Information for the membership of the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City
OFFICERS Tamie Fox
Immediate Past President
Jennifer Kopp Dameron
Shelley I. Ericsson
CHAIRS AND VICE CHAIRS Awards and Scholarship Amanda Pennington Ketchum,
Judicial Nikki Cannezzaro
Membership Courtney Hasselberg
Community Support Athena Dickson
Social Activities Phyllis Norman,
Brandee B. Bower,
Continuing Legal Education Jenny Redix,
MEMBERS AT LARGE Lynn Weddle Judkins, CLE Melissa Howard, Golf Tournament Anne Schiavone, Fundraising Sheila Thiele, Photographer Tricia Scaglia, Special Projects Amber Van Hauen, Special Projects AWLS REPRESENTATIVE
Maher Group, LLC 130 N. Cherry, Suite 202 Olathe, KS 66061 913.829.6941 913.829.6943 (fax) [email protected]
My family recently celebrated my maternal grand mother’s 90 th birthday on Mother’s Day 2009. I was marveling at the fact that she still lives by herself: cooks, cleans and keeps herself presentable. She left school at age 14 to get married (yikes) and help my grandfather raise his brother’s children, before raising three of their own. She worked in a sewing room at a hospital in Mt. Vernon, Missouri for 50 years. My paternal grandmoth er’s husband died when she was 36 and pregnant with her sixth child. She managed to get a job as a veterinar ian’s assistant and worked in Monett, Missouri for 49 years. The intestinal fortitude of these very important women ever continues to inspire and amaze me.
I recite this information not as an introduction to my upcoming biography, but hopefully to give you a lightening bolt wake up call - to stop, and think for a moment, of the power we have………………as women. We have the ability to “multitask” in the extreme - to literally bring life into the world and to work towards solving life’s great problems. We lend our own special talents, compassion, and intellect to the neighborhoods and communities in which we live to make them better. We are uniquely qualified to implement changes where we see injustice and suffering. We have done it. We have seen it. I have had the privilege of watching our organi zation raise money, raise spirits, raise hopes and improve lives. It is now time that we truly focus on assisting the women in our community to rise to a new level.
We need to seriously commit ourselves to supporting our sisters. Whether it is for School Board President or Supreme Court Justice, when a deserving woman asks for our help, we need to rally behind her. As we know, there have been many judicial panels and many judicial openings in the past months that have been sorely de void of a woman’s name. We know there are many, many qualified women who have applied for these openings so the question candidates?
becomes: why are the results slanted towards the male Have we forgotten the power of being a woman? I am not suggesting that we burn our bras and rail against our fellow colleagues of the other gender. It just seems that when a man asks his brethren for support of his issues de jour, there is a barnstorming effort to make his wishes happen. I want to see that same reaction on our “side” as well, and not just from women; but from men who will surely step up to support the deserving woman candidate. As women, we need to stop eating our young; look up, not down our noses at those who need us; and truly live up to our Mission: • To promote the equality of women and others within society in general and within the legal profession in particular. • To provide women with the appropriate forum and support to advance in the legal profession. • To support the appointment of women to local government, civic boards and commissions. • To support and engage in community efforts to make the lives of women, lawyers and non lawyers alike, better.
I am so very thankful to be a woman and to have been blessed with all the opportunities we have in this day and time. I hope all of you will realize how special you are, how special it is to be a woman, and to fight for our sisterhood………whatever the call may be.
I look forward to seeing you all in the near future. Please visit our website early and often to keep up to date with our many exciting activities.
AWL held its first CLE pro gram of the year on March 25, 2009, at the Central Exchange South in Overland Park, Kan sas. The program was entitled “Advocacy for Real Property Valuation Appeals in Missouri and Kansas.” This timely CLE was presented by Kansas and Missouri licensed attorneys Valerie Howard Burke and Kelly Jackson. Both women have appraisal training through the International Association of Assessing Officers and serve as Small Claims Hearing Of ficers for the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. With the severe drop in real estate values and the likelihood of increased litigation of valu ation disputes, this program provided attendees with information pertaining to the relevant statutes, deadlines, and forms to use in helping clients with the property valuation ap peals processes in Kansas and Missouri. The CLE program was approved for two hours of credit in Missouri and Kansas.
Valerie Howard Burke is an AWL mem ber and attorney in private practice specializing in mediation, arbitration, and education. She can be contacted at 913-339-8793 Kelly Jackson is the owner of Kelly L. Jackson, P.A. She specializes in em ployment law and drafting contracts for small businesses. She can be reached at 913-558-7592.
