News

If you have news you would like to share with the KWAA community, please contact KansasWomenAttorneys@gmail.com.

Ann Zimmerman and Marilyn Harp Take Home 2022 KWAA Awards

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Marilyn Harp and Ann Zimmerman pose for a photo after receiving their awards.

This July, KWAA held its 33rd Annual Conference, at which two members received awards for distinguished careers in law.  Ann Zimmerman took home the Carol Foreman Medal of Civility while Marilyn Harp received the Jennie Mitchell Kellogg Attorney Achievement Award.

The Carol Foreman Medal of Civility is awarded to a KWAA member who has consistently carried out their professional actions and duties as a lawyer or judge with civility, ethics, and respect for others at all times; and who unequivocally serves as an example of dignity and honor to the profession. 

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KWAA Comes Home to Lindsborg

KWAA Comes Home to Lindsborg

For the first time since 2019, KWAA members met for the Annual Conference in Lindsborg, Kansas in person on July 14-16, 2022.  Judges, lawyers, and law students traveled from across the state and beyond for the appropriately named “Homecoming” conference. 

The Solo Practice and Small Firm section kicked things off with a luncheon on Thursday, after which attendees jumped right in to CLE’s. In the afternoon, the University of Kansas and Washburn law schools welcomed their alumni to receptions in downtown Lindsborg. 

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KWAA's Statement on August 2, 2022 Primary Election Ballot Question

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August 3, 2022 -- Yesterday a majority of Kansas electors rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have said there was no Kansas constitutional right to abortion.

The amendment was an attempt to override law that states Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights, protects all Kansans’ natural right of personal autonomy, including the right to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. The law further states that this right includes allowing a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life, which could include decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy.

The failure of the amendment has no immediate impact on the ability of any person to obtain an abortion or other reproductive health care in Kansas. The abortion restrictions existing prior to the attempted passage of the amendment remain in place. In addition, the state legislature retains the ability to pass legislation regulating abortions, and that legislation will continue to be subject to section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.

The Kansas Women Attorneys Association believes that women should be involved at all levels of government. We urge all Kansans to contact their legislators to express their preferences on legislation related to abortion and reproductive healthcare.

KWAA members with judicial and other governmental positions did not participate in the issuance of this statement.

 

KWAA submits letter to 9th and 28th Judicial Nominating Commissions

July 11, 2022  -- KWAA recently sent letters to the 9th and 28th Judicial District Nominating Commissions encouraging them to nominate women and persons of color for current judicial vacancies. 

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KWAA submits letter to 3rd Judicial Nominating Commissions

July 6, 2022  -- KWAA recently sent a letter to the 3rd  Judicial District Nominating Commissions encouraging them to nominate women and persons of color for current judicial vacancies. 

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KWAA's Statement on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

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On June 24, 2022 -- Today, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade that established the constitutional right to abortion. Please see Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf). 

The Court in Dobbs held that “[i]t is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue to abortion to the people’s elected representatives” to decide how abortion should be regulated.

On August 2, 2022, Kansas will hold a special election where Kansas voters will decide whether to amend the Kansas Constitution. This vote will determine if there is a continued state constitutional right to abortion. 2021 House Concurrent Resolution 5003 explains:

  • A vote No to the proposed amendment “would make no changes to the constitution of the state of Kansas, and . . . leav[e] in place the recently recognized right to abortion” within the state of Kansas.
  • A vote Yes to the proposed amendment “would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion . . . and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion.”

The full Kansas Legislature constitutional explanatory statement may be found at http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/hcr5003_enrolled.pdf

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously said: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

The Kansas Women Attorneys Association believes that women should determine our own future. We strongly urge Kansans to make their voice heard and vote on the upcoming state constitutional amendment. The last day to register to vote is July 12, 2022, to be eligible to vote at the August 2, 2022, election.

For more information about this state constitutional amendment, please see the Kansas Legislature website at http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/hcr5003/

KWAA members with judicial and other governmental positions did not participate in the issuance of this statement.

Revised from June 24, 2022 Statement.

