Kansas City Law Firm Commits $250,000 to Bar Prep Support

The gift from Wagstaff & Cartmell will provide free bar preparation to UMKC School of Law students
Five partners at Wagstaff & Cartmell stand together in the law firm and smile for the photo

Wagstaff & Cartmell, a litigation law firm in Kansas City, made a five-year, $250,000 commitment to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law’s bar preparation fund. Their gift supports an initiative by the law school to provide a commercial bar preparation program and in-person supplemental course at no additional cost to students.

As of December 2023, every UMKC J.D. graduate has access to these resources.

The stress of bar preparation is a feeling that many attorneys remember, even years into successful careers. Brian Madden (J.D. ’92) and Jack Hyde (J.D. ’11), both partners at Wagstaff & Cartmell, spoke about the importance of supporting students as they take this step in their careers.

“Many of us were fortunate to have support from the firms we were going to work for when it came to bar preparation,” Hyde said. “Not everyone has that support, and it can be a big obstacle. We knew this would be a meaningful way to give back to students that would help them the most.”

While some law firms will pay for bar preparation expenses, students with ambitions in public service and other areas of law will have to decide whether to pay the cost themselves, an average of $4,000, or choose to take the bar exam without that support.

“Recognizing that UMKC serves a very diverse economic student population, and given the current cost of bar preparation, we don’t want to see students forego it due to cost,” Madden said. “I cannot imagine taking the bar exam without preparation. It gives you a comfort level, both with the substance and the psychological stress. It’s so important that everyone has an opportunity to play on an equal playing field with regards to the bar exam.”

The commitment from Wagstaff & Cartmell is the first one by a law firm.

“We would love to see other mid-size and large law firms take this opportunity to support these students,” Madden said. “UMKC Law makes significant contributions to the Kansas City legal market, both at the public level through judges, prosecutors and defenders, and at the private level. There are a lot of very successful private attorneys in the city who graduated from UMKC.”

“The long-term success of UMKC is vital to the local bar and firms like ours based in Kansas City,” Hyde said. “A lot of students end up working in the community they graduate from, so having the school here is vital to Kansas City. It’s the only law school in Kansas City.”

Learn more about the bar preparation initiative at the UMKC School of Law.

Learn more about School of Law

Published: May 29, 2024
Posted In: Giving

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