Janet Davis Baker, a partner in Baker & Blum, P.A. in Overland Park, was this year’s race director for the Kansas City Express Mother’s Day 5K, the area’s only walk/run exclusively for women. This year’s event, held on Mother’s Day May 10, 2009 at Corporate Woods, attracted almost 3,000 participants who lined up at the start line under a balloon arch. Baker said about the race: “Mothers come to run with their daughters, daughters and granddaughters are coming to run with their mothers. Families and friends are coming together to run and walk. Other family members and friends are coming in support and to volunteer. This race resonates with our members and the community. The message of joining together in fitness and in fun is truly an enduring one.” The run benefits the programs of the Kansas City Express, the women’s running and walking organiza tion in Kansas City, and the American Heart Associa tion’s Go Red for Women heart disease prevention campaign. The presenting sponsor for the race, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, sponsors a weekly training team to train women to run or walk a 5K, beginning 6 weeks before the Mother’s Day 5K. If you wish to be notified of the next training team schedule for the 2010 MD5K, e-mail Baker at [email protected] blum.com
. Baker is the past president of the Kansas City Express which meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Medical Center’s Com munity Center. The meetings
Janet Davis Baker
provide an opportunity for meeting fellow walkers and runners and getting support toward achieving your fitness goals, even if you haven’t yet become a walker or runner. The Express sponsors weekly walks and runs from varying locations in the metro. Baker herself is a relative newcomer to running, only start ing 10 years ago at the age of 43. She has now run 11 marathons and many half-marathons, including the Pike’s Peak half-marathon. For more information about the Mother’s Day 5K and the Express, and to see pictures of the event and the famous decorated porta-potties, log on to www.mothersdayrun.com
City get gutterballs!
The AWL Con nections group recently went bowl ing together at the Lucky Strike Lanes in the Power and Light District. We visited about our hectic schedules and demanding lives. It was a time to feel the genuine support of other women lawyers. Everyone left invigorated and ready to work! Plus there is a guilty pleasure in watching some of the most admired women in Kansas Following the event, the group started a “good news train” via email. All mentors and mentees were encouraged to share their good news and great accomplishments with each other via email. It was inspiring to hear what great things the group was achieving from publishing articles (Jennifer McAdams), to being selected for judi cial panels (Cindy Reams Martin), to writing books (Mira Mdivani), to passing the Kansas Bar (yeah me!). In May the group headed to Westport to participate in the Crawl for Cancer. The Crawl for Cancer is an annual pub crawl that supports the American Cancer Society where mentors and mentees will visit over beer. What a great informal setting to get good mentoring while supporting a great cause! In addition to the group events, each pairing of mentor and mentee have been meeting individually to get the kind of mentoring that can only be found in a one on-one conversation. My mentor has been outstanding at sharing her knowledge and experience with me. I know far more about the business of operating my own firm and about the importance of reputation because of my mentor’s guidance. Thanks to my mentor Cindy Reams Martin and to all the mentors for taking the time to share their expertise with all of the mentees! AWL Connections continues to make new women lawyers better!
Top: Mira Mdivani, Courtney Hasselberg, Jennifer McAdam, Aubrey Gann-Redmon, and Kelly McCam bridge discuss the day’s events at the Lucky Strikes bowling night.
Bottom: It’s all smiles as the AWL Connections group enjoys the Lucky Strikes bowling event, from left to right, Leslie Feitz, Sheila Seck, Courtney Hasselberg, Aubrey Gann-Redmon, Denise Henning, Kate Nolen, Cindy Reams Martin, Jennifer McAdam, Kelly McCambridge, and Mira Mdivani.
A packed room of more than 100 Kansas City area at torneys had the pleasure of hearing Kansas and Missouri Supreme Court Justices and Judges discuss current ethical issues in the practice of law during a CLE hosted by AWL on April 14, 2009, appropriately entitled “The Supremes.” The CLE took place over the lunch hour at the Central Exchange in downtown Kansas City. The distinguished panel included the
Honorable Carol A. Beier
of the Kansas Supreme Court, the
Honorable Laura Denvir Stith
of the Missouri Supreme Court, the
Honorable Mary R. Russell
of the Mis souri Supreme Court, and the
Honorable Patricia Brecken ridge
of the Missouri Supreme Court.
R. Denise Henning
of The Henning Law Firm, P.C. moderated the discussion.
