Five Questions with New UMKC School of Law Dean

Meet Lumen Mulligan
Lou Mulligan stands in front of the UMKC School of Law building

Lumen (Lou) Mulligan, J.D., M.A., joined the School of Law as dean in July.

He was previously the Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Kansas, as well as the Earl B. Shurtz Research Professor of Law. A Kansas City native, Mulligan understands the importance of UMKC School of Law to the greater community.

What attracted you to UMKC School of Law initially?

The mission and the people. UMKC Law has a deep commitment to being a best-value law school. We offer outstanding student success at an affordable price. When you look at our most recent employment numbers (96.6% employed for the class of 2022), the career arcs of our graduates and our low tuition, you can see the school’s commitment to being a premier law school. I was also inspired by the outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni. They have all greeted me so warmly. It’s a privilege to be on a team with such a special group.

What are you most looking forward to in your first year as dean?

Meeting all our stakeholders and launching new initiatives. In my first month alone, I met with scores of alumni and friends, visited several law firms and worked closely with our entire team in the law school. I value creating these relationships and working with folks to further empower our community. 

I am also excited for all the new programs we are launching in the next year. As of this December, all J.D. graduates will have access to a post-graduation bar prep course, which will be paid for from their tuition and fees. At most law schools, the entire cost of bar prep is borne by graduates in addition to their tuition.

I am also looking forward to the opening of our new Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation this year, which is a groundbreaking interdisciplinary project. And by next summer, we’ll have started our new online Master of Legal Studies degree, which will provide legal education for those working in law-adjacent fields such as HR and compliance.

You’ve previously worked in Kansas City as an attorney. Now that you’re back in Kansas City, what are you most excited about?

I not only practiced here, “back in the day,” but I grew up in the KC metro. So it’s been a ton of fun already running into so many old friends, former students and new friends in the KC legal and civic community. It truly is a great place to practice law!

Why did you originally pursue law school and being an attorney?

Well, it was not a straight-line path for me. I went to college and studied civil engineering for a while. Then I earned a philosophy degree and went to graduate school.  I spent a while coaching swimming, working construction, waiting tables and hiking in Colorado. My eventual draw into law came later as I knew I wanted to be a profession where I could serve others, be challenged and work with great people. It’s been a wonderful career choice for me.

What is something about you that may surprise people?

I am an amateur guitarist, and with my daughters’ long-time engagement with dance, I can do a solid ballet bun and pull off a mildly acceptable fouetté turn myself.

Learn more about School of Law

Published: Aug 14, 2023
Posted In: Our People

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