Photograph: Alumna meeting with student.

Class Actions

Updates submitted between January 1, 2020 and October 7, 2020.

1960s

Daniel W. Forker Jr. '66, Hutchinson, Kansas, was inducted as a fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. Forker is a member of the American Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association and the Reno County Bar Association. He has served as past chairperson for Real Estate, Probate, and Tax Section of the Kansas Bar Association as well as two terms as chairperson of the Bankruptcy Section of the Kansas Bar Association.

Col. Jack S. Bender III, '69, Halstead, Kansas, was presented the Marquis Who's Who Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Bender has devoted nearly 50 years to his distinguished legal career. Shortly after acquiring his law degree in 1969, he served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Kansas. Joining the Boeing Co. in Wichita, Kansas, in 1974, he served as an assistant secretary, a senior attorney, acting division counsel and in construction management for 25 years until 1999. Mr. Bender subsequently operated a private practice in Halstead, Kansas, for nearly 20 years. In addition to maintaining his practice, he served for seven years as the wing legal officer for the Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol from 2011 to 2018.

1970s

Darrell L. Warta, '71, Wichita, received top-tier rankings in the London-based Chambers USA 2020 Guide. Warta was recognized in Kansas in the practice area of General Commercial.

Wendell (Bud) F. Cowan, '74, Overland Park, Kansas, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Insurance Law.

Dennis D. Kirk, '75, Falls Church, Virginia, is the United States Office of Personnel Management's new Associate Director for Employee Services, Kirk brings decades of public and private sector experience to this role. At OPM since May 2018, Kirk has served as both Senior Advisor to the CIO and as Senior Advisor to the Director, working with OPM leadership, SES, Employee Services, and the Accountability and Workforce Programs areas. 

James D. Oliver, '75, Overland Park, received top-tier rankings in the London-based Chambers USA 2020 Guide. Oliver was recognized in Kansas in the practice area of General Commercial.

The Hon. Donald R. Noland, '76, Pittsburg, Kansas, was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals Nominating Commission.

David M. Rapp, '76, Wichita, was recognized as a 2021 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers.

Cydni K. Gilman, '78, Wichita, received a Kansas Bar Association 2020 Pro Bono Certificate.

Timothy E. Troll, '78, Dillingham, Alaska, is the Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust in Alaska. He was recently recognized by the Alaska Federation of Natives with the Denali Award. The Denali Award is given to a "Non-Native person who has demonstrated strong commitment, dedication, and service to the Alaska Native Community and to Rural Alaska." The land trust he founded and directs has also received the National Excellence Award by the Land Trust Alliance for its work protecting wilderness in remote Rural Alaska.

1980s

The Hon. Richard D. Anderson, '80, Topeka, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court as chief judge of the 3rd Judicial District. The 3rd Judicial District is composed of Shawnee County. Anderson was appointed a district court judge for the 3rd Judicial District in 1999. Before becoming a judge, Anderson was a trial attorney in private practice with an emphasis in labor, employment, and construction law. He has served as an adjunct professor at Washburn University and as a board member of the Kansas District Judges Association. He is a member of the Topeka and Kansas Bar Associations and has served on several bar association committees.

Joseph E. Cosgrove Jr., '80, Austin, Texas, published the featured article in the ABA's Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section's Winter 2020 periodical. The article was entitled Net Neutrality: Take 4! Mr. Cosgrove was then interviewed about the article for the Section's first podcast released on May 27, 2020. Mr. Cosgrove is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin teaching Internet and Telecommunication Regulation.

Shannon S. Krysl, '80, Andover, Kansas, was inducted into the Wichita Business Journal's HR Professionals Hall of Fame in February 2020. Krysl retired as Chief Human Resources Officer in July 2020, from the Wichita Public Schools after 15 years of service. 

The Honorable Marla J. Luckert, '80, Topeka, received the Kansas Bar Association 2020 Christel Marquardt Trailblazer Award.

Kevin E. J. Regan, '81, Kansas City, Missouri, of the Regan Law Firm, L.L.C., was recently elected to serve as a Trustee with the Missouri Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. Regan was also recently made an honorary life member of the Special Forces Association, Bull Simons Chapter, a rare honor bestowed upon a civilian by Special Forces soldiers.

