UMKC to offer LSAT prep course for September test

UMKC is offering a unique opportunity for students preparing for law school to study and prepare for the upcoming LSAT. The School of Law has partnered with Get Smarter Prep to provide students with the opportunity to enroll in a six-week LSAT prep course to prepare for the September 27 test date. The course is designed to not only cover the LSAT sections and writing sample, but also the law school admissions process. The material covered in the course was developed by Get Smarter Prep and UMKC is providing the course’s location as well as law school professors who will work one-on-one with students to help facilitate their transition into law school. Participants will learn about the law school application and admissions process from both admissions professionals and UMKC faculty.

The course begins Wednesday, August 20 and runs through Wednesday, September 24. It includes two full-length practice tests that will prepare students for the official LSAT test date, September 27. For students who register prior to August 6, the cost is $400, and for students registering between August 7 and August 22, the cost is $450.

“For some students, preparing for law school can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. UMKC School of Law offers a comprehensive and affordable LSAT prep course here in Kansas City that will give students the information needed to take the exam with confidence,” said Lydia Dagenais, Director of Law School Admissions.

For more information and to register for the course, please visit Get Smarter Prep’s UMKC LSAT page.

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Alumnae celebrated at Women’s Justice Awards

The 16th annual Women’s Justice Awards were held in St. Louis on April 24, 2014. Recipients are chosen by a committee of prominent judges and lawyers from around the state, many of whom are past Women’s Justice Award recipients.  There were 43 WJA honorees and of those, eight UMKC Law grads were among those being honored.  Categories such as Business Practitioner, Enterprise, Litigation Practitioner, Public Official, Public Service and Rising Star were presented to the following alumnae:

Lynn Bratcher, ‘83
Litigation Practitioner
Bratcher Gockel & Kingston
Julie Brown, ‘86
Business Practitioner
Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown
Jennie Clark, ‘88
American Century Investments
Honorable Gayle Crane, ‘84
Public Official
Jasper County Circuit Court
Dana Tippin Cutler, ‘89
Litigation Practitioner
James W. Tippin & Associates
Ashleigh MacPherson, ‘06
Rising Star
MacPherson Law Center

Dawn Parsons, ‘93
Public Service
Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office

Beverly Weber, ‘01
Rising Star
Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen

The UMKC School of Law community is indeed proud of these women and their accomplishments.

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UMKC Law student participates in unique internship program

Knial Richard Piper II, a rising 3L, recently participated in the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) internship program.

Knial Richard Piper II, a rising 3L, recently participated in the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) internship program.

Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) is a unique organization that offers internships to University of Missouri System students at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. ASUM allows students to gain experience as registered lobbyists in the state of Missouri, while also providing them with the opportunity to participate in the political and legislative processes. Since 1970, the program has had a strong presence in Jefferson City and students are often able to forge lasting relationships with representatives and senators while discovering the true nature and mechanics of the political process.

Knial Richard Piper II, a rising 3L student at UMKC School of Law, recently participated in the program, where he believes he gained valuable insights into the lawmaking process of the Missouri legislature. He also had the privilege of having a paper he authored introduced on the House floor by Representative Ron Hicks, an honor that any student would take great pride in. The paper focuses on Employment Law, specifically the topic of Right-To-Work laws, and Piper was able to get several Missouri politicians to comment on the topic before writing it, including Representatives Ron Hicks and Eric Burlison, Speaker of the House Tim Jones, and several other lobbyists and union leaders. Piper believes that their comments allowed him to gain insights into both sides of the issue and understand the obstacles that need to be overcome in order for these kinds of laws to exist.

Although Rep. Ron Hicks actually opposes Right-To-Work laws, a view that is in opposition to the majority of his party, he introduced the paper that Piper had written in an effort to present a constitutional argument to the House that had not yet been addressed or discussed. Through interactions with legislators like Rep. Ron Hicks, Piper believes he has gained hope for independence from partisanship, which often create a kind of lock on the legislative process.

