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Home / Supplements and Special Sections / 2015 Women's Justice Awards / The Litigation Practitioner Award: Elaine D. Koch

The Litigation Practitioner Award: Elaine D. Koch

The Litigation Practitioner Award: Elaine D. Koch is a partner at Bryan Cave’s Kansas City office, where she specializes in labor and employment law and served as the global leader of the firm’s labor and employment practice group for eight years. She earned her law degree in 1984 from Columbia University.

Elaine D. Koch is a partner at Bryan Cave’s Kansas City office, where she specializes in labor and employment law and served as the global leader of the firm’s labor and employment practice group for eight years. She earned her law degree in 1984 from Columbia University.

What are some of your proudest career accomplishments? Starting an internship for inner city high school youths in Kansas City. I still run into some of the former interns (from years ago) who went on to good jobs at various companies around town.
Also, I think back fondly on a few jury trials I won that no one expected me to win. I can’t give details without violating client confidentiality.
Finally, I remember meeting a bank president right after taking on defense of a case for the bank years ago. He was very intrigued and told me he had never had a “lady lawyer.” He was willing to let me represent the bank, though, and I went on to win in the trial court and then in the Missouri Court of Appeals and Missouri Supreme Court.

What inspired you to get involved in the justice system? When I was in seventh grade my mother had jury duty in our small Tennessee town, and I walked to court to watch after school. On one hand I loved it and I wanted to be one of the lawyers, but I was also appalled at how the women and minorities were treated in the courthouse. That experience first intrigued me, and then throughout high school I saw that the attorneys in town tended to be involved in politics and community affairs. I wanted to have that kind of life that made an impact on my community.

 

What has been your favorite part of the job? The wide variety of people I meet and the fact I am constantly learning — even after over 30 years of practice. I also like to win, although I recognize a “win” varies in different situations.

 

What is something that would surprise people about you? That I am a secret artist.

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever given or received? The serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change those things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

When you were growing up, what did you want to be? A lawyer, an FBI agent, an artist, a doctor, a professional basketball player…