Mark A. Shaiken, '81, Denver, Colorado, is the author of a newly released book, entitled:  "And . . . Just Like That - Essays on a Life Before During and After the Law." With humor and self-deprecation, poignancy and bite, this book presents observations on his life before the law, his thirty-eight years in the law, and his life after he left.

David M. Traster, '81, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Environmental Law.

The Honorable Mark A. Ward, '81, Fort Scott, Kansas, was reappointed to the Judges Assistance Committee by the Kansas Supreme Court. Ward will serve four-year terms that began on July 1 and will end June 30, 2024. The Judges Assistance Committee helps Kansas judges in need due to mental or physical disability or addiction.

Deena M. Hyson Bailey, '82, Wichita, received the Kansas Bar Association 2020 Diversity Award.

Michael R. Heim, '82, Lawrence, Kansas, received the Kansas Bar Association 2020 Distinguished Government Service Award.

The Hon. E. Leigh Hood, '82, Dodge City, Kansas, has retired. Hood was the Ford County 16th Judicial District Chief Judge. With more than 20 years as a judge, Hood was first elected as a district judge in 2000 before being appointed a chief judge in 2019. From 1982 to 1989, Hood was an assistant county attorney in Ford County before becoming county attorney.

Nancy A. Goodall,' 83, Topeka, has retired from CoreFirst Bank & Trust. She was the senior vice president and trust officer. Goodall had been a trust officer with CoreFirst Bank & Trust for 15 years, where she administered personal trusts, investment agency accounts and probate accounts. Goodall is active in the community, in particular at the Topeka Civic Theatre, where she has been the music director for countless performances. With over 35 years banking experience.

Douglas L. Hanisch, '83, Wichita, received top-tier rankings in the London-based Chambers USA 2020 Guide. Hanisch was recognized in Kansas in the practice area of Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation.

Stanley Spurrier, '83, Wichita, by Best Lawyers in America® 2021 in the areas of: Appellate Practice; Criminal Defense: General Practice; and Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

William A. Vickery, '83, Wichita, has opened the Law Offices of William A. Vickery.

The Honorable James R. Kepple, '85, Manhattan, Kansas, was reappointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the District Magistrate Judges Certification Committee. Kepple has served in the 21st Judicial District, which includes Riley and Clay counties, since 2017.

Richard L. Marquez, '85, Garden City, Kansas, was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals Nominating Commission.

The Honorable Joe E. Lee, '86, Howard, Kansas, was appointed Elk County Attorney to the 13th Judicial District Magistrate vacancy. Lee has been a county attorney in the 13th District since 2008, where he has prosecuted a wide variety of cases.

William R. Wood II, '86, Wichita, received top-tier rankings in the London-based Chambers USA 2020 Guide. Wood was recognized in Kansas in the practice areas of Corporate M&A and Real Estate.

William R. Wood II, '86, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Banking and Finance Law.

Kevin J. Arnel, '87, Wichita, received top-tier rankings in the London-based Chambers USA 2020 Guide. Arnel was recognized in Kansas in the practice area of Tax.

Kevin J. Arnel, '87, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Nonprofit /Charities Law.

Daniel B Bailey, '87, Westminster, Colorado, was appointed Executive Vice President, General Counsel, HGS North America, HGS, Inc. on June 1, 2020. Dan also serves on the Mesa Verde Foundation Board of Mesa Verde National Park.

Craig W. West, '87, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Elder Law.

Brian L. Leininger, '89, Overland Park, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.  Leininger will serve six-year terms that began on July 1 and will end June 30, 2026. The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program was created to help lawyers seek treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse or emotional distress.

Mark R. Maloney, '89, Wichita, was recognized as a 2021 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers.

The Honorable Kenley J. Thompson, '89, Houston, Texas, has become an Immigration Judge with the US Department of Justice.

1990s

Brian A. Tillema, '90, Kansas City, Missouri, was appointed as the Jackson County Circuit Court deputy probate commissioner.  Tillema started his own law practice in May 1993 as a solo practitioner. Fifty percent of his practice is in the Jackson County Probate Division. Prior to 1993, he served as a law clerk to Probate Judge John A. Borron, Jr. and Circuit Judge Donald L. Mason both of the Jackson County Circuit Court.

