An organization must have a lot of confidence in anyone it hires into a key position.
But it takes even more confidence to let the employee create the position itself. Yet that’s exactly what UMB Financial Corporation did when it promoted Amy Moore Harris from her role as corporate counsel and manager of judicial compliance to a new position as manager of legal operations.
“I had suggested that there might be ways to modernize and make our department a little more efficient,” she said. “I put together a proposal for a legal operations role and flew out to Denver to see our CEO and he very graciously approved it on the spot and told me I could start that day.”
At the beginning of this year, Harris moved up to chief legal officer where she manages a staff of more than 25 attorneys.
Still, there is some nostalgia for the courtroom.
“Now, that I’ve gotten to dive into this new role and gotten to see the value that it adds, it has been easier to step back from being a litigator,” said the 36-year-old former clerk for Jackson County Judge Justine Del Muro. “It’s been a real joy and I feel really fortunate that our company was forward thinking and creative to want to have someone in this role to push the department forward.”
Today, Harris, a southwest Missouri native who graduated from Mizzou law school, said her favorite thing is to manage and develop legal talent.
“I love fostering creativity with our lawyers. I love supporting that,” she said. “My biggest thrill is seeing my team succeed, seeing our lawyers look good in front of the executives and help the company make good decisions.”
The other part of her job is creating a strategy and guiding the direction of her legal team.
“What can we do to work better and smarter and provide more value for our client and be trusted advisors?” she said.
She admits that there was never a grand design for her to become a lawyer. In fact, she initially studied musical theater before switching to political science. Later, she managed state representative campaigns for the Democratic Party.
Now, she’s happy to be where she’s needed.
“This is a job that really leverages that skill and that interest of mine,” she said. “I just feel really lucky that I get to do my dream job.”
A member of the Sue Shear Women’s Leadership Academy, Harris was recognized as an Up and Coming Attorney in 2017 by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. This year she joined the board of Lazarus Ministries KC.