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Our Students. Our Story. #UMKCGoingPlaces

Photo by Janet Rogers, Division of Marketing and Communications
Photo by Janet Rogers, Division of Marketing and Communications

Lisa Althoff-Simmons Inspired by Entrepreneurial City

LISA ALTHOFF-SIMMONS

Juris Doctorate, 2015; LL.M. in Taxation, 2017 | School of Law

At UMKC, the students are our story. Look, listen and learn about us through interviews, photographs and videos of our students. Read the rest of the student stories and go to umkcgoingplaces.tumblr.com and follow.

What is your motto?

Never allow your comfort zone to lead you to complacency.

What’s your greatest fear?

Because I value diversity, I fear intolerance based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. I fear that intolerance can potentially breed a future generation of intolerance.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I learned that my work ethic is my greatest asset. At a very early age, my parents reinforced that hard work is the key to success. With a strong work ethic, even the most difficult subjects in law school can be “doable” if you put the time and work into it.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

I admire most the innovative and progressive initiatives at the law school. UMKC School of Law is one of few law schools that are on the cutting edge of incorporating technology innovation and merging it with the field of law. Considering that Kansas City is one of the most innovation-friendly cities for entrepreneurs, the law school is making its mark by embracing technology and innovation.

What is one word that best describes you and why?

Loyal. I have unwavering devotion for my family, friends and colleagues.

Where is UMKC taking you?

My next step is a business and tax law position at Seigfreid Bingham, P.C. I externed there and loved it. The law firm encouraged substantial work with the law partners. I hope to stay on with them and work to serve businesses with their legal needs.

I had the opportunity to be appointed by Governor Jay Nixon to serve as the executive director of the Missouri Women’s Council. The Missouri Women’s Council assists women-owned businesses in providing resources and information. I also had the opportunity to serve on Missouri Disparity Study Oversight Review Committee, commissioned by Governor Nixon, to encourage policies for minority and women-owned businesses. The committee was successful in recommending policies that were considered in Governor Nixon’s Executive Order 14-07.

Why did you choose UMKC? It has a good entrepreneurship program and the law professors have an open-door policy. It’s a friendly law school. Recently I stopped in to say “hello” to a professor and we talked for a long while—that just isn’t the typical experience for students of other law schools. The law school also has a focus on being innovative, especially with technology classes. Dean Suni and Professor Luppino have contributed a significant part in making the law school more forward-thinking regarding innovation.

Why did you choose law?

I’ve always wanted to go to law school, but after undergrad I decided to work for a while. While I was with Missouri Women’s Council, I worked with business owners who wanted legal advice and I couldn’t give it to them because I wasn’t an attorney. I wanted to be the one helping businesses with legal advice, so I started going to the UMKC School of Law part-time to fulfill that desire.

I think law school opens your mind to see both sides of an issue. It really made me a more balanced person.

What are your lifelong goals?

I want to be a good business law attorney for my clients and keep learning. It’s impossible to learn everything, but I want to learn as much as I can.

Which professor(s) have had an impact on you?

I’ve learned so much from so many of them. I really look up to Professor Levit. She’s a trailblazer and she is who I most want to be like. She respects everyone, is humble and is brilliant at everything she does. Her books, co-authored by Professor Levit and Professor Linder, have helped me so much. They help you focus and adjust your perception of law school and life outside law school. In “The Good Lawyer” one of the important characteristics for a lawyer is empathy. If you put yourself in your client’s shoes, you’ll understand and represent them better. Empathy makes better people and better lawyers.


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