Stewart T. Weaver, '90, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Elder Law.

Kathleen A. Hart, '91, Bridgewater, New Jersey, has joined Weiner Law Group as partner and chair of the Firm's workers' compensation department.

Jeffrey P. Degraffendried, '92, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Litigation - Labor and Employment.

Danielle D. Dempsey-Swopes, '92, Topeka, was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals Nominating Commission.

Scott MacBeth, '92, Wichita, was recognized as a 2021 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers.

Channel P. Townsley, '92, Wichita, has opened Wichita Divorce, LLC.

The Honorable Jacquelyn E. Rokusek, '93, Shawnee, Kansas was appointed to the 10th District Court of Johnson County. Rokusek is managing partner of Rokusek Stein Law in Johnson County and formerly was an assistant Johnson County District Attorney.

Lisa A. McPherson, '94, Wichita, has joined Triplett Woolf Garretson, LLC.

The Honorable Teresa L. Watson, '94, Topeka, was appointed by the Supreme Court as the chair of the Language Access Committee.

Joseph E. Donovan, '96, Washington, D.C., has joined the firm of Clark Hill as a Member in the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources practice. Donovan is a leading energy lawyer with over 20 years of experience across all energy platforms on an international scale. 

Arthur E. Rhodes, '96, Wichita, has joined DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers.

The Hon. Steve A. Stockard, '96, Parsons, Kansas, was appointed a judge in the 11th Judicial District. Stockard was a partner at Wiber & Towner P.A.. He is a former attorney for the Kansas Department of Revenue and has been a part-time prosecutor of juvenile offender and child-in-need-of-care cases in Bourbon and Crawford counties.

Luther L. Ganieany Jr., '97, Topeka, was appointed to general counsel, of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Prior to joining the patrol as general counsel, Ganieany served as a senior attorney in the city of Topeka's legal department for 18 years and as a police legal adviser for Topeka Police Department.

Joseph S. Passanise, '97, Springfield, Missouri, has been appointed to the state's Tourism Commission. He is past president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; a member of the National College of DUI Defense; the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center; and the National Trial Lawyers Criminal Defense Top 100 for 2019. He has received recognition from Best Lawyers since 2007 and Super Lawyers since 2006. He is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from America's Top 100 Attorneys.

Patricia A. Voth Blankenship, '98, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Real Estate.

Christopher S. Conroy, '98, Des Moines, Iowa, is the 2020 chairman of the National Association of Fixed Annuities. Conroy previously was head of annuity sales at North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.

Deborah Frye Stern, '98, Topeka, retired from the Kansas Hospital Association as senior vice president of clinical services and general counsel. Prior to joining KHA in 2002 as a nurse/attorney, I was employed at the Alderson Law Firm, Stormont Vail Health and the Menninger Foundation. I am past president of the Womens Attorneys Association of Topeka and am a member of the Topeka Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, the Kansas Women Attorneys Association and the Greater Kansas City Society of Healthcare Attorneys.

Patricia A. Voth Blankenship, '98, Wichita, received top-tier rankings in the London-based Chambers USA 2020 Guide. Voth Blankenship was recognized in Kansas in the practice area of Real Estate.

The Honorable Kevin N. Berens, '99, Colby, Kansas, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to its Access to Justice Committee. Chief Judge Kevin Berens serves in the 15th Judicial District, composed of Cheyenne, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, and Wallace counties. The Access to Justice Committee makes recommendations on issues such as increasing resources available for legal services for self-represented litigants in civil cases improving planning and coordination for legal services delivery and reducing potential barriers to equal access to justice.

Ashley A. Davis, '99, Wichita, has joined the Penner Lowe Law Group LLC.

Jason K. Ward, '99, Kansas City, Missouri, is now a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Ward assists clients facing discovery-related challenges in complex product liability matters. He has extensive experience advising clients on document management procedures and best practices for defensible disposition of records, document collection, review and production.

2000s

Jesse J. Gutierrez, '00, Wichita, has joined the Hinkle Law Firm.

Kayla L. Stavinoha, '00, Wichita, has joined the Hinkle Law Firm.

