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Michelle L. Cocayne, 32

Michelle L. CocayneAssistant Prosecuting Attorney, Clay County Prosecutor’s Office

Location: Liberty

Practice Areas: Criminal law

Law School: University of Missouri-Kansas City

Were she not a lawyer, Michelle Cocayne believes that, no matter her title, she would devote herself to women and children in need. As an undergraduate student, she worked with Legal Advocates for Abused Women in St. Louis, where she learned firsthand how instrumental lawyers are in bringing justice to the lives of victims.

Prior to joining the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office in 2016, Cocayne previously served as legal counsel for the Missouri Department of Revenue and as a law clerk to Jackson County Circuit Judge Jalilah Otto. During law school, she was president of the Student Bar Association and a volunteer clerk for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Cocayne is involved with the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City and teaches criminal law CLEs through the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

What is your biggest accomplishment this year?

Although COVID-19 has affected my work recently, in 2019 I tried multiple jury trials, including getting a guilty verdict for a child victim against her abusive stepfather, which provided the family much needed closure and safety.

What has been your favorite moment as an attorney?

There have been many, but one of the most rewarding moments was being with the family of a murder victim when we got a guilty verdict against the defendant. The relief and gratitude the family expressed to me made the long hours of trial preparation and stress all worth it.

Anything else you want people to know about you?

My husband and I have been renovating and restoring a Victorian-era home, so I am good with a hammer (a real one, not just the hammer of justice).