jared Correia: So you live a life of Perpetual shock. Go ahead Keith.
Dana Cutler: Yeah exactly.
Keith Cutler: Yeah, from my standpoint I think what we see on Couples Court I won’t call it crazier, I will say the emotions run a lot higher on Couples Court than we see in real life only because when we’re representing our clients in court we’re there to kind of help them keep their emotions down. The couples who appear before us in Couples Court they are there, they don’t have attorneys and so their emotions are there, they are on the surface, they are raw and they come out.
And you’re talking about something that’s very personal to people, trust, fidelity those kinds of things and so the emotions rise very quickly. And so we try to keep it in check as the judges but the emotions are there.
Jared Correia: Let’s get back to your practice for a second. I think it’s fantastic you’ve been practicing law and have been together for as long as you have, that’s really a testament to your marriage. I think that’s great.
Let me ask you this. You have different practice areas, but you manage a law firm together. Do you have any tips for any solo and small firm attorneys out there about how they should be managing their law firm to have the longevity that you’ve had?
Dana Cutler: I would say I have a couple things. One don’t be afraid of change. I think we are small firm, we are four partners here, and we have become very adept at adapting to change. And I think for most attorneys you think I’m going to be an environmental science attorney from now until my last breath, and sometimes the market forces you to do something differently.
And if you cannot bend you will break. So my suggestion for small firms is keep your eyes open for opportunity and don’t be afraid to make a move toward that. It may become your — your new big breadwinner, and don’t be afraid to do that.
Jared Correia: Yeah, be flexible, that’s great. Keith, do you have anything to add?
Keith Cutler: I would add that you really have to love what you do, because loving what you do is what gets you up in the morning. It’s not going to be the accolades, it’s not going to be the money, it’s not going to be the prestige or anything like that, but what you love is what’s going to get you up in the morning.
And to maintain a small business over the long haul like we have, I mean I think that’s what has kept us going. We actually love what we do and we love doing it together. And so I think as you kind of interact with us and talk with us and you see that that love of what we do, the love for each other, and the love of us doing it together, all of that plays into Dana and Keith Cutler and Couples Court.
Jared Correia: Oh, I like how you brought it back there. It’s all about love, love your work, love and watch Couples Court. I feel you.
So one last question for you. You are from Kansas City. I think Oklahoma Joe’s is the best barbecue in Kansas City, am I right or wrong?
Dana Cutler: It’s real good.
Keith Cutler: Right.
Dana Cutler: It’s real, real, real good, but there’s a couple places that we would recommend if you were to come to Kansas City.
Jared Correia: All right, good.
Dana Cutler: You are ready?
Jared Correia: Yes, yes, let me know.
Dana Cutler: Okay.
Jared Correia: I am writing this down.
Dana Cutler: I Brobeck’s Barbecue is that 435 Roe, excellent barbecue, and they let you bring your own sauce, I love that.
Jared Correia: Oh, I like that, okay. I’m down with that one. All right, well, that’s good for me.
Dana Cutler: Gates Barbecue I think has the best ribs and brisket. And I like the sweet sauce, and then for like really kind of like this, like sausages I’m a big fan of LC’s Barbecue.
Jared Correia: Wow, that was a robust series of recommendations.
Keith Cutler: Right.
Dana Cutler: As a native Kansas Citian.
Jared Correia: I am impressed.
Keith Cutler: Now Jared, I am not a native Kansas Citian.
Jared Correia: Keith, do you agree?
Keith Cutler: Yeah.
Jared Correia: All right.
Keith Cutler: I am not a native Kansas Citian.
Jared Correia: What do you think Keith?
Keith Cutler: I was born and raised in Washington, DC, but I’ve been here in Kansas City for over 30 years. I’m going to give you the most lawyerly answer to a barbecue question you have ever heard. You are ready. Oh Lord. Here you go.
Jared Correia: Yes, yes.
Keith Cutler: Sometimes, when you want a burger you want McDonald’s. You don’t want Burger King because the burgers taste different. You want a McDonald’s burger. Sometimes you want Wendy’s. If you want Wendy’s, if you have got a taste for Wendy’s, Burger King is just not going to do. Sometimes you want Burger King, so it depends on what you have a taste for, what burger is going to suit your fancy at that moment.
That’s the same with barbecue. Sometimes you want the taste of Gates Barbecue, sometimes you want the taste of Oklahoma Joe’s.
Jared Correia: Yes.
Keith Cutler: Sometimes you want the taste of LC’s or Brobeck’s. They have different tastes, different style just depends on what you’re in the mood for at that moment.
Dana Cutler: Okay, you see somebody doesn’t want to stick his neck out. That’s what I see. Put your neck out there Mr. Cutler.
Jared Correia: Are you are you winking over there Keith, is that what’s happening? It’s winking hard. Well, I actually thought that was a better barbecue response that I have ever had on this show.
So thank you. And now I’m super hungry. So unfortunately we’re going to have to shut this down. So that’s going to close the book on another episode of Legal Toolkit. I for my part learned that there is a Kardashian brother so that was interesting.
I will be back on future shows with further insights into my soul, the soul of America and the legal market, but if you’re feeling nostalgic for any of my dulcet tones, you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com/”legaltalknetwork.com.
Thanks again to Keith and Dana Cutler of “Couples Court with the Cutlers”.
Keith Cutler: Thank you.
Dana Cutler: Thank you.
Jared Correia: So Dana and Keith, can you tell folks again about how to catch your new show?
Keith Cutler: Well beginning September 18th is airing all over the country, and viewers can check their local TV listings for the channel and time in their area, or they can visit our website at HYPERLINK “http://www.couplescourttv.com/”www.couplescourttv.com.
Jared Correia: All right. Thank you. Everybody check out the show. Check out the website. Dana and Keith, thanks again for coming on, that’s “Couples Court with the Cutlers” starting September 18th. Thanks all of you out there for listening, and I think somewhere Jill Walker is probably smiled.
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