Justin A. Barrett, '01, Colby, Kansas, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.  Barrett will serve six-year terms that began on July 1 and will end June 30, 2026. The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program was created to help lawyers seek treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse or emotional distress.

Michael J. Fleming, '01, Leawood, Kansas, was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals Nominating Commission.

Emily A. Hartz, '01, Lawrence, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.  Hartz, will complete an unexpired term ending June 30, 2023; The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program was created to help lawyers seek treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse or emotional distress.

Jennifer M. Hill, '03, Wichita, was recognized as one of the Wichita Business Journal's 2020 Women in Business Award winners. This award recognizes women business professionals in the Wichita area who have created successful careers and improved their companies and their community.

Jeremiah C. Humes, '03, Pirce, Utah, was appointed as a judge for the Seventh District.  For the past year, Humes has served as the attorney for Carbon County. He established his own practice in 2004 where he practiced municipal law. He also practiced at Johnson & Stone from 2003 to 2004.

The Hon. Laura H. Lewis, '04, Dodge City, Kansas, was appointed Chief Judge of the Ford County 16th Judicial District. Lewis was named to the district court in 2019.

Sarah E. Reichart, '04, Topeka, has been named director of the Supreme Court appeals where she will directly report to and assist the chief justice in the management of the Supreme Court docket and processing of cases. Reichart has served in the court's central staff as a research attorney for Chief Justice Luckert, as the court's motions attorney, and as assistant general counsel to the chief justice. Reichart chairs the Supreme Court Rules Committee.

Kimbra D. Caywood McCarthy, '05, Mountain View, California, is now the Mountain View City Manager. McCarthy was previously the Assistant City Manager for Administrative Services for Redwood City and a former deputy city manager for Mountain View. McCarthy has more than a decade of experience in senior roles in local government, including her two-year stint in Mountain View between 2014 and 2016. She began her career in government working as a fiscal analyst for the Kansas State Legislature and then moved to a policy analyst position with Santa Barbara County where she moved up to Director of Administration and Finance.

The Honorable Moinque K. Centeno, '05, Wichita, was appointed to the newly created Governor's Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. The committee will study racial equity and justice with statewide hearings and eventual recommendations to state and local governments on steps to increase racial equity in Kansas.

Jason R. Griess, '05, Lincoln, Nebraska, is now director of firm operations of Rumboldt Ludtke, LLP. He previously served as vice president for Investors Title Insurance Company and president of Nebraska Land Title and Abstract Company. Griess serves on the Board of Directors for the Lincoln Children's Museum, the HUB and the Nebraska Humane Society.

Jeffrey N. Lowe, '05, Wichita, has achieved Board Re-Certification as a family trial advocate for The National Board of Trial Advocacy. The National Board of Trial Advocacy was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney's experience and expertise in the practice of trial law. Jeffrey joins a growing number of trial attorneys that have illustrated their commitment to bettering the legal profession by successfully completing a rigorous application process and providing the consumer of legal services with an objective measure by which to choose qualified and experienced legal counsel. The elaborate screening of credentials that all National Board of Trial Advocacy board certified attorneys must successfully complete includes: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, submission of legal writing documents, proof of good standing and passing of an examination. Board Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Board certifications are the only distinctions awarded by non-profit organizations. The National Board of Trial Advocacy as well as all board certifying organizations are committed to safeguarding the public's ability to choose a good attorney.

Melissa A. Moodie, '05, Wichita, has joined the Hinkle Law Firm as Of Counsel.

The Honorable Karan M. Thandani, '06, Topeka, is the new Administrative Municipal Court Judge for the City of Topeka.  He has 14 years of experience practicing law in the state and has worked in both private practice and the government sector. The City says he was most recently Chief of Prosecution for the City of Topeka.

Angel R. Zimmerman, '06, Topeka, received the International J Reuben Clark Law Society Women in Law Service Award. Women in Law is just one of the many committees of JRCLS.  JRCLS is also divided into regions throughout the world. US Central no longer includes Utah and Idaho.  US Central is truly US Central -- Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, North & South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, etc. Zimmerman is the first Regional Area Director of the newly reorganized US Central Region.