Piper also gained experience drafting a bill and learning the language that comes along with it while participating in the internship, and he believes that this is an experience that any law student would likely benefit from while developing the foundation of his or her legal education. He believes that the experience aided him in understanding how legislators propose laws, as well as how those laws can affect the rulings of court cases in the judicial system.

“I would highly recommend this program to any student (graduate or undergraduate) interested in politics, the law, and how politics and law work together to create and function accordingly in the state of Missouri,” said Piper.  “The experience was a great insight into how law is created at every level of the process and how a lobbyist becomes such a central part to that process.”

Piper also noted that the internship complimented his legal education by allowing him to see and understand how the political system works first hand. That knowledge has instilled a new passion for lobbying efforts and political action within Piper and he reflected that, as a result of the internship, he possesses a newly discovered desire to participate in politics after law school, where he hopes to make a difference for the better of society.

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Recent graduates receive School of Law awards

Recent graduate, Kenneth Donald Kinney, speaks to his classmates after receiving the Outstanding Academic Achievement award.

Recent graduate, Kenneth Donald Kinney, speaks to his classmates after receiving the Outstanding Academic Achievement award.

Kenneth Donald Kinney and Sara Christensen, both class of 2014 UMKC School of Law graduates, received prestigious awards during the law school’s annual student awards ceremony.  Kinney received the Law Alumni Association Charles E. Whittaker Award for Academic Excellence, named after the School’s Supreme Court Justice and recognizing the outstanding third-year student who has advanced the intellectual life of the Law School. Christensen received the Law Alumni Association Harry S. Truman Leadership Award, which is given annually to a graduating third-year student who exemplifies commitment to the legal profession, service, and leadership, standards set by the Law School’s most famous alumnus, Harry S. Truman. Both students received a plaque and cash award.

In addition to these honors, Kinney and Christensen also received several other awards Friday, May 16 at the awards ceremony.

Kinney graduated Summa Cum Laude and received the award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, reflecting the highest grade point average over three years of study. As recipient of this award, he had the opportunity to speak briefly to his classmates at the Awards Ceremony. At the Awards Ceremony, he received several awards recognizing his outstanding performance in mock trial and trial advocacy competitions, his highest grades in many classes, serving on the Board of Barristers, graduating with highest honors in pro bono/public service and his work as Articles Editor of the The Urban Lawyer and his service as a staff member on the UMKC Law Review.

Sara Hofeditz Christensen receives an award from UMKC School of Law Alumni Association President, Scott Aripoli, during the law school's annual awards ceremony May 16.

Sara Hofeditz Christensen receives an award from UMKC School of Law Alumni Association President, Scott Aripoli, during the law school’s annual awards ceremony May 16.

Christensen also received awards for her excellent work in the National Trial Competition, Jury Trial Challenge, South Texas Mock Trial Challenge, National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition, Student Trial Advocacy Competition, serving on the Board of Barristers, and with highest honors in pro bono/public service. In addition, Christensen also worked with the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri to host former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at an event for more than 1200 high school students.

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UMKC School of Law Celebrates 2014 Commencement

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law recently celebrated its graduates and their families at the commencement ceremonies held May 17. More than 150 students made up the May 2014 list of graduates, including 17 receiving their LL.M.s.

Graduation related festivities began Friday, May 16 with a Baccalaureate held at Central United Methodist Church. The celebration continued with a reception and awards ceremony honoring the academic achievements of the class of 2014.

The School of Law Commencement Ceremony took place the following day with Mayor Sly James giving the keynote address. Mayor James also had the opportunity to hood his son, Malik, who received his J.D. degree.

Congratulations Class of 2014 on your great achievement!

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School of Law receives $2 million gift

Bequest will establish the Ralph and Madeline Wrobley Distinguished Professorship in Law and Entrepreneurship

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is pleased to announce a $2 million bequest to the UMKC School of Law from attorney Ralph G. Wrobley and his late wife Madeline.

