Christopher Hoyt Inducted Into The Estate Planning Hall Of Fame

Hoyt- NAEPC AwardUMKC School of Law is proud to recognize Christopher Hoyt, who was inducted into the Estate Planning Hall of Fame today by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. The award was presented in recognition of Hoyt’s distinguished service in the field of estate planning at the organization’s 50th Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Hoyt is currently a professor at UMKC School of Law teaching courses in the area of federal income taxation with an emphasis on retirement plans and tax-exempt organizations.

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2013 Law Alumni Honorees

Five individuals were honored for their dedication to the law school and legal profession at the All-Class Reunion and Dean’s Award Reception on November 1, 2013.

Decade Award – Athena Dickson, ‘03

Athena Dickson

The Decade Award is presented to an alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession within their first 10 years of practice. Athena Dickson is a partner at the law firm of Siro Smith and Dickson, P.C. She serves as the current president for the Young Lawyers Section of the KCMBA and as President-Elect of the Association of Women Lawyers. Dickson has been recognized as a Super Lawyer: Up and Coming Lawyer for 2011-2012, Missouri Lawyers Weekly Up and Coming Lawyer of 2012 and as Best of the Bar 2009-2012.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Gene Voigts, ‘64

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to the alumnus who has achieved outstanding professional success in the legal field throughout a long career, and Gene Voigts clearly meets this standard. After graduating in 1964, Voigts was elected as a municipal judge in North Kansas City, and then as Prosecuting Attorney for Clay County. He was later appointed Chief Counsel for the Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office and as First Assistant Missouri Attorney General. Since 1976, he has been a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.  Throughout his career, Voigts has been an advocate for and an avid supporter of UMKC School of Law and the Kansas City legal community, serving on the board and as president of the Law Foundation and remaining actively involved as an alumnus of the law school.

Pro Bono/Public Service Award – Dana Outlaw, ‘03

Dana Outlaw

The Pro Bono/Public Service Award is awarded to an alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to the public welfare through the legal profession. Dana Outlaw has practiced family law at the law office of Dana M. Outlaw, LLC since graduating from UMKC in 2003. She has worked with Hope House, a domestic violence shelter in Jackson County, representing victims of domestic violence in dissolution, paternity, custody, modification and order of protection from 2007-2009. In addition, Outlaw serves as a Special Master presiding over contesting hearings concerning temporary child support, maintenance, expenses and attorney fees, and has been asked to speak at CLEs about guardian ad litem training, domestic violence and teen dating violence.

Pat Kelly Service Award – William Prugh, ‘69

William Prugh

The Pat Kelly Service Award honors the alumnus who has provided exemplary service to the UMKC Law Foundation. Bill Prugh is a senior partner at the Polsinelli law firm and practices tax law. He is the immediate past president of the UMKC Law Foundation and has served on various committees for the law school since 1992. He formerly received the UMKC School of Law Practitioner of the Year Award in 2004. He has been named a “Best Lawyer” in Kansas City, Missouri as well as “Lawyer of the Year” in 2012 – 2013, and he was selected for inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America,” 2007-2014.

Presidents’ Award – Bob Murray & The Bar Plan

Bob Murray

This year, the Law Foundation is pleased to honor a longtime friend and supporter, Bob Murray.  While the Foundation can usually count on its great alumni for support, it also benefits significantly from the support of the legal and business communities. Bob Murray and the Bar Plan have consistently supported the Law Foundation as the lead sponsor of the Bob Downs Scholarship Golf Tournament, one of the organization’s most successful fundraising events. Murray, however, is more than just a sponsor. He often attends steering committee meetings and plays in the tournament each year. The Foundation is glad to have him as a part of its extended family and is excited to present him with the Presidents’ Award.

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First-year students partake in unique practical learning experience

Students typically come to law school because they want to be a lawyer, but the standard first-year curriculum involves reading cases and statutes and applying them to hypotheticals. UMKC School of Law has rolled out an innovative new program aimed at giving first-year students the opportunity to apply their knowledge early on in their education. This year’s 1L students were the first entire class to participate in the Integrated Learning Project, a week-long, hands-on learning and problem-solving learning experience.

