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Up & Coming Honorees: Barrett J. Vahle, 40

Partner, Stueve Siegel Hanson, Kansas City

barrett-j-vahlePractice Areas: Class actions, business litigation

Law School: University of Missouri

There wasn’t a big “AHA!” moment for Barrett J. Vahle when it came to his decision to practice law. He wasn’t inspired by Atticus, nor did he have a near brush with the justice system. He lived in Columbia, and he received an invitation to go to the law school. And it just happened to work out.

“It was a great decision,” he said.

That may be an understatement. Vahle was the editor-in-chief of the Missouri Law Review, clerked for a federal judge and earned the Judge Shepard Barclay Prize for the graduating law student “who has attained the highest standing in scholarship and moral leadership.” He also graduated at the top of his class, among other things.

Vahle’s first jury trial led to the acquittal of his clients on federal mortgage-fraud charges. Second-chairing a criminal case early in his career, he was responsible for the briefing in a capital case, where the court found his client was ineligible for execution due to his mental status.

Vahle joined Kansas City firm Stueve Siegel Hanson in 2009, representing clients of all types in a variety of litigation. Recently, his practice area has focused on data security. He served as co-lead counsel in In re: The Home Depot, Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation and was the lead drafter of the nearly 600-page consolidated complaint in In re: Equifax Customer Data Security Breach Litigation.

Had Vahle not become an attorney, he says he may have chosen to be an ecology professor. The legal landscape might look a little different if he had.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Get started at a big defense firm. They are designed to train young lawyers.

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

Learn how to write, and never stop writing.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I grew up working on a family farm.

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