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2023 Up & Coming Awards: Publisher’s letter, honorees

Staff Report//October 11, 2023//

2023 Up & Coming Awards: Publisher’s letter, honorees

Staff Report//October 11, 2023//

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Google the phrase “Up and Coming,” and you’ll find lots of examples of up-and-comers as well as definitions. They explain that the adjective describes someone who is likely to achieve success in the future based on current progress.

You knew that already. Me, too. So it’s obvious why Missouri Lawyers Media chose it as the title of these annual awards that recognize remarkable attorneys early in their careers.

But I’m starting to believe we got the title all wrong. After all, the folks highlighted on these pages are succeeding now.

Not later. Now.

Read the current career stats of these honorees, and you will see each has ticked off accomplishments most of us find either elusive or decades in the making. And yet each honoree has achieved at these high levels before reaching age 40, or while practicing for less than 10 years.

We also celebrate mentors and law firm leaders who personify the trajectory for the Up & Coming honorees. Not only are they exceptional in their own careers, but they pay it forward by reaching back and offering a hand up. They recognize that true success often relies on a listening ear or a word of warning about challenges they’ve faced on their own similar paths.

Each year, Missouri Lawyers Media receives scores of nominations for these honors. Poring through the achievements of so many worthy candidates is a daunting task accomplished through thoughtful, deliberate discussion.

The honorees you will read about in this section define what this award is all about — early-career attorneys achieving at the highest levels.

It doesn’t matter what moniker we place on the award. No one will remember that.

What will be remembered is the accomplishment.


Susan A. Bocamazo, Esq., Publisher

The honorees:

Tomi Akinyemi, Spencer Fane

Robert Bruce, Doyle & Bruce

Jessica Caldera, Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer

Patrick Carmody, Carmody MacDonald

Taylor Connolly, Brown & James

Ebonie Davis, Lathrop GPM

Sarah Duggan, Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian

Danielle Durban, Capes Sokol

Brent Dwerlkotte, Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Katie Fechte, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale

Joseph Feierabend, Miller Schirger

Samuel Gladney, Gladney Law Group

Allison Greenfield, Knight Nicastro MacKay

Rebecca Guntli, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

Beth Haden, Lathrop GPM

Jenn Hatcher, Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Hayley Hughes, Gausnell, O’Keefe & Thomas

Garrett Hunkins, Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes

Katherine Johnson, Rogers, Ehrhardt, Weber & Howard

Demi Jones, Stanton | Barton

Jordan Kane, Stueve Siegel Hanson

Ryan Knopf, Cockerham & Associates

Keaton Knott, Franke Schultz & Mullen

Sonette Magnus, Thompson Coburn

Elizabeth (Libby) Marden, Polsinelli

Jordan May, Seigfreid Bingham

Ben McIntosh, SWMW Law

Matthew Moderson, Stinson

Mary Kate Mullen, Husch Blackwell

Morgan Murphy, Zevan Davidson Rom

Jenny Paulson, Simmons Hanly Conroy

Nicholas Ruble, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

Danny Saathoff, Kennyhertz Perry

Julie Scheipeter, Stinson

Samuel Sherman, Sandberg Phoenix & Von Gontard

Jacob Simon, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Louis Spinner, Brown & James

Paul Vogel, Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Casey Waughn, Armstrong Teasdale

Frederike Winslow, Lashly & Baer


Law Firm Leaders

Corey Kilburn, RoundTable Legal

Jay Preston, Carnahan Evans

Heather Morris, Spencer Fane

Kelly Spann, FortmanSpann


Public Service

Kaitlynn Donnelly, Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Megan Noble, Legal Aid of Western Missouri

Syd Tippie, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office


Pro Bono

Destiny Bounds, Bounds Law

Grace Colato Martinez, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Charli Steed, Spencer Fane



William Halaz, Cordell & Cordell

Beth Murano, Lee’s Summit City Attorney’s Office

Erica Perkin, Perkin Law Firm

Erin Williams, Ogletree Deakins

Up & Coming Awards 2023

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