Ebonie Davis was inspired to consider becoming a lawyer during her sophomore year of high school when her brother experienced what she describes as a “negative and violent” interaction with police.
“I thought it was a huge injustice and, from that point on, wanted to pursue a career in law,” said the 37-year-old Kansas Citian.
After graduation from the University of Kansas, she initially planned a career in criminal law but instead took a different course working with the low-income housing tax credit program at a real estate development firm. Later, she’d join the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s general counsel’s office dealing with multi-family housing matters.
Finally, her expertise would take her to her present position in Armstrong Teasdale’s Financial and Real Estate Group, where she works on everything from commercial leasing to construction.
“I like transactional law because generally both parties on each side of the deal are happy when the transaction is complete as opposed to it being adversarial,” she said.
Currently serving as CLE Vice Chair for the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, she was named president of the Jackson County Bar Association last year. Outside the legal world, Davis serves on the advisory board of the non-profit AltCap and gives her time to the Housing Committee of Unite KC.
“Ebonie is an exemplary role model and has made it a priority to mentor law students who attend her alma mater, KU Law, through KU’s Mentoring Program, and new attorneys in the Kansas City area,” writes her nominator. “In addition to mentoring, she has dedicated many hours of service to KU Law, usually speaking to law students about her previous law career with the federal government, speaking on panels discussing diversity in transactional law, or participating in the law school’s Career Service Day.”
Davis said that young attorneys need not feel intimidated working around those with more experience as long as they are willing to do what it takes to understand the issues and educate themselves.
“I would go back to that old saying that my mentor used to tell me that the brain has the amazing ability of catching up with hard work,” she said. “You put in the work, the extra hours to train yourself to study that field that you want to perfect and you’ll get there.”
Davis said that she feels it is important to represent women of color in her area of law.
“I think it is a great privilege,” she said. “Specifically, in the area I practice, there are very few females in the transactional arena so I think it is a great privilege to practice in this area.”