Alexandra Alpough: A Faithful Advocate for Others
Bachelor of Liberal Arts, 2012, and Juris Doctor, 2015 | School of Law
Title: Missouri Assistant Attorney General, Labor Division
Hometown: Gladstone, MO
How did you choose your field of study?
I always knew I wanted to help people. Based on my academic background, I initially thought I was meant to fulfill this passion as a physician. Through multiple courses in sociology, however, I learned that I was best suited to serve others as an attorney, helping people through the legal challenges of life.
What was that experience like, moving from medical school to law school?
I assumed, based on my high school experience and passion for science, that medicine was the right way to go, so I started UMKC’s six-year medical school program. I loved the science, had great professors, had great support from administrators, but I was not a clinician.
I’d been taking sociology classes with Dr. Ann Marie Wood, an associate teaching professor of sociology, and I found myself looking forward to those classes. At the midway point, I took a long, hard look at my life and thought, “I know I can do this, but is it something I want to do for the rest of my life?” Once I decided to change gears, everyone was so supportive. My whole transition team was very helpful in making sure I moved from one program right into the other.
Being a lawyer allows me to help others through the best and worst times of their lives. It allows me to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
Tell us about your current position.
I am an assistant attorney general working in the labor division of the Missouri Attorney General’s office. I essentially defend the second injury fund. If a claimant has an injury at work and a pre-existing injury, and together those create a disability, then they’ll come to us for money. Our job is to make sure people aren’t draining the fund, and that the people who actually need the money are getting it. Every day is different. I’m in and out of the office, and I do some travel within the state. The variety keeps me learning.
What are the challenges of your field?
The most prominent challenge in my field occurs when the language of the law does not align with a personal viewpoint. It is not uncommon for the law to conflict with a lawyer’s personal perspective. Attorneys, however, must provide sufficient legal representation for their clients despite their differing personal beliefs.
What are the benefits?
Being a lawyer allows me to help others through the best and worst times of their lives. It allows me to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Working in a public service capacity allows me to give back to my community while pursuing my dreams.
How did UMKC help you reach your current position?
UMKC is located in the middle of the Kansas City legal community. Being in such a close proximity to the community I ultimately wanted to practice in allowed me to build a strong network while I was laying the foundation for my career. In addition, the proximity and support of the UMKC School of Law made it possible for me to complete a plethora of internships, helping me gain skills in multiple areas of law, ultimately leading me to my current position.
What did you learn about yourself at UMKC?
I learned that my passion is not only to help people, but to support them during the various obstacles life presents. Through my experiences in both the medical and law school, I learned valuable lessons about leadership, time management and networking that I continue to use and develop every day.
What advice do you have for students entering UMKC?
For students starting law school: Get out of your head. People are so focused on being the best. Sure, your rank is important, your grades are important. But instead of worrying about what you have to do to get the “A,” worry about what you have to do to really learn — and what you have to do to really know it. And don’t forget to have fun. Don’t miss out on what’s really special at UMKC.
What is your favorite memory from UMKC?
Preparing for finals, studying late at night and eating takeout with friends. Studying for the bar, reciting flash cards and playing catch. These experiences that were supposed to be difficult and miserable weren’t.
Who was the most influential faculty or staff member at UMKC, and why?
Dr. Ann Marie Wood was my professor for nearly every sociology class I took while completing my sociology minor. She consistently challenged me, which helped mold my desire to help people into a career in the legal field. Her passion encouraged me to pursue a career where I can advocate for justice and help shape society by providing fair and adequate representation for our community.
What are your lifelong goals?
I know this is a big thing to ask, but I want to achieve work-life balance. One thing I love about working for the state is that they value work-life balance, so I have time to spend with my family, volunteer with the Junior League and participate in things with my church.
My dream is to practice employment discrimination law. Diversity issues are important to me. I would love to make sure that people who are being wronged are being represented. Or I would love to work with companies to set up policies to prevent discrimination or correct it and ensure people are being made whole again. I created my own employment law emphasis by taking all the related courses and then used my internships to really focus on employment law.
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Compassionate. My granny always said, “If I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain.” This sentiment has guided my life, because I try to help people however I can in both my career and personal life. I’m the mom of my friend group, always prepared and making sure others are taken care of.
What’s your favorite place in Kansas City?
Betty Rae’s Ice Cream in Waldo. You have to try the cinnamon ice cream in a waffle cone.