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The Story of Trial Bear

IMG_9504 (1)About 20 years ago, Barbara Bowden went to a unique boutique shop in Renton. The shop had some really pretty pins, but one pin caught her eye–a great, big sparkly teddy bear pin. It had lots of rhinestones on it and she thought it would look real pretty on a coat or a sweater to dress something up. Little did she know that that pin would stay with her forever.

This became Trial Bear, the pin she wears every time she goes to trial. Learn from Barbara Bowden firsthand about the story of Trial Bear.

The first time I wore Trial Bear was during a King County trial. And when I did, everyone got all excited and lit up about my little, diamond teddy bear. I didn’t start out wearing it every trial, but it soon became a habit. I felt safer with Trial Bear. I felt like I wasn’t alone. He was my “co-counsel.” And every time I’d go to trial, the judge would say, “Barbara, where’s Trial Bear today?”

Now, when I show up in court with Trial Bear on, everyone knows I’m going to trial.

Normally, I dress pretty casual. When I go to work, I go to work to work. I don’t worry so much if I don’t have my makeup, my hair, or a suit on. It’s not a requirement for me, and it hasn’t been for years.

When I do go to trial, though, I do the makeup and hair, I wear a nice suit and high heels, and of course, Trial Bear. When I dress like that and I walk into the courthouse, everyone asks me, “Barbara, you going to trial?” “Barbara, what’s going on?” “Barbara, where’s your trial today?

They know when I walk in the courthouse and I’ve got Trial Bear on, I’m all business. It gives my clients and I the confidence we need when heading to trial.

Trial Bear is apart of my history. Since my kids were born, I now do most of my criminal cases in Pierce County. When I’ll go back to King County, I still have judges ask me if I still have him or if he’s still around.

I once even had a juror in Pierce County ask me about him. One of them just stopped and asked me a question. She goes, “Where did you get that bear?” Everyone started laughing. I went to the whole jury and explained it to them, “This is Trial Bear. This is co‑counsel. We do things together.” It was pretty funny to say the least.

I’ve had to go back and replace Trial Bear, which was not an easy task. The boutique in Renton had closed down so I had to search the Internet, but it was worth it! While I have almost 30 years of experience now, along with the confidence that comes with it, I still wear him when I go to trial, and I probably will for the next 30 years.