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Missouri Lawyers Awards 2022: Desarae Harrah

Harrah Law

Having founded her own firm in 2018, Desarae Harrah is right where she wants to be.

“I really wanted to get back to downtown where I live and serve the community that I’m in,” she said.

That service has become even more evident this past year during which she was named secretary and treasurer of her law school’s alumni board. This year also saw her appointment to the Jackson County Mental Health Fund Board.

“The vast majority of decisions that affect us on a day-to-day basis is your local community,” said the 43-year-old who was named an Up-and-Coming Lawyer by Missouri Lawyers Weekly in 2016. “Not that I’m saying that national politics isn’t important but the decisions that affect your day-to-day life are primarily made in the community in which you live. That gets overlooked a lot of times because we get so caught up in the national politics of things.”

Harrah’s passion for the law was evident early.

“It was kind of just something I decided I wanted to do at age six and never gave it a second thought,” she said.

After graduation from UMKC, the Kansas native gained experience as a clerk for Jackson County Judge Vernon Scoville before moving on to Martin, Leigh, Law & Fritzlen where she quickly made partner. In 2014, she went to Collins & Jones where she served as senior counsel. She became founder and managing partner at Harrah Law four years later.

Specializing in civil and commercial litigation, real estate, construction, banking and creditor’s rights, her small firm represents clients in Kansas and Missouri at both the federal and state levels.

Her appointments in 2021 join a slew of previous involvements in which she still finds time to lend her skills. She’s still part of the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red and the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program and Alumni Board as well as the Solo and Small Firm co-chair for the Missouri Bar.

“All of the organizations I’ve been involved with feel very strongly about the empowerment of women and making sure that women are equally represented on those boards,” said Harrah who has also done fundraising work for the United Women’s Empowerment Foundation and the Kansas City CARE Clinic.

Her nominator makes it clear why she’s gained such respect in her field.

“It is not only Ms. Harrah’s legal work but additional volunteer work within the community that truly illustrates how deserving she is of this award,” they wrote. “She sets an example within her law firm and as an entrepreneur and small firm owner, all while staying heavily involved in a variety of legal and community organizations.”

Missouri Lawyers Awards 2022