Karen M. Couch, '07, Salina, Kansas, is the new executive director of the Salina Emergence Aid Food Bank. Couch most recently served as director of family strengthening services for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas. Her legal career has provided the opportunity to hone communication and interpersonal skills and working in the non-profit sector has enhanced her leadership skills in grant writing, fundraising and managing staff.

Claudia J. Dawson, '07, Olathe, Kansas, is now an attorney at SafeHome.

Mark A. Dupree, '07, Kansas City, Kansas, was appointed to the Kansas Sentencing Commission.

Mark A. Dupree, '07, Kansas City, Kansas, was appointed to the 14-member Governor's Commission on Racial Equity and Justice which will focus on law enforcement/community relations. The commission will study racial equity and justice in Kansas, and hold listening sessions with Kansans across the state and make recommendations to the governor, the Legislature, and local governments on steps that can be taken to increase racial equity and justice in Kansas.

Keron A. Wright, '07, Dallas, Texas, is now the managing partner at Wright Legal Services, PLLC.

Laurel A. Klein Searles, '08, Topeka, was appointed to the Kansas Human Rights Commission. The commission seeks to eliminate and prevent discrimination and assure equal opportunities in the state for employment, housing and other opportunities in public accommodation and housing.

Elizabeth J. Lay, '09, Columbus, Nebraska, has joined Jarecki Maul PC, L.L.O.  Elizabeth previously worked for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and most recently served seven years as a Deputy Platte County Attorney.

Timothy M. Belsan, '09, Washington, D.C., is the inaugural Director of the Enforcement Section within the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Immigration Litigation.

Timothy R. Woods, '09, Dodge City, Kansas, is the Kansas 25th Judicial District's new magistrate judge

2010s

Maryann M. Hon, '10, Jenks, Oklahoma, is now with the Whitten Law Firm.

Jodi E. Litfin, '10, Topeka, was elected Secretary of the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka (WAAT) for the 2020-2021 term. Litfin is an Assistant Solicitor General with the Office of the Kansas Attorney General. WAAT was established in 1984 to advance the interests of women in the legal profession and the community. It seeks to promote the efficient administrative of justice and constant improvement of the law, encourage participation of women in professional and bar organizations, promote equality and social justice for all people, promote relations between the legal profession and the public, and provide women attorneys with a supportive environment to network professionally.

Margaret E. Robertson, '10, Wichita, has joined Hinkle Law Firm LLC. Robertson's practice focuses on business formation and planning, estate planning, asset protection, and trust services. She also provides counsel on business succession planning, equity agreements, and contracts.

Morgan L. Richards, '11, Dallas, Texas, started a new position as Director of Gift Planning at Southern Methodist University.

Whitney L. Casement, '12, Topeka, received a YWCA 2020 Women of Excellence Award. 

Jennifer A. Cocking, '12, Topeka, was elected President of the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka (WAAT) for the 2020-2021 term. Cocking is Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Capitol Federal® Savings Bank. WAAT was established in 1984 to advance the interests of women in the legal profession and the community. It seeks to promote the efficient administrative of justice and constant improvement of the law, encourage participation of women in professional and bar organizations, promote equality and social justice for all people, promote relations between the legal profession and the public, and provide women attorneys with a supportive environment to network professionally.

Jennifer M. Cocking, '12, Topeka, received a YWCA 2020 Women of Excellence Award.

LeTiffany Obozele, '12, Topeka, is now Chief of Prosecution for the City of Topeka Legal Department.

Kali M. Hague, '13, Washington, D.C., was promoted to partner at Jetlaw, LLC.

Colin W. Holthaus, '13, Topeka, has been selected to serve as the director of Kansas Correctional Industries (KCI). Holthaus has previously held positions at the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers, BNSF Railway and Frito-Lay.

Anna M. Jumpponen, '13, Wichita, has joined the Stange Law Firm.

India E. Keefover, '13, Atlanta, Georgia, started a new position as an Associate at Deming, Parker, Hoffman, Campbell & Daly, LLC.

Eli M. O'Brien, '14, Wichita, was honored by Best Lawyers in America® 2021 in the practice area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar. Before joining Monnat & Spurrier in 2015, O'Brien was a trial attorney with the Sedgwick County Public Defender's Office. 