Law students are largely taught to categorize law into the doctrinal first-year courses—torts, property, contracts, criminal law—and they often wonder when they are going to learn how to be a lawyer. Schools have traditionally followed this model because it is important for students to learn analytical skills first; however, UMKC hopes to provide them context to see why they need to learn analysis first. The project has been piloted since 2010 with one section of first-year.

“Everything we know about effective learning indicates that students learn best by doing and when they have context and see the relevance of what they are being taught”, said Dean Ellen Suni. “The integrated learning project idea, originally called the ‘Section B experiment,’ arose out of our strategic planning process and, we believe, helps get students more engaged in their own education and helps them to meet competencies we believe are important for lawyers.

Professor Judith Popper, along with Professor Wanda Temm, began organizing this fall’s project during the spring semester, which requires the help of approximately 45 volunteers. The premise of the project revolves around a fictional scenario devised by Temm and Popper, and student participants worked on all aspects of a case—from meeting with the client, to interviewing campus police and investigating the scene, to performing negotiations. The volunteers served as witnesses, judges, and competition monitors, in addition to other roles.

“To say the 1Ls were into the project is a major understatement. They were chattering and eager for the next event. Several 2Ls reported jealousy that they didn’t get to do a project,” said Temm. “Although they were apprehensive about interviewing a client with minimal training, once done they seemed a bit amazed that they were able to do it. Upper-level students even reported they learned a lot about client counseling by portraying clients.”

With the success of this year’s program, future first-year students will have the opportunity to participate in this unique project, setting a UMKC School of Law education apart as an innovative experience that provides practical knowledge for its students.

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Alumnus Donald Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, addresses law school community

DonFehr_UMKC_100413_013Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association and prior Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, Donald Fehr (’73) discussed his 38 years in professional sports with students, faculty and staff

UMKC School of Law graduate Donald Fehr (’73) visited the law school October 4 for a breakfast and discussion sponsored by the Sports Law Society. Fehr spent 33 years with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, the last 26 as executive director. Today, he is executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association.

During the event, Fehr spoke about his experiences in professional sports and how the world of professional sports vastly differs from the traditional workplace.  He gave several analogies comparing the employer-employee relationship in sports to law school and legal careers, noting that we give sports deference in ways that are abnormal. He also cited examples and cases that helped further explain how and why players unions operate.

At the MLBPA, Fehr led the players union through the 1990 player lockout and two strikes, including the 232-day 1994–95 strike and subsequent World Series cancellation, the first since 1904. He was instrumental in implementing the rejection of future admissions into the MLBPA by replacement players who planned to fill in during the strike of 1995. Fehr litigated the collusion cases of the 1980s, which led to the owners paying $280 million in damages to the players; won the bad-faith bargaining case that ended the 1994-95 strike and subsequently negotiated an agreement; and negotiated new agreements with MLB in 2002 and 2006.

Early in his career as a young lawyer, Fehr worked on a landmark case for the MLBPA in the Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally arbitration case, which would become known as the Seitz decision, winning the players’ rights to free agency after playing one year for their team without a contract.

Fehr was the recipient of the School of Law Alumni Achievement Award in 1991 and returned to UMKC to deliver the commencement address for the School of Law in 2008. He was at UMKC to give a master class Thursday evening as part of the campus Founders Week, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the University.

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UMKC School of Law designated as A- “Best Value” School

UMKC School of Law has been designated by The National Jurist magazine with an A- in their latest rankings of the “Best Value” law schools in the U.S. This places UMKC in the top 20% of law schools in the country for best value.

Being listed among the magazine’s “Best Value” rankings is not new for UMKC Law, which has been recognized by The National Jurist since 2009 as being both an affordable and effective program, as well as a great value for students. This year, the magazine found that UMKC achieved a two-year bar pass average of 92.8%, which is significantly higher than the averages of most other schools listed in the magazine.  Based on the complex “weighted” formula that the magazine uses to calculate employment rates for each school, UMKC was recognized as having a high job placement rate of 80.9%. This is up from the 76% rating that the university achieved in 2012.  This places UMKC in the top third of all ranked schools for its placement rate.

