Greg Krissek, John Donley and Joseph Aker Agricultural Law Panel Discussion

Photograph: John Donley, Greg Krissek, and Joseph Aker presenting at Washburn Law.

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, the Business and Transactional Law Center, the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, the Center for Law and Government, and the Agricultural Law Society hosted a panel of attorneys working in agricultural law. The panelists included Greg Krissek, John Donley, ’07, and Joseph Aker, ’18.

Krissek is the CEO of Kansas Corn—for both the Kansas Corn Growers Association and the Kansas Corn Commission. He has over 30 years of experience working with agriculture, ethanol, and renewable energy development projects, in addition to many related areas of public policy.

Donley is a partner at the firm he founded in 2011, Devine & Donley, LLC. He gained experience in legislative and regulatory research, as well as developing and applying policy. He now provides legal and government affairs services to meet the needs of his clients.

Aker is a recent Washburn Law graduate. He works at a general practice firm, Cottonwood Law Group, LC, and focuses on agricultural and family law.

In response to open questions, the panelists provided insight into their careers and offered advice for law students and new attorneys. A common theme throughout the discussion was the importance of understanding both sides of an argument—whether lobbying or representing a client. This is important for managing your own expectations as the attorney, for managing the client’s expectations, and for presenting a strong argument.

The panelists also discussed the need for attorneys willing to work in agricultural law. They highlighted some of the advantages for a lawyer that grew up on a farm or that has a strong background in agriculture. At the same time, the panelists emphasized the enormous range of opportunities in agricultural law and encouraged students to pursue a career in the area, even if they do not have a background in agriculture. Among these are opportunities dealing with natural resources and water rights, food processing, ethanol, succession planning, and high-tech farming.

Washburn Law is thankful to Greg Krissek, John Donley, and Joseph Aker for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their insight and advice with students.