Jennifer L. Ouellette, '14, Topeka, was elected Treasurer of the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka (WAAT) for the 2020-2021 term. Ouellette is a staff attorney with the Kansas Insurance Department working with the Kansas Workers Compensation Fund. WAAT was established in 1984 to advance the interests of women in the legal profession and the community. It seeks to promote the efficient administrative of justice and constant improvement of the law, encourage participation of women in professional and bar organizations, promote equality and social justice for all people, promote relations between the legal profession and the public, and provide women attorneys with a supportive environment to network professionally.

Craig D. Hulse, '15, Shawnee, Kansas, has been appointed to the Washburn University Board of Regents.

Brett A. Shanks, '15, Kansas City, Missouri, has accepted a position as a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trade Commission.

Kristina J. Branstetter, '17, Fairfield, Iowa, is the Legal Department Associate Director of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.  

Victoria K. Gordon, '17, Leawood, Kansas, has joined Mann Tucker Muir, LLC.

Alosha Moore, '17, Dayton, Ohio, has joined the U.S. Air Force as an International Contract Specialist.

Kelly W. Puckett, '17, Trenton, Missouri, was appointed Grundy County Prosecuting Attorney. Puckett has served as the interim prosecuting attorney for Grundy County since January 2019.

Luis M. Solorio, '17, Topeka has joined the City of Topeka Legal Department.

Matthew W. Adams, '18, Wichita, is now with Foreman Law LLC.

Joseph R. Aker, '18, Salina, Kansas, has joined the law firm of Hampton & Royce, LC as an associate attorney practicing in the areas of agricultural law, estate planning, probate and trust administration, real estate law, business law, and tax planning.

Rebecca E. Bergkamp, '19, Wichita, has joined Hinkle Law Firm LLC.

Ashley E. Franden, '19, Topeka, Franden joined Stange Law Firm, PC as a Junior Associate Attorney, serving Shawnee County and the surrounding area. Before joining Strange Law, Franden spent time as a Social Worker as a Permanency Case Manager helping children in foster care find permanent homes.

Steven N. Letourneau, '19, Topeka, is now a Trust Officer at Capitol Federal Bank.

Kacey S. Mayes, '19, Wichita, has joined Triplett Woolf Garretson, LLC.

Jarod M. Reiger, '19, Hutchinson, Kansas, is now with Young Williams CSS.

Jason D. Steele, '19, Austin, Texas, is an Assistant County Attorney at the Williamson County Attorney's Office.

Luke. J. Williams, '19, Wichita, has joined DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers.

Elias M. Underwood, '19, Wichita, has joined Foulston as an associate attorney. Underwood is a member of Foulston's transactional practice group, where he advises corporate clients in the area of tax law. Before attending law school, Underwood, a CPA, was a senior assurance auditor at with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, in its Kansas City, Missouri office. He primarily served clients in the insurance and reinsurance industries as well as assisting with audits in the asset management and business transaction services industries. He also led on-site inventories with manufacturing clients across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

2020s

Jacob G. Holly, '20, Topeka, has joined Foulston as an associate. Holly will be on the firm's Northeast Kansas Transactional team, counseling clients in the areas of business and corporate, administrative, estate planning and real estate law.  Prior to joining Foulston, Holly clerked at the Shawnee County District Court where he assisted with a wide range of court-related matters, including a number of Kansas Administrative Agency actions.

Lance R. Smith, '20, Topeka, has joined the team at Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer.

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Recent Notifications

Wendell (Bud) F. Cowan, '74, Overland Park, Kansas, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Insurance Law.

David M. Rapp, '76, Wichita, was recognized as a 2021 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers.  

David M. Traster, '81, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 ""Lawyer of the Year"" in the area of Environmental Law.

The Honorable Mark A. Ward, '81, Fort Scott, Kansas, was reappointed to the Judges Assistance Committee by the Kansas Supreme Court. Ward will serve four-year terms that began on July 1 and will end June 30, 2024. The Judges Assistance Committee helps Kansas judges in need due to mental or physical disability or addiction. 

Stanley Spurrier, '83, Wichita, by Best Lawyers in America® 2021 in the areas of: Appellate Practice; Criminal Defense: General Practice; and Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

The Honorable James R. Kepple, '85, Manhattan, Kansas, was reappointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the District Magistrate Judges Certification Committee. Kepple has served in the 21st Judicial District, which includes Riley and Clay counties, since 2017.

