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General Practitioner: Jean Maneke

The Maneke Law Group

Jean Maneke often knows the next big news scoop before most people.

With more than 25 years of experience working in media law, including libel and privacy matters, copyright and trademark issues, and access to public information, Maneke serves as legal counsel for the Missouri Press Association. She assists reporters with getting access to records and vetting stories.maneke-jean-001

“I’m still a journalist at heart,” said Maneke, who started her career as a federal court reporter at the Springfield News-Leader before going to law school. “Taking the phone calls from reporters all over the state gives me the ability to feel like I’m part of the stories that are developing. I get to think about a different subject every day. I learn a lot about a lot of different things, and every day there’s a new question that comes in that I haven’t had before.”

After earning her degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Maneke went to the Kansas City Times, then the morning edition of the Kansas City Star, as a financial reporter/legal affairs columnist. She later joined a media-insurance company as a lawyer in its claims department and an advising lawyer to its underwriting department.

Today, Maneke’s practice in Kansas City also deals with a wide range of intellectual property issues, with clients including book publishers, advertising and public relations firms, broadcasters, recording artists, film producers and photographers. She’s represented people from The Associated Press, The Guardian and BuzzFeed, a Broadway producer, a New York Times bestselling author and an IMAX film director.

She regularly reviews copy and manuscripts for publishing concerns, screens video for broadcast clients, reviews screenplays or rough cuts for film or tape clients and consults on creative-arts issues.

When she’s not working with high-profile clients on both coasts, Maneke can be found in Holt County in northwest Missouri, where her husband’s family had a practice for three generations. When they stopped practicing, Maneke reopened the law office and began traveling there one day a week to help local people with corporate work, real estate transactions, guardianship issues and other matters.

“Up in that area, I find quiet, which is nice. It’s fun. It’s a different world up there,” she said.

Maneke’s community involvement is wide-ranging and includes work with the Volunteer Attorney Project, Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT, the State Legislative Committee for Media Law Resources Center and the Missouri Sunshine Coalition.

All of the work Maneke does is grounded in a strong belief in the First Amendment and the vital need for journalism in our society.

“Government is good. I really believe people who are elected have the public’s interest at heart, but there are people who don’t. If we didn’t have strong journalists doing their jobs, the public would suffer,” she said.