Law School to Honor Five at ‘The Big Event’

Dinner event with “Ritzy Roaring Twenties” theme will salute five alumni for dedication to their school and profession

Five alumni of the School of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City will be honored for their dedication to their school and profession at the 2016 edition of The Big Event, the school’s annual fundraising dinner and celebration.

This year’s theme is “The Ritzy Roaring Twenties.” The event will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Hilton President Hotel. 1329 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, Mo. Sponsorship and ticket information is available by clicking here.

The 2016 honorees are:

President’s Award – R. Lawrence “Larry” Ward ’61
R. Lawrence “Larry” Ward has been a prominent member of the legal community for nearly six decades. Ward began his career as a personal injury litigator, then shifted his practice to business law and litigation. He was repeatedly recognized as a premiere trial lawyer, nationally and locally, until his retirement in 2015 from chairman emeritus of Polsinelli and from chairman of Shughart Thomson & Kilroy. Ward was president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and served on the Missouri Bar Board of Governors, Appellate Judicial Commission for the State of Missouri, and as co-chair of the American Bar Association mid-year meeting in Kansas City. He also served as president, and has been a contributor to, the UMKC Law Foundation.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Sandra L. Schermerhorn ’66
Sandy Schermerhorn’s many professional accomplishments include many “firsts.” She was the first female law clerk in the Western District; the first female attorney hired by a large Kansas City law firm; the first women partner at a major Kansas City law firm; and the first female president of the KCMBA. She has served the Bar in many ways including as chair of the Missouri Supreme Court Advisory Committee. She has been involved in many organizations that serve others including board member and president of the Women’s Foundation, director and president of the Board of the Kansas City Free Health Clinic (Kansas City Care Clinic); director and president of Women with One Voice Foundation; trustee of MAST (Metropolitan Ambulance Services Trust); board member and president of the Good Samaritan Project; founding member and vice president of the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City; and board member of the Community Housing Network and the Unicorn Theatre. She has been selected as a “Dean of the Trial Bar” and the recipient of the prestigious Spurgeon Smithson Award from the Missouri Bar.

Decade Award – Brianne Thomas ’06
Brianne Thomas has played a vital role in representing clients that have been injured, killed or mistreated in the work place. Boyd, Kenter, Thomas & Parrish LLC asked her to become a partner at the firm only four years after graduating law school and became managing partner of the firm in 2013. In 2012, The Missouri Bar Foundation honored her with the David J. Dixon Award for Excellence in appellate advocacy for a young lawyer. She is currently the secretary of the Association for Women Lawyers. In the community, she volunteers for Step-Up, Habitat for Humanity, and the Harvester’s Food Drive. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and has chaired the Disaster Relief Committee to provide legal assistance to victims of natural disasters.

Pat Kelly Service Award – Honorable Stephen R. Bough ’97
Judge Steve Bough’s devotion to the UMKC Law Foundation is unparalleled. His support of UMKC Law began immediately after he graduated. Bough organized a committee to establish an endowed scholarship in honor of Professor Robert Downs at UMKC School of Law. The fundraiser for the scholarship is an annual golf tournament. More than 100 golfers participate each year, contributing $20,000 annually. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the golf tournament. He currently serves on the Law Foundation Board of Trustees and served as its president in 2004. Bough is an exceptional ambassador representing the best of UMKC School of Law in Kansas City and beyond.

Pro Bono/Public Service Award – Brandee Bower ‘00
Brandee Bower served last year as president of the Association for Women Lawyers. She has volunteered to raise money and awareness for several community organizations including Care to Learn, Go Red, Step Up, Food from the Bar and Read Across America. She is a Kansas City Chiefs Red Coater and volunteers for First Downs for Down Syndrome, Cure Search, Operation Breakthrough, Shadow Buddies, Ambassador Golf Tournament, NFL Alumni Golf Tournament, Harvesters, Heart to Heart International, KC Heart and Stroke, Santa for Joplin, Operation Blessing, and TLC United for Kids. Bower has also volunteered her time as a TLC bell ringer for the Salvation Army and for the CCVI Trolley Run.


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