Google the phrase “Up and Coming,” and you’ll find lots of examples of up-and-comers as well as definitions. They explain that the adjective describes someone who is likely to achieve success in the future based on current progress.
You knew that already. Me, too. So it’s obvious why Missouri Lawyers Media chose it as the title of these annual awards that recognize remarkable attorneys early in their careers.
But I’m starting to believe we got the title all wrong. After all, the folks highlighted on these pages are succeeding now.
Not later. Now.
Read the current career stats of these honorees, and you will see each has ticked off accomplishments most of us find either elusive or decades in the making. And yet each honoree has achieved at these high levels before reaching age 40, or while practicing for less than 10 years.
My career began when these rock stars were just greeting life. Their careers are decades away from completion with accolades we can only imagine today.
We also celebrate mentors and law firm leaders who personify the trajectory for the Up & Coming honorees. Not only are they exceptional in their own careers, but they pay it forward by reaching back and offering a hand up. They recognize that true success often relies on a listening ear or a word of warning about challenges they’ve faced on their own similar paths.
Each year, Missouri Lawyers Media receives scores of nominations for these honors. Poring through the achievements of so many worthy candidates is a daunting task accomplished through thoughtful, deliberate discussion.
The honorees you will read about in this section define what this award is all about — early-career attorneys achieving at the highest levels.
It doesn’t matter what moniker we place on the award. No one will remember that.
What will be remembered is the accomplishment.
Wale Akinmoladun, Spencer Fane
Amanda Blackwood, Montee Law Firm
Thad Blenke, Thompson Coburn
Portia Britt, Maryville University
Paul L. Brusati, Armstrong Teasdale
Wade Carr, Dentons US
Ally Cunningham, Lathrop GPM
Lillian Davis, Polsinelli
Jillian Rebecca Dent, Stueve Siegel Hanson
Jason M. Finkes, Finkes Legal
Jared T. Frick, Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick
Kehl Friesen, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice
Brandon Gutshall, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Patrick Hunt, Baty Otto Coronado
Ryan M. Hyde, Behr McCarter Potter
Jamaal Jordan, Stinson
Anne Kerns, Mickes O’Toole
Tanner A. Kirksey, Stanton | Barton
Jeffrey C. Klaus, Lashly & Baer
Alex Ledbetter, Finney Injury Law
Elizabeth C. Lillis, Growe Eisen Karlen Eilerts
Matthew Martin, BHaar & Woods
Matthew Mueller, Graves Garrett
Ian Murphy, Margulis Gelfand
Bethany G. Parsons, Turner, Reid, Duncan, Loomer & Patton
Diedre Peters, Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas and Hanschen
Jamiel Peterson, The Law Offices of Jamiel J. Peterson
Duvel (DJ) Pierre, Spencer Fane
Andrew C. Robb, Robb & Robb
Brittany Sanders Robb, Robb & Robb
Nick Savio, Franke Schultz & Mullen
Tyler Schaeffer, Carmody MacDonald
Christopher J. Seibold, Brown & James
Shaun Stallworth, Holman Schiavone
Courtney Steelman, Husch Blackwell
Courtney M. Stout, Williams Dirks Dameron
Samantha J. Wenger, Dentons US
Greg Whiston, Seigfreid Bingham
Chris Wray, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Lindsay Wuller Aggarwal, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Sophie Zavaglia, SWMW Law
Law Firm Leaders
Hissan Anis, Avant Law Group
Sarah Lynn Baltzell, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Jennifer Therrien, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale
Elizabeth Wente, Spencer Fane
Kelsey Blackwell, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office
John David Hatcher, Newton County Prosecutor’s Officee
Lesley D. Smith, Federal Public Defender, Western District of Missouri
Judith Westmoreland, Jackson County CASA
Roger K. McCrummen, McCrummen Immigration Law Group
Ali Ragsdale Olszeski, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner