APPELLATE PRACTICE

Appellate attorneys require a separate set of legal skills from trial attorneys, and are generally employed by trial attorneys facing the situation where the losing party has appealed his case to a higher court. An experienced trial attorney is an excellent resource, but often does not have the time or skill set required in determining the correct application of the law to any given case. Increasingly, trial lawyers are retaining appellate attorneys to work with them, while the case is still at the trial level. 

While cases are initially handled at the trial level, the losing party may appeal his case to the appellate court. An appellate attorney must determine whether any particular decision complies with a statute or principle of common law; and then present that analysis to a court of appeals to decide whether the trial court’s decision complies with the law. An appellate attorney must perform the following functions: a) assist trial counsel in framing issues for trial and preserving the record for appeal;’ b) review and analyze the trial record; c) research and analyze case law, d) draft persuasive briefs and motions; and  e) argue before the court of appeals. Appellate attorneys spend significant time researching the law, determining the correct application of the law to a given set of facts, and presenting arguments in clear, concise written briefs and oral argument. 

An appellate attorney does not necessarily specialize in one particular substantive area. Instead; the attorney engages in critical reasoning determine the whether the trial court’s finding was legally correct. Appellate attorneys have exceptional research, analytical, and writing skills in order to write concise, persuasive briefs and memoranda. 

 

FAMILY LAW

Allison has developed a family law practice, so that she can be a resource to clients facing the toughest and most human situation of separating from a partner and building a better life for children. Allison draws on her own personal divorce experience, in order to help clients move as seamlessly as possible into new and better directions. She knows how to explain the process of divorce and child custody, and works with her clients to achieve a cost-effective path forward from the one initially envisioned. Allison passionately believes that homes are not “broken,” but they evolve and change. She helps her clients move forward following divorce, serves her client’s needs, and protects the rights of children.

 

EMPLOYMENT LAW

DISCRIMINATION
Discrimination in employment is a dynamic, evolving area of the law developed by federal, state and often by municipal governments. Some of the principal controlling federal laws are the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1974. In Kansas, operative statutes include the Kansas Act Against Discrimination and the Kansas Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and in Missouri, the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Under these laws, an employer may not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of particular immutable characteristics, including race, religion, creed, sex, age, and disability. The applicable federal and state laws have rigorous procedural requirements including steps the employee may be required to take even before filing a claim before a federal or state agency, a stringent time period within which one must bring a claim, and the specific courts in which one can file a lawsuit.

Whether you are an individual believing your rights have been violated, or you are an employer facing a charge of employment discrimination be sure of your rights and the limits of your obligations and, in your judgment, seek legal assistance immediately.

 

WAGE & HOUR LAW
Wage and hour laws require employers to pay their employees a minimum wage, plus 1.5 times that wage for all hours in excess of 40 hours per week. Under these laws, employers are not required to provide vacation, meals or breaks. Although simple on its face, the law is complicated by are exemptions, some of which are generic including exemptions for executives, professionals and administrative employees, and others are job-specific such as those affecting computer-related occupations and outside sales employees.

In addition to federal regulations, in Kansas and Missouri, the relevant state laws cover, among other things, minimum wage, overtime, when wages must be paid, wage claims and restrictions on child labor. Wage and hour laws are evolving, with the current national trend to increase minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.   

 

EDUCATION LAW

HIGHER EDUCATION
Modern universities and colleges are highly complex institutions functioning in highly regulated environments under the watchful eye of both federal and state governments.

University service providers interact with a diverse population – students, faculty, staff, administration. In working with its students, the days of in loco parentis are a thing of the past. Student now claim contractual rights in many aspects of education and have begun claiming against schools on theories of contract and are suing schools and individual faculty breach of the school’s obligations provide a quality education in a safe healthful environment.

University-faculty relations too have taken a turnaround. For example At one time tenure was a time honored institution virtually unassailable. Today, tenure is in retreat. Many schools have reassessed tenure and moving away from tenure and instead opting for long term contracts. Faculty handbooks provide contractual rights and are now being drafted with to with a greater emphasis on the interests and rights of the university. Faculty handbooks are now being interpreted to redefine the relationship with faculty including diminishing tenure protection for faculty that are not performing and increase flexibility in the schools prerogative to establish its programs and courses of instructions.

Indeed, the law of higher education is dynamic changing. The face of how we as a country, educate our population is exciting and provides many challenges to all who participate in the life of the university – students, faculty, employees, administrators and all with whom the university does business.

 

TITLE IX OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION AMENDMENTS
Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments is a federal law designed to, among other things, protect students from discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Click here to learn more about Title IX and Sex Discrimination from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

Initially Title IX inquiries focused on sports. With the rise of awareness of sexual violence on campus, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), charged with oversight of Title IX, has shifted its emphasis to sexual assault, sexual violence, rape and sexual harassment on campus.

Compliance issues faced by schools bring many questions to the fore and there is little law providing guidance on: choosing a policy, choosing a complaint resolution procedure, maintaining the integrity of the school’s mission, values and culture, and protecting the rights of victim and perpetrator -- all carry the risk of untold damage to both victim and perpetrator and loss of Federal financial assistance to the school for non-compliance. Colleges and university need to proceed very cautiously into these uncharted waters.