A constant theme running throughout the ethics discussion was the differences between the ethical rules of Missouri and Kansas. The panel opened the CLE by describing the disciplinary processes in both states, from the filing of a complaint through disciplinary action. Justice Beier described the beginning of the disciplinary process as a “funnel”; many complaints are dismissed or resolved during the investigation stage of the disciplinary process. For cases that do pass through the “funnel” and proceed to a formal hearing, Chief Justice Denvir Stith pointed out that both aggravating and mitigating factors will be taken into consideration when determining what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken.
During the second half of the CLE, attendees had the opportunity to participate in the discussion. Fact patterns from recent ethics cases before the Kansas and Missouri Supreme Courts were presented, and attendees were asked to predict the outcomes of the cases. The panel discussed the actual outcome of the cases, and explained the reasoning behind both the opinion of the Court and any dissents filed. The panel also presented several hypothetical fact patterns involving potential ethical violations, and had attendees volunteer their thoughts on which ethical rules had been violated and how those rules were violated. After discussion of the hypothetical fact patterns, the panel revealed their thoughts and gave useful tips for avoiding attorney miscon duct. The panel highlighted new ethical rules and recent changes in the ethical rules of both Missouri and Kansas. A final warning given by the panel was that a single act of attorney misconduct can be punished in multiple jurisdic tions. Under the Kansas and Missouri ethical rules, an attorney who commits an ethical violation can be subject to the disciplinary authority of both Missouri and Kansas, if licensed in both states. This program was approved for 2.0 ethics CLE hours in both Kansas and Missouri.
“Green” technology and new businesses catering to the desire to be environmentally friendly are everywhere. And while those in volved may not realize it, intellectual property issues abound. Successful companies will take advantage of opportunities to protect intellec tual property rights in their green inventions and services.
In general, the same intellectual property issues and procedures that apply to non-green technology also apply to green technology. There are four primary types of intellectual property protection available: patents; trade marks; copyrights; and trade secrets. The first three are often used interchangeably by lay persons, but they protect distinctly different creations. A patent protects a new, non-obvious, and useful invention, giving the patent owner a 20-year legal monopoly to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented product in the U.S. Probably the most significant mistake a business owner or inventor new to the patent world can make is a failure to timely file a patent application. In the U.S., a patent applicant has one year from the date of first public use, sale, offer to sell, or dissemination of a printed publication disclos ing the invention to file a patent application, or protection for that invention will be barred. While most foreign countries are even more strict and do not have any such grace period, most are also signatories to treaties with the U.S., so that a patentee can “claim back” to the original U.S. filing, provided foreign applica tions are filed within 12 months of that filing. Thus, getting a U.S. patent application on file prior to commercializing or publicizing an invention is imperative. As soon as an application is on file, the invention can be marked “Patent Pending,” which can provide competitive advantages in and of itself. Although, the road to patent protection is a long one, an accelerated exami nation process is available for those inventions that justify the time and expense of request ing accelerated examination. One advantage for green inventions is that the Patent Office fee for requesting accelerated examination is not required if the invention will materially enhance the quality of the environment or contribute to the development or conservation of energy resources.
Trademarks are different from patents in that a trademark protects an identifier for a good or service. For example, if a company creates a green product or service and markets that product or service under a brand name, the company could register a trademark of the brand name if it is sufficiently non-confusing to other names for the same or similar goods or services. Trademark protection is differ ent from patent protection in that it doesn’t prevent a competitor from commercializing a similar product. Rather, it prevents a competi tor from commercializing similar goods or services using a confusingly similar name. Often, trademark and patent protection will be, and should be, sought for the same commer cial product. For example, the company’s green product mentioned above may be a patentable invention entitled to patent protection, while the name under which the company commer cializes the product is entitled to trademark protection.
Copyrights protect creative authorship, which can take many forms, including literary works, musical works, artistic works, source code (the written text of a computer program), and more. As soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium, copyright protection arises; however, there are significant advantages to federally registering a copyright. A copyright protects the copyright owner should a third party copy the protected work. If the third party independently creates the same or a simi lar work (i.e., copying did not occur), there is no copyright infringement. Again, although copyrights protect different intellectual property rights than do patents or trademarks, overlap can occur. For example, if a company develops a computer program that could be used to determine the most efficient design for a solar panel system, that company could seek patent protection for the function of the software while also registering a copyright for the source code. Furthermore, should the company sell the software under a unique brand name, it could also seek trademark pro tection for that name.