UMKC School of Law was also recognized for having an affordable tuition rate and a low cost of living.  At under $18,000, tuition at UMKC is significantly lower than other schools like the University of Washington, for example, which was also given an A- rating by the magazine, but carries a tuition rate of $29,948, or University of Iowa, with tuition at over $27,000.

UMKC School of Law provides students with a comprehensive, legal education comprised of a personalized admissions process, collaboration with supportive faculty, real world opportunities in a vibrant city and tools and skills to experience professional success.  Because it offers a high quality legal education to its students at a price that many other schools cannot match, it has been recognized by The National Jurist magazine as one of the “Best Value” law schools.

A PDF of the complete article can be found here.

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Luppino Faculty-Staff-Alumni Softball Game CANCELLED September 28th due to rain

The tournament may be rescheduled for next week. Check back for details.

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UMKC hosts 8th annual Pat Kelly Scholarship Poker Tournament

More than 90 participants, including students, faculty and alumni, recently gathered for the 8th annual Pat Kelly Scholarship Poker Tournament. The tournament, which is sponsored by the UMKC Law Foundation, the UMKC Law Alumni Association and the SBA, was held Friday, Sept. 13 in the UMKC Student Union. Second-year student Blair Barbieri won the tournament and received an iPad 2 and the coveted Pat Kelly trophy for her excellent game play.

The annual tournament features a buffet dinner followed by Texas Hold-em tournament, including blackjack and craps tables, beginner tables, prizes and refreshments. Not only has this event raised more than $50,000 for student scholarships, but it also gives practicing attorneys, alumni and current students a great networking opportunity.

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First-year UMKC law students pass patent bar

Recently, two students, David McKinney and Stephen Krogmeier, passed the Patent Bar Examination before even starting law school, which is a significant accomplishment. We had the opportunity to speak with these students and hear about their experiences.

David McKinney is currently a 1L student seeking a career in patent and intellectual property law. David grew up in Budapest, Hungary from the ages of 7-16 before finishing his last two years of high school here in Kansas City. David recalls how growing up overseas exposed him to very unique experiences and he believes that living in Hungary has given him a unique perspective of the world.

Q: What made you come to the UMKC School of Law and what interested you in the program?
A: I was initially impressed with UMKC’s class offerings in patent and intellectual property law. However, I quickly found out that UMKC was offering a summer start, and that sealed the deal for me. A summer start program was tremendously advantageous for someone like me, because UMKC said they would allow me to take some 2L intellectual property classes as a 1L [student] during the fall and spring semesters. Since I knew that I was passionate about patent law, I could start studying IP law from the very onset of my legal education.

Q: What made you decide to take the Patent Bar before starting law school?
A: I was previously employed as a sales engineer at a company with 400 plus patents worldwide. I knew I wanted to come to law school and the idea that I could combine my passion for engineering with my new found appreciation of law, led me to talk to our company’s patent attorney. During our conversation he recommended that I study and pass the patent bar before law school. So it was really with his recommendation that I began to study for the Patent Bar. UMKC further encouraged this. Specifically, I was able to talk to Professor Holman and he too thought that I could pass [the patent bar] despite having no background in law.

Q: Was the Patent Bar more difficult than you expected?
A: Yes and no. First, patent law relies heavily on their specific verbiage, so there was a huge learning curve at the beginning. Second, patent law has detailed rules, like the rest of law, that outline the procedure that needs to be followed. This is where investing some money in a class really paid off in the long run.

Q: Do you believe that passing the Patent Bar early has given you an advantage over other students?
A: There is an obvious advantage as it is a significant accomplishment and potential employers will look favorably upon it. But the practical advantage is how it taught me to be comfortable with not knowing the answer. As I have started law school I see a common theme of how in law, you will rarely know the answer. I found that I am willing to give myself grace when I feel absolutely lost in studying for one of my classes and I realize that if I put forth the effort, clarity, or relative clarity, will come in due time.

Stephen Krogmeier is also a 1L student at UMKC who successfully passed the patent bar before beginning his coursework. Stephen is originally from Saint Louis and initially moved to Kansas City to attend Rockhurst University, where he received a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in English. Stephen has come to think of Kansas City as his home and has become quite fond of everything the city has to offer. He says that this is why he chose to attend UMKC, as well as discovering professors that were not only knowledgeable, but also approachable and tuition rates that were quite affordable. Stephen believes that the law school will prepare him with everything he needs to pass the bar examination in the future and that the school will provide him the opportunity to network with a number of practicing lawyers.