KWAA submits letter to 3rd and 10th Judicial Nominating Commissions

May 17, 2022  -- KWAA recently sent letters to the 3rd and 10th Judicial District Nominating Commissions encouraging them to nominate women and persons of color for current judicial vacancies. 

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KWAA submits letter to 28th Judicial Nominating Commission

 

March 18, 2022  -- KWAA recently sent letter to the 28th Judicial District Nominating Commission encouraging them to nominate women and persons of color for current judicial vacancies. 

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KWAA submits letter to 3rd, 6th, 8th and 11th Judicial Nominating Commissions

December 2, 2021  -- KWAA recently sent letters to the 3rd, 6th, 8th and 11th Judicial District Nominating Commissions encouraging them to nominate women and persons of color for current judicial vacancies. 

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Financial Well-Being: 5 Keys to Retiring Fearlessly

 

KWAA is proud to welcome presenter Lydia Hiesterman from Brick Street Financial Group - Thrivent. 

Lydia Hiesterman has been a Thrivent financial professional for 5 years. In addition, she farms alongside her husband and together they are raising four kids. Her goal through Thrivent is to help clients protect who and what is important to them by understanding, educating, empowering, and partnering with them so that they may live abundant and generous lives. She offers tailored and comprehensive financial services and solutions for individuals, small businesses and farms. She has been recognized for her leadership excellence in sales and service to members and has earned many top performing accolades. Lydia has earned industry honors based on sales excellence, outstanding client service, ethical conduct and professional knowledge. She has her Bachelors in Agribusiness from the University of Illinois and Masters in Agriculture Economics from Purdue University.

At Thrivent, we believe money is a tool, not a goal. Driven by a higher purpose at our core, we are committed to providing financial advice, investments, insurance, banking, and generosity programs to help people make the most of all they've been given.

Thrivent is a membership-owned fraternal organization, as well as a holistic financial services organization, dedicated to serving the unique needs of our clients. Focusing on their goals and priorities, guiding them towards financial choices that will help them live the life they want today - and tomorrow.

This is a KWAA Members Only Event, Go to https://kswomenattorneys.com/calendar to register for this event. 

 

KWAA submits letter to 9th, 11th, 12th and 25th Judicial Nominating Commissions

September 1, 2021  -- KWAA recently sent letters to the 9th, 11th, 12th and 25th Judicial District Nominating Commissions encouraging them to nominate women and persons of color for current judicial vacancies. 

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KWAA's Statement on Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

KWAA iconSeptember 21, 2020 

It is with the deepest sadness and grief that the Kansas Women Attorneys Association mourns the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  On behalf of our members, we make the following statement:

Justice Ginsburg was born into a world where one could only dream that “women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”  With her courageous spirit and remarkable intellect, she made her life’s work the business of turning that dream into reality. On her passing, she hands on this legacy to the next generation of women and men to preserve, defend, and expand the principals of equality to which she dedicated her life.

We are grateful to have witnessed her in action, and hope that in her honor all little girls can dare to dream big dreams. 

 

KWAA submits letter to Thirtieth Judicial Nominating Commission

August 27, 2020 -- KWAA recently sent a letter to the Thirtieth Judicial Nominating Commission encouraging the Commission to consider the demographic representation of the Thirtieth District's bench when deliberating nominations to fill the vacancy created by Judge McQuin's retirement. The letter can be viewed here. Enclosed with the letter was a copy of The Gavel Gap: Who Sits in Judgment on State Courts, issued by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. 

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KWAA's Action Plan

June 11, 2020 --The Kansas Women Attorneys Association (KWAA) condemns racism and discrimination in all forms, and is recommitting itself to one of our founding principles: “to promote equality and social justice for all people.” Systemic racism is pervasive and we must work to identify and dismantle it within our profession. Every day, inequality and bias impact our minority members, our organization, our friends, our clients, and our legal system. We hear the international call for racial equity in the justice system in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black lives, and KWAA stands in support.

As we listen and learn, KWAA also knows action is imperative to uphold the ideals of our organization. In consultation with its membership and the Minority Women in the Profession, Education and Outreach, Small Firm and Solo Practice, and Public Policy and Gender Committees, KWAA is pursuing the following actions:

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KWAA is hiring

June 4, 2020 -- KWAA is seeking an Administrative Assistant. Please see the job posting here. To apply, please send a letter of interest and resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Administrative Assistant Application.” Questions may be submitted to the same email address. Interviews will be scheduled beginning June 19, 2020.