The final primary avenue for protecting intellectual property rights is that of trade secret protection. The key for having trade secret protection is to really and truly behave as if something is a secret. This is a fact-based determination, but it includes controls such as restricting access to the secret to only those who absolutely need access. There should be strict policies and procedures in place, and diligently followed, in order to allow the trade secret owner to prove that the information truly was a trade secret. While trade secret
Tracy is a licensed patent attorney and partner with the Kansas City-area intellectual property law firm of Hovey Williams LLP, where she specializes in foreign and domestic patent preparation and prosecution; prepara tion of patentability and non-infringement opinions; negotiation and preparation of licensing and joint development agreements; and trademark preparation and prosecution. She can be reached at 913-647-9050 or [email protected]
protection can be valuable, it is also the most fragile form of protection in many instances. Once the secret becomes known (even through no fault of the trade secret owner), the trade secret bubble bursts, and it can no longer be considered a trade secret. Furthermore, like copyright protection there is not protection against another party independently develop ing the same information. Rather, the trade secret owner would need to prove that the trade secret was misappropriated if they were to pursue an action against a third party.
One final and related area that is commonly encountered among small and/or start-up businesses developing green technology is that of government funding. Government funding can be a much-needed boost to a business to facilitate green innovation. However, there are certain issues that must be addressed when an invention is developed using government funds. It is essential that the business have a person in charge of reading and rereading the funding contract with regularity to verify that the required milestones are being met and ap propriate reporting is being carried out. Also, most funding contracts will award the govern ment rights in intellectual property developed with the funds and will also require that all relevant patents contain a notice of such rights. As intellectual property protection is being sought for green inventions, it is important to notify any attorneys assisting in protecting those rights of the relevant requirements under the particular contract.
The above information is the tip of the iceberg in a very complex area of the law. Busi nesses venturing into green technology and services should consult an intellectual property attorney early in the process to avoid costly pitfalls.
© 2009 Hovey Williams LLP
The National Conference of Women Bar Associations (NCWBA) sent out a request to do a national food drive to help people in need. AWL, through the help and support of our members, their law firms, and organizations stepped up to the challenge of helping in our fight against hun ger. Food from the Women’s Bar ran from April 20-May 15, 2009. We sent out requests asking our membership to help with this effort and we received an over whelming response. Below is a list of firms and organizations that put a box in their offices to help us with our food drive. Armstrong Teasdale LLP Association of Women Law Students - UMKC Law School Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, LLC Boyd & Kenter, PC Corporate Counsel Group LLP deVries & Associates, PC Dysart Taylor Lay Cotter & McMonigle, PC Foland Wickens Eisfelder Roper & Hofer, PC Fox Stretz & Quinn, PC Franke Schultz & Mullen Fury & Smith Humphrey Farrington & McClain, PC Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Kansas City, Missouri Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Lathrop & Gage L.C.
Law Offices of George A. Barton Levy & Craig Lewis, Rice & Fingerish L.C.
Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen, PC McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, PA McDowell, Rice, Smith & Buchanan, PC Mdivani Law Firm Missouri Attorney General’s Office - Kansas City Missouri Bank & Trust Polsinelli Shughart, PC Probate Division 19- Jackson County Circuit Court* Scaglia Law Firm Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris SiroLaw, PC Stueve Siegel Hanson The Henning Law Firm, P.C.
Wagoner Bankruptcy Group Walters Bender Strohbehn & Vaughan, PC Williams & Campo At the close of this drive, we donated 3915 lbs. of food. In addition to physical donations, we also had many people go online to our virtual food drive to make monetary donations. Our vir tual food drive raised over $2,219.50 providing over
to our community. Thank you for all your donations. As our food drive was wrapping up we hosted a reception on May 14, 2009, at The Henning Law Firm to thank everyone for their generosity during this drive. Corrine Cooper from Harvest ers was at the reception. She told us that our help was appreciated now more then ever. The need for food is up 40% from this time last year due to the current economic recession.
As always the success of this event would not have been possible without the help of vol unteers. First, thank you to all the people helping to drop off and pick up boxes: Tricia Scaglia, Wendee Elliot-Clement, Lynn Judkins, Jessica Peterson and Lindsay Gallman. Next, thank you to everyone that helped with unloading donations at the reception: Tim Henning, Andrew Dickson, Dennis Ayzin, Aubrey Gann-Redmon and Matt Jordan. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to The Henning Law Firm for hosting our reception; Denise, Jenny, and Mary know how to throw a great party!
Left: Judge Gary Witt and Theresa Levings enjoying the Harvesters food drive reception.