The estate gift — the largest in the Law School’s 119-year history — will establish the Ralph and Madeline Wrobley Distinguished Professorship in Law and Entrepreneurship, an endowed position that will strengthen the Law School’s continued focus on entrepreneurship.

“During Ralph’s career he was an innovative leader in the legal and business community,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “This gift to establish a distinguished professorship will help insure that his leadership and creativity are recognized and will continue in the future through the programs and activities in the School of Law.”

Wrobley, who spent his legal career in Kansas City as a managing partner with two large law firms and as partner in a third, said he wanted to support the Law School, which he called a vitally important part of the city’s legal community.

“UMKC Law School has played an important part in the legal community in this town and has made a major difference in Kansas City,” Wrobley said. “Both the graduates of the school and the school itself have been important to Kansas City.”

Wrobley grew up in Kansas City but received his own legal training at the University of Chicago. He returned to Kansas City in 1961 to take a job with Stinson Mag — now Stinson Leonard Street. Wrobley spent 26 years at Stinson, serving part of that time as a managing partner of the firm.  He left Stinson for a three-year stint as a partner with Bryan Cave, a St. Louis-based firm, and finally found his way to Blackwell Sanders, where he also served as a managing partner. Blackwell Sanders later merged to form Husch Blackwell, the firm where Wrobley remains Of Counsel.

“When you serve as a managing partner, you do spend more time thinking about practicing law in the city. It may have made me more sensitive to the importance of a law school to the city,” Wrobley said.

Wrobley said he chose to give the gift to UMKC because he wanted to give something back to the community where he built a long, successful legal career. He said his wife Madeline, who died last summer when she was 74, would have fully supported the gift to UMKC.

“We both recognized how important a law school in the city is,” he said.

Madeline Wrobley was active in many civic causes in Kansas City, including the League of Women Voters, the American Cancer Society, Family and Children’s Services, and the Salvation Army.

In his own law practice, Wrobley advised privately held companies, and provided counsel on mergers and acquisitions. He is pleased that his gift will establish a professorship in entrepreneurship, which he called a key to Kansas City’s future.

The Law School has long been focused on entrepreneurship and has received national recognition for this outstanding program. A recent ranking in the National Jurist magazine identified UMKC Law School as among the most innovative law schools in the nation, in large part because of the school’s efforts around entrepreneurship. For more than a decade, its law faculty have collaborated within and outside the university to develop new programs that fuse entrepreneurship and law.

“We are so thrilled to receive this bequest,” said Ellen Suni, dean of the School of Law.  “Getting such significant support for our program will go a long way toward helping us educate our students to be entrepreneurial in their lawyering and to become entrepreneurs themselves. It will also assist us to become thought leaders in law and entrepreneurship, thereby advancing the reputation of our school.

“We very much appreciate the generosity of Ralph Wrobley, an icon of the Kansas City legal community, who truly recognizes the practice of law as a noble calling and understands the importance of a strong law school to the Kansas City legal community,” Suni said. “We expect this gift will play a key role in helping us establish a Center for Law and Entrepreneurship here at UMKC.”

Originally posted on the UMKC Foundation Website.

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Watch Live Stream of School of Law Commencement and Awards Ceremonies

UMKC will be providing a live stream of the 2014 School of Law Awards Ceremony May 16  at 6:00 p.m. as well as the Commencement Ceremony May 17 at 4:00 p.m. You can view these live streams by visiting the university’s streaming video page. Video can be viewed on PC and Mac computers as well as Android and iOS devices.

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Street Car Symposium to be held April 29

UL 11x17

The Urban Lawyer is a student run law journal, producing scholarly articles each quarter focusing on land use, land planning, and local government issues. In addition to print production, the Urban Lawyer hosts a symposium each semester at UMKC School of Law, which hones in on topics dealing with real estate, land use, publi

c finance, or an otherwise hot issue impacting the Kansas City community. This semester, the symposium will focus on Kansas City’s Street Car project for its first topic of 2014.