Q: What made you decide to take the Patent Bar before starting law school?
A: I decided to take the patent bar early after a UMKC professor, Professor Holman, called me in the spring. We had met before, during the application process at UMKC, but I was surprised to hear from him. He advised me to look into taking the patent bar early to get ahead of any potential competition and to differentiate myself from other students.

Q: How did UMKC prepare you to take the Patent Bar earlier than other students?
A: As I said, Professor Holman gave me the impetus to even try this so early. He directed me towards the right test preparation companies and materials from the Practicing Law Institute. I flew to Atlanta in early June, a few weeks after receiving my undergraduate diplomas, and took an intensive one-week course from PLI. After that I devoted most of my summer to work and study, spending hours working in a paper distribution center in the afternoons and nights while studying [for the patent bar] in the mornings.

Q: Was the Patent Bar more difficult than you expected?
A: Yes, it is the hardest test I have ever taken. Only about 60% of test-takers pass the examination every year and the numbers have dipped down much lower in the past. The fact patterns, wording and answers are all designed to trick you, even if you know the material. You must be meticulous and thorough, but quick enough to finish around 70% of the questions correctly in the allotted 6 hours.

Q: Do you believe that passing the Patent Bar early has given you an advantage over other students?
A: Certainly. Not only does it look great on a resume but passing the patent bar will enable me to eventually act as a patent agent.

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Delta Theta Phi visits local school for Constitution Day

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, representatives from the Delta Theta Phi Legal Fraternity at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law visited Ms. Arnold’s 4th grade class at African-Centered College Preparatory Academy. During their afternoon together, the DTP representatives handed out pocket versions of the Constitution, gave a brief presentation on the United States Constitution and played a full round of Constitutional Jeopardy!.

Everyone involved had a great time, and law students left the classroom with questions of “When are you coming back?!” DTP is thankful for the opportunity to speak with and share Constitutional information with the youth of Kansas City, and representatives are looking forward to future chances to engage with the community.

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Class of 2016 joins law school

Despite a reduction in applications and a national trend to reduce entering class size, UMKC welcomed 172 students to the Class of 2016. This represents an unexpected 15% increase in the size of our class.

Summer Start 2013

Summer Start students work together during the first week of summer classes.

Part of the reason for this increase was the inauguration of our Summer Start program. Thirty-one students began in May, taking courses in Torts, Civil Procedure and Introduction to Lawyering. Students participating in the program are now enrolled in Contracts I, Property I, Criminal Law, Introduction to Lawyering and one elective.


Matriculation Ceremony 2013

Members of the Class of 2016 take part in the matriculation ceremony Thursday, August 15.

The school year began for 1L students on August 15th, when the new students joined the summer starters and 11 international LL.M. students from around the world for our annual matriculation ceremony, where the Honorable Melissa Taylor Standridge, alumna and judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals, addressed the incoming class. Following the ceremony, students participated in the annual two-day orientation, which included information sessions, a mock class, a picnic sponsored by the Student Bar Association and volunteer projects in the community.

Summer Enrichment 2013

Participants of Summer Enrichment talk before the start of the program.

Prior to the orientation, 89 students participated in the Summer Academic Enrichment Program. Held the week before Orientation and taught by Professors Dan Weddle, Leo Salinger and Judith Popper, the program teaches students to see the “big picture” of law school by focusing on skill development during key stages of law school learning — preparing for class, class, after-class review, preparing for exams and taking exams.


This year’s class represents 19 states, 72 undergraduate schools and 12 graduate schools.


Full-time: 164
Part-time: 10

Male: 52%
Female: 48%

Ethnic Minorities: 16%

Average Age: 26
Students 30 and Older: 38

Average LSAT: 153

Top 5 States of Residence:
New York

Top 5 Undergraduate Institutions:
University of Missouri-Kansas City
University of Missouri-Columbia
University of Kansas
Kansas State University
University of Central Missouri

Top 5 Undergraduate Majors:
Political Science
Criminal Justice
Liberal Arts

*As of August 19, 2013

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