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WJA 2021: Kristi Burmeister

“From my early childhood, I loudly advocated for myself,” says Kristi Burmeister. “How else do you get heard as a child in a one-room schoolhouse or in a household with triplets?” She is one of those triplets, by the way.

burmeisterWhen she was growing up on a farm in Nebraska, Burmeister recalls people telling her that she should be an attorney. The idea stuck with her. After earning a B.A. from the University of Nebraska, she went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In her civil litigation career, she has handled every kind of case — from “slip-and-fall” cases to contract disputes. Now, her focus is commercial litigation.

Beginning her career as an associate and later a partner in a large law firm, Burmeister spent most of her time working as national counsel for a Fortune 100 company dedicated to providing life-saving products and services. She had the opportunity to litigate all over the country and to learn from some of the country’s best attorneys.

In 2018, she founded her own firm, PEAK Litigation. This is a general practice law firm in Kansas City, focused on civil defense litigation.

One of her most memorable cases was a plaintiff’s case in which she served as lead trial counsel working with an all-female trial team. Although Burmeister typically handles defense cases, this time she represented the plaintiff. They secured a favorable jury verdict for her client following a week-long trial in Kansas. The jury awarded her client just under $500,000, after finding that the defendants wrongfully took annuity proceeds belonging to her client.

In January 2021, Burmeister second-chaired a three-week virtual trial in Pennsylvania. The case involved a commercial dispute between two large companies, and the plaintiff sought more than $100 million in damages from her client. This was a bench trial, and she received a defense verdict.

She still remembers the first time she first-chaired a trial. She was still an associate in the firm at the time. It was a slip-and-fall case in New Jersey. The plaintiff claimed she was permanently disabled as a result of this fall. Burmeister worked up the case and handled the two-week trial. The result was a defense verdict.

“I have handled straight-forward slip-and-fall cases as well as multi-million-dollar contract disputes,” Burmeister says. “I have resolved high-stakes, business-to-business litigation. No matter the case or the issues, clients are best served by a lawyer who thinks strategically and practically. A ‘win’ is not truly a win if the client’s legal fees are unreasonable or if there is a lack of alignment between the client and attorney. I am always mindful of the value attorneys need to bring to any dispute.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021