William R. Wood II, '86, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 ""Lawyer of the Year"" in the area of Banking and Finance Law.

Kevin J. Arnel, '87, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 ""Lawyer of the Year"" in the area of Nonprofit /Charities Law.

Craig W. West, '87, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 ""Lawyer of the Year"" in the area of Elder Law.

Brian L. Leininger, '89, Overland Park, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.  Leininger will serve six-year terms that began on July 1 and will end June 30, 2026. The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program was created to help lawyers seek treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse or emotional distress.

Mark R. Maloney, '89, Wichita, was recognized as a 2021 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers.

The Honorable Kenley J. Thompson, '89, Houston, Texas, has become an Immigration Judge with the US Department of Justice.

Stewart T. Weaver, '90, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 ""Lawyer of the Year"" in the area of Elder Law. 

Jeffrey P. Degraffendried, '92, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Litigation - Labor and Employment.

Scott MacBeth, '92, Wichita, was recognized as a 2021 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers.

The Honorable Jacquelyn E. Rokusek, '93, Shawnee, Kansas was appointed to the 10th District Court of Johnson County. Rokusek is managing partner of Rokusek Stein Law in Johnson County and formerly was an assistant Johnson County District Attorney.

Patricia A. Voth Blankenship, '98, Wichita, was recognized as the Best Lawyers® 2021 ""Lawyer of the Year"" in the area of Real Estate. 

The Honorable Kevin N. Berens, '99, Colby, Kansas, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to its Access to Justice Committee. Chief Judge Kevin Berens serves in the 15th Judicial District, composed of Cheyenne, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, and Wallace counties. The Access to Justice Committee makes recommendations on issues such as increasing resources available for legal services for self-represented litigants in civil cases improving planning and coordination for legal services delivery and reducing potential barriers to equal access to justice.

Jesse J. Gutierrez, '00, Wichita, has joined the Hinkle Law Firm.

Kayla L. Stavinoha, '00, Wichita, has joined the Hinkle Law Firm.

Justin A. Barrett, '01, Colby, Kansas, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.  Barrett will serve six-year terms that began on July 1 and will end June 30, 2026. The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program was created to help lawyers seek treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse or emotional distress.

Emily A. Hartz, '01, Lawrence, was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program Board.  Hartz, will complete an unexpired term ending June 30, 2023; The Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program was created to help lawyers seek treatment for physical or mental illness, substance abuse or emotional distress.

Sarah E. Reichart, '04, Topeka, has been named director of the Supreme Court appeals where she will directly report to and assist the chief justice in the management of the Supreme Court docket and processing of cases. Reichart has served in the court's central staff as a research attorney for Chief Justice Luckert, as the court's motions attorney, and as assistant general counsel to the chief justice. Reichart chairs the Supreme Court Rules Committee.

Melissa A. Moodie, ‘05, Wichita, has joined the Hinkle Law Firm as Of Counsel.

Timothy M. Belsan, '09, Washington, D.C., is the inaugural Director of the Enforcement Section within the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Immigration Litigation.

Whitney L. Casement, '12, Topeka, received a YWCA 2020 Women of Excellence Award. 

Jennifer M. Cocking, '12, Topeka, received a YWCA 2020 Women of Excellence Award.

LeTiffany Obozele, '12, Topeka, is now Chief of Prosecution for the City of Topeka Legal Department.

Anna M. Jumpponen, '13, Wichita, has joined the Stange Law Firm.

Eli M. O'Brien, '14, Wichita, was honored by Best Lawyers in America® 2021 in the practice area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar. Before joining Monnat & Spurrier in 2015, O'Brien was a trial attorney with the Sedgwick County Public Defender's Office. 

Kristina J. Branstetter, '17, Fairfield, Iowa, is the Legal Department Associate Director of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.  

Luis M. Solorio, '17, Topeka has joined the City of Topeka Legal Department.

Lance R. Smith, '20, Topeka, has joined the team at Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer.

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Please send us information about your job, any honors you might have received, changes in marital and family status, or any amazing things that you have done. We'd love to include it in the Class Action section of the Washburn Lawyer and in your alumni biographical record.