Price graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1993 and joined the federal public defender’s office for the Western District of Missouri in Springfield, where she served for 13 years.
In 2006, she opened her own practice, the Law Office of Nancy Price. She still primarily focuses on criminal defense.
“I was just completely drawn to it,” she said. “I think it is incumbent on all defense attorneys to keep the government honest and to make sure they don’t wrongly convict. We need to do as much as we can to prevent that, to make sure [defendants’] rights are upheld.”
Price said she’s a firm believer in constitutional rights. She ticked off several listed in the Bill of Rights, from the right to counsel to the right to remain silent.
“I believe in all of those rights, and it’s the only thing that’s going to keep us living in a just society governed by the rule of law,” she said.
Her clients keep her passionate about her work, Price said.
“I work very hard for my clients, and I want the best for them,” she said. “It’s not my place to consider or judge whether they’re guilty or innocent. It’s my job to offer them the best defense.”
In her nearly 25 years of practice, Price said she’s found few people who are truly “bad guys.”
“The vast majority of my clients are people who just make mistakes – sometimes continuously make mistakes – because they were not brought up to understand taking responsibility for their actions,” she said. “They definitely deserve someone on their side. If I’m not going to be there, who is?”
Price has built a reputation of providing thorough, zealous representation for her clients. That’s the duty of a criminal-defense attorney, she said.
“You have to challenge and make sure that everything the prosecutor is saying is consistent with the evidence, that the evidence means what they’re saying it means or that the evidence exists,” she said.
Sometimes that requires an aggressive approach, she said.
“You have to be constantly on guard to make sure that you’re not letting something go by that will harm your client,” she said.
Getting dismissals for her clients is the most rewarding part of her job, she said, especially because it allows her clients to avoid the pain of a trial.
“It’s a lot of trauma for the defendant,” she said.
One of the cases of which she remains most proud involved “an extraordinarily serious federal matter” that never culminated in criminal charges for her client. In that case, she said prosecutors already had indicted one person, and she’d learned her client, a corporation, also was a target of their investigation.
Price worked on the matter for two years, also working with an attorney on a related civil matter. She said defense counsel presented “a very good defense,” and the client was not charged.
“For this client, it would have been devastating to have a public indictment,” she said.
Beyond her practice, Price is the incoming president of the board for Isabel’s House, a crisis nursery in Springfield.
“It’s a wonderful organization, very well-thought-of in the community,” she said.