The symposium, which is to be held Tuesday, April 29 at UMKC School of Law, will feature several panelists that include Kansas City Mayor Sly James, his Chief of Staff John McGurk, and Husch Blackwell attorney Doug Stone. Together, these men have seen the Street Car project from pipe dream, to infancy, to the construction of the first car line. The symposium will examine the different hurdles the project has faced including issues involving legality, financing, job creation, usership, cost/benefit, and more.

“The Street Car is changing the landscape of our city, and soon, how we move around it. This symposium gives students the chance to learn how the Street Car dream became a reality, and join the discussion on the next chapter of Kansas City light rail before it’s ever written,” said Keaton Knott, program editor for the Urban Lawyer.

The School of Law and the Urban Lawyer invite you to join our panelists in the student lounge on April 29, 2014 at 11:45am. Meet Mayor James, network with Husch Blackwell attorney Doug Stone, and stay current with what’s happening in your city. Free pizza will be provided.

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It’s not too late to apply for Fall 2014! We accept applications with June 2014 LSAT scores.

Has your situation recently changed? Have you heard that now is a good time to go to law school but haven’t taken the LSAT yet? Have you recently decided to go to law school and think you have to wait until next year?

There is still time to study for the LSAT, take the test and apply to UMKC School of Law for entry this fall.  You should register for the June 9 LSAT by May 6 (or May 16 for late registration), and submit your application to UMKC before the end of June in order to receive a timely decision.  You may apply to UMKC Law through the LSAC website, and if you have any questions, contact us at

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Law Alumni recognized with 2014 UMKC Alumni Association awards

Two School of Law alumni have been awarded 2014 UMKC Alumni Association awards and will be presented with these awards at the Alumni Association’s Celebration 2014 Awards Luncheon, which is held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 24 at the Swinney Gymansium. For more details about the event, click here.

Michael S. J. Albano (’68) - Bill French Alumni Service Award
mike_albanoWhile Michael Albano is known nationally for his expertise in family and matrimonial law, his hobby and passion is Roo blue and gold. For more than 45 years, Albano has been a bedrock of alumni support and advocacy for the university. He has served as president of the UMKC Alumni Association, on the board of the UMKC Law Foundation, on the UMKC Trustees Board and as chair of the UM System Alumni Alliance. He is also a fixture in the fan stands at Roo athletics events and has been a tireless advocate for UMKC in the community. In 2013, he completed his service as chairman of the UM System Alliance of Alumni Associations. Albano’s accomplished career includes service as president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Foundation and chairperson of the American Bar Association Family Law Section. His career accolades include the Missouri Bar President’s Award, multiple Family Lawyer of the Year awards, Best Lawyer in Kansas City and the Missouri Bar Association’s Family Law Practitioner of the Year award. He also was previously awarded a UMKC Outstanding Alumni Service award.

JIM BARTIMUS (’77) – Alumni Achievement Award: School of Law
jim_bartimusJim Bartimus is a partner at Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson and Goza, PC.  His practice focuses in the area of medical malpractice and pharmaceutical litigation.  Bartimus has been involved in global lawsuits for the protection of litigants harmed by dangerous and harmful pharmaceutical practices.  His extensive volunteer work includes serving as a board member on the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, the Center for Practical Bioethics and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.  Bartimus and his wife, Dana, have established a charitable foundation whose efforts concentrate on children’s issues.  The foundation has helped fund many charities and local schools and non-profit organizations and was a major donor supporting the UMKC Law Advocacy Center, helping to position the School to become one of the top ten advocacy programs in the country.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including multiple “Best of the Bar” awards, Top 50 Kansas City Super Lawyer, and an Acorn Award from the Missouri Humanities Council.

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