Kimberley Spies initially had plans to go into teaching or social work.
“It was really my dad who said if you want to help people, you should be a lawyer,” said the 64-year-old shareholder and director at Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes.
A graduate of UMKC, Spies, who has concentrated her practice in project and corporate finance and business transactions, said that her education in economics made it clear that she wasn’t looking for a career in litigation. Her first job dealt with a specialization in public finance issues.
“It was nothing that I learned about in law school,” she noted, “but I kind of fell into that, and I really enjoyed it.”
Later, she’d interact with issuance of tax-exempt bonds and went on to work at her own small law firm. She’s been with her present firm since 2013, often dealing with transactional law on bonds representing developers or cities.
She likes finding out about her client’s goals and helping them with a heavily regulated process that could otherwise seem foreign and unfamiliar.
“You really get into what their needs are. What are the risks to them?” she said. “You are explaining the transaction to them because this isn’t something they do all the time.”
She likes her practice and her organization and says that others have helped her a great deal along the way.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work at firms where the lawyers are all very collaborative and each one will have a strength that they bring,” Spies said. “I’ve really learned to work with other lawyers, consult them and involve them because I know one piece of it but there is fortunately a lot of other lawyers that I work with that are part of the team.”
According to her nominator, Spies, one of two women on the firm’s management committee, has played roles in a number of initiatives including a major redesign of St. Louis’s Cervantes Convention Center. She has also served as bond counsel to the St. Louis Industrial Development Authority and as issuer’s counsel on $50 million in bonds from the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of Kansas City to facilitate development of the historic Mark Twain Tower for retail and residential purposes.
“Within her practice,” writes her nominator. “Kim utilizes her skills in public finance to hone in on her primary focus which includes the use of special taxing districts and other public incentives such as tax increment financing, transportation development districts, community improvement districts and neighborhood improvement districts.”