Center: Courtney Hasselberg, Shauna Woody-Coussens, and Teresa Woody celebrating their hard work for the food drive.
Right: The attorneys and staff at Boyd and Kenter worked hard collecting donations.
On April 30, 2009, Governor Jay Nixon appointed J. Dale Youngs, to serve as a Circuit Judge for the 16th judicial circuit in Jackson County. Youngs will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of
Circuit Judge John R. O’Malley
. From 1996 to 2002, Youngs served in a variety of capacities in the Missouri At torney General’s Office, including work as an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division; as Director of the High Technology and Computer Crime Unit; and as Chief Counsel for the office’s Western Region. In these positions, Youngs handled or oversaw hundreds of investigations and cases regarding both civil and criminal matters. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Of fice, Youngs was an attorney in private practice with the firm of Spradley & Riesmeyer from 1989 until 1996, focusing his work on litigation in the areas of business, commerce, personal injury and products liability. After leaving the Attorney General’s Office in 2002, Youngs joined the firm Blackwell Sanders Pepper Martin, now named Husch Blackwell Sanders, where he has practiced in the fields of business and commercial litiga tion, government compliance and investiga tions. Youngs became a partner in the firm in 2006. “It’s an honor and, frankly, humbling to be given the opportunity to serve in this im portant position. I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of my friends - including all of my friends in AWL. I couldn’t have done this without them.” AWL congratulates Dale Youngs on his appointment and wishes him well with his new position.
Celeste Boyd is a new member to AWL. Celeste is not only new to AWL, she’s new to the Kansas City area and relatively new to the practice of law. Celeste graduated from Yale Law School in 2007. She met her husband – an Army officer – during law school. Falling in love and getting married to an active mili tary man put Celeste on a different career path than most of her classmates. Celeste is committed to being an “Army wife” for the foreseeable future which will mean fairly frequent moves as her husband is sta tioned around the country and/or world. But, luckily for AWL and Kansas City, we have Celeste through 2009!
Celeste has been actively seeking temporary contract positions and/or projects from attorneys, law firms, and companies since she landed in Kansas City in November 2008. In particular, Celeste would like to find some substantive law projects to sink her teeth into while she’s stationed in the area. Since No vember, Celeste has worked with large local corpora tions on discrete projects and with some law firms on smaller projects. Celeste has litigation experience which she gained when clerking for a large San Francisco law firm during law school. She also has experience counseling clients as well as legislative re view and analysis from her time spent with the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty. And, of course, that Yale pedigree also makes Celeste a potentially valuable tool for any entity looking to put some extra hands and brains to work!
Though still a newly-minted attorney, Celeste has already demonstrated her commitment to women’s Organization.
issues and community service. During her undergraduate years at University of Maryland – College Park, Celeste worked as an intern at the Children’s Defense Fund, and then as the Outreach Assistant for the Women’s Edge Coalition (now “Women Thrive”), a non-profit foreign policy advocacy organization. While at Yale she worked with low income clients through the Law School’s Community Lawyering Clinic and was active in numerous organizations, including Yale Law Women, the Rebellious Lawyering Conference, the Latino Law Students As sociation, and the Student Board of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Even though her time in Kansas City may be short, we welcome Celeste and hope she enjoys her work and the connections she makes while she’s here. AWL is happy to have her as a new member. Be sure to introduce yourself to Celeste at the next AWL function. And, if you or someone you know might be in need of Celeste’s unique services, check out her website at www.celesteboyd.com.
Welcome to AWL, Celeste!
n AWL members
Mira Mdivani, Emily Haverkamp and Samara Nazir Za man
Mdivani Law Firm
authored a book titled
“Immigration Law and Violence Against Women Act: Hope for Survivors.”
The book is a practical guide based on the lawyers’ pro bono work for immigrant survivors of domestic violence. Mira Mdivani used it as the course textbook for her UMKC Law School course this semester. The book is available at the UMKC book store. n
hit a hole in one at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.
accepted a position as Chief Legal Counsel for the Missouri State Auditor’s Office.
If you have a new member you believe we can spotlight, please do not hesitate to contact Courtney Hasselberg or Wendee Elliott-Clement.
Jennifer & Matt Dameron
welcomed their twins -
Nora and Tyson
DO YOU HAVE NEWS TO SHARE?
If you are an AWL member and would like to share information or write an article for the LINK, contact Jennifer Dameron,
AWL LINK is published quarterly for the membership of the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City |
©2009 Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City