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WJA 2021: Kristine L. Kappel

Born in Texas and raised in Germany and Kansas, Kris Kappel is a self-described “military brat” whose love for science initially directed her into an educational career. She taught chemistry and trigonometry for four years.

kappelThough she liked the classroom, law school provided a new set of challenges that allowed her to use her expertise in a different way.

“In the patent world everything is new, inventive and interesting,” said the 45-year-old UMKC graduate. “I like helping people with their brands and building up equity in their companies.”

That’s how Kappel, who was named an Up and Coming Lawyer in 2014 by Missouri Lawyers Weekly, ended up in intellectual property law. It allowed her to remain a part of the world of cutting-edge technology during the last decade and half at Husch Blackwell.

“I like to be able to help our clients protect what they create,” she said. “Being on that ground floor when somebody is building their business, I feel like that is one of the areas I really enjoy about my practice.”

Her nominator agrees noting the wide array of industries, from health care to biofuels, in which Kappel is making an impact.

“Kris is a recognized leader in the field of Intellectual Property and is a frequent writer, editor and speaker on related topics,” they wrote. “Some of Kris’s most recent speaking engagements have included topics such as how Intellectual Property and the growing market of medical cannabis intersect and its impact on businesses. Additionally, she has adapted her practice to the fast, everchanging world 2020 presented and has written on how to maintain trademark registrations in a pandemic.”

Today, Kappel is co-chair of Husch Blackwell’s IP group of roughly 80 attorneys and is vice-chair of the firm’s hiring committee. She said her field continues to expand with IP services contracts growing in the cloud space and continued innovation in software and technology licensing agreements.

“People have been inventing things from day one,” she said. “People are always going to need to protect their ideas and their businesses.”

Well-known for her ability to mentor fellow attorneys, Kappel is also deeply involved in her community volunteering time to serve in various volunteer roles including on the board of directors for Community LINC, an organization working to end homelessness. She even finds the time to host a virtual cooking class for Husch Blackwell associates who want to learn the complexities of homemade pasta.

“Kris balances the demands of her practice and her excellent service to her clients with also being just an exceptional woman on a personal level,” writes her nominator. “As we mentioned, she is a caregiver, a mom, a mentor, and a wonderful friend. Kris meets each day with an amazing personality and enthusiasm.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021