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KWAA member Angel Zimmerman wins international award

March 3, 2020 -- KWAA past-president Angel Zimmerman received the International J. Reuben Clark Law Society (JRCLS) Women in Law Service Award at their recent annual meeting. Zimmerman is also serving as the first Regional Area Director of the newly organized US Central Region for the JRCLS. 

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Four KWAA Members Selected for Leadership Kansas 2019

2019 Leadership KS KWAA Members CroppedAugust 2, 2019 -- It's always a great day when a Kansas Women Attorneys Association ("KWAA") member is selected for participation in a distinguished program like the Kansas Chamber's Leadership Kansas. KWAA truly has cause to celebrate this year, as not one but four of its members were selected to participate in Leadership Kansas 2019--Kelly Trussell, Judge Cheryl Rios, and Amanda Stanley of Topeka and Etta Walker of Sharon Springs. According to its website, "Leadership Kansas is one of the oldest and most prestigious statewide leadership programs in the country." Each year only 40 participants are selected for the honor.

"Kansas is better when women are positioned to be leaders in our community" said Judge Rios. "Understanding the diversity in our state on many levels as well as developing an understanding of the needs of each community will continue to enrich my growth on the bench. I appreciate learning more about the communities where our attorneys grew up and continue to practice."

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KWAA Members Take Kansas Bar Association by Storm

KWAA iconJune 2019 -- At the Kansas Bar Association annual meeting, held June 20 and 21, 2019 in Topeka, Kansas, women attorneys of the state won a majority of the state bar association's awards and won all offices for the organization.

The following KWAA members were recognized:

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Hon. Rebecca Sanders Appointed to Workers Compensation Appeals Board

Judge Rebecca Sanders Photo

June 2019 -- Judge Rebecca Sanders was appointed by the Kansas Secretary of Labor to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Workers Compensation Appeals Board. The process of being appointed by the Secretary first includes consideration by the Kansas Workers Compensation and Employment Security Board, which is made up of stakeholders nominated by Kansas agency heads and appointed by the Governor. The nominating board sent Judge Sanders name to the Secretary, who accepted the nomination and appointed Sanders to the position.

Judge Sanders is a long-time member of KWAA, having attended most of the annual conferences in Lindsborg, Kansas.

"I want to thank all my friends in KWAA and WAAT for their kind words and congratulations. It is because of organizations like this that empower me and all of us to achieve our professional goals. I feel like that organizations like this give us a wind to our backs and our wings to propel us up and forward," Judge Sanders stated. 

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Governor Appoints Warner to Kansas Court of Appeals

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April 30, 2019 -- In a press release issued on April 30, Governor Laura Kelly's office announced its appointment of Sarah Warner to fill the vacancy of retired Court of Appeals Judge Patrick McAnany. The Kansas Senate confirmed Warner's appointment on May 28.  She will be sworn in on July 1. The following text is from the Governor's press release.

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“Sarah Warner is one of the brightest lawyers in our state and an expert in appellate advocacy,” Kelly said. “She will bring a wealth of experience and energy to the court.”

Warner has not only built her practice on tackling the kind of complex issues our appellate courts must handle, but she’s also devoted her time to serving the community through leading various bar associations and teaching appellate practice at Washburn Law School. She is currently president of the Kansas Bar Association. 

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Morse & Casement Elected to Topeka Bar Association Board of Directors

Morse CasementMay 9, 2019 -- KWAA Members Sarah Morse and Whitney Casement were elected to the Topeka Bar Association Board of Directors at its annual meeting on April 17, 2019. Morse is currently KWAA's Annual Conference Co-Chair, while Casement the Communications and Membership Co-Chair. The TBA  includes over 600 members. Morse was elected Secretary of the TBA and has served several years on the TBA Board. Casement is serving her first year as a Director on the TBA Board.

Warner Honored Ingram's Top 40 Under 40

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April 2019 -- Ingram's Kansas City Business Magazine honred KWAA member Sarah Warner as one of its Top 40 Under 40. Warner is currently President of the Kansas Bar Association and the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel. She was also recently selected as one of the three nominees sent to Kansas Governor Laura Kelly for appointment to the Court of Appeals. Warner is a prinicap at the law firm of Thompson Warner in Lawrence, Kansas. 

For more information about the Ingram's honor, visit https://ingrams.com/article/40-under-forty-the-21st-class/

 

Haag Selected Chief Justice McFarland Award Recipient

Natalie Haag

April 12, 2019 -- The Women Attorneys Association of Topeka selected Natalie Haag as the 2019 Chief Justice McFarland Award recipient. Haag is Executive Vice President - General Counsel at Capitol Federal Bank in Topeka. She recently served as one of the four leaders of Governor Laura Kelly's transition team. This is one among many accomplishments of Haag. 

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KWAA Member Cheryl Whelan Appointed Director to the Office of Administrative Hearings

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Governor Laura Kelly today appointed Cheryl Whelan as director of the Office of Administrative Hearings. Whelan is currently an Assistant Attorney General and Director of Open Government Training and Compliance at the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

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KWAA Members Named to Wichita Bar Association Board

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March 12, 2019--The Wichita Bar Association held their 2019-2020 candidate election at the March monthly luncheon on Tuesday, March 12th at which the following KWAA members were elected to the WBA Board:

Vice President: Kelly Rundell

BOG: Kristen Wheeler, Samantha Woods

Please help us in congratulating each of them!

Joni Franklin Announced as Winner of 2019 Louise Mattox Award

Joni Franklin

March 1, 2019 -- KWAA Member Joni Franklin was awarded the Louise Mattox Award, which honors one individual each year who has shown support for women in the profession, makes significant contributions to the legal community, and exhibits outstanding professionalism. The award is named after Louise Mattox, who was the first woman known to have held an active law practice in Wichita, Kansas. Congratulaions to long-time KWAA member Joni Franklin on this much deserved recognition.

 

 

 

 

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District J Collects 200 Bags for Children in Need

KWAA iconDecember 5, 2018 -- Through the generosity of the Douglas County Women Attorney Association 200 backpacks, suitcases, and duffel bags were delivered to KVC for children in care. According to District Court Judge, Pro tem Bethany Roberts, one seven year old boy was there waiting for a visit and helped unload. He laid claim to a Transformer backpack. Judge Roberts was moved by the kindness and generosity of the women attorneys in Douglas County, saying she is "proud to be counted among you." KWAA is proud of our local women attorneys for their great work!

Cocking & Parks Named to Governor's Judicial Nominating Committee

Parks Cocking News Article

December 31, 2018 -- KWAA members Jennifer Cocking and Linda Parks were named by newly elected Kansas Governor Laura Kelly to serve on a panel that will recommend judicial candidates to fill the position vacated by retiring Court of Appeals Judge Pat McAnany. 

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KWAA District Named After Chief Judge Arnold-Burger

2018 10 28 Judge Arnold Burger District Naming ReceptionKWAA's District I, which is made up of Brown, Doniphan, Atchison, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte Counties, honored Court of Appeals Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger, by naming the district after her on October 28, 2018.

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KWAA Member Named to Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission

KWAA iconKWAA member Joslyn M. Kusiak of Kelly & Kusiak Law Office, LLC, was recently appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to serve on the Kanas Continuing Legal Education Commssion. The Commission oversees continuing legal education requirements for lawyers licensed in Kansas. Another KWAA member,  Jennifer Cocking, Vice President, Associate General Counsel of Capitol Federal Savings Bank, also serves on the Commission. Congratulations, Joslyn!

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KWAA Member Mira Midvani Awarded Top Civility Award

2018 12 05 Mira Midvani JOCO Award

December 5, 2018 -- KWAA member Mira Midvani was awarded the 2018 Earl E. O'Connor Civility Award by the Johnson County Bar Association. 

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KWAA member was sworn in as the President of the CWBA

Angel Zimmerman New President

KWAA member Angel Zimmerman was sworn in as the President of the National Conference of Women's Bar Association (NCWBA) in Chicago, IL, on August 3. 

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