Each year, the UMKC Law Foundation and Alumni Association recognize exceptional alumni and friends of the School of Law with joint awards acknowledging philanthropy, leadership, service to the School of Law and the legal community, and lifetime achievement.
This year, six individuals will be honored for their dedication to the law school and legal profession at The Big Event, on February 25, 2017. To purchase sponsorships for tables, events or individual tickets for The Big Event, click here.
Kelly McCambridge is an accomplished young trial attorney and a lawyer who is focused on helping women fight for justice. Kelly’s peers have recognized her for her success, honesty, and advocacy. In 2008, Kelly founded McCambridge Law. In 2010, the UMKC Division of the Association of Women Law Student recognized Kelly as an Outstanding Community Member. Also in 2010, Missouri Lawyers Weekly named Kelly as one of the Top Ten Winningest Plaintiffs’ Lawyers for the entire state of Missouri and named McCambridge Law as one of the Top Ten Winningest Firms. A year later, Missouri Lawyers Weekly recognized Kelly again as an Up and Coming Lawyer for Missouri. In 2012, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association awarded Kelly the Young Lawyer of the Year Award, and she also was honored by Missouri Lawyers Weekly at the Women in Justice Awards as a Rising Star. Since 2013, the Kansas City Business Journal ranked Kelly as one of the Best of the Bar in the Kansas City Area, and Super Lawyers named her as a Rising Star for Missouri and Kansas.
Scott H. Aripoli is a tireless advocate for the UMKC School of Law and the Law Foundation. Scott’s support of UMKC Law began immediately after he graduated with an appointment to the UMKC Law Alumni Association Board. Scott later served as President of the Law Alumni Association. He currently serves on the Law Foundation Board of Trustees. One of Scott’s significant achievements was playing the lead role in creation of the online directory for the UMKC law alumni, which launched in Fall 2016. He spent several years working with UMKC Administrators to get approval to build the directory as well computer programmers to create a user-friendly, efficient alumni portal. Scott chaired the Pat Kelly Memorial Poker Tournament Committee for multiple years and developed a process for law firms and attorneys to donate student tournament seats. The annual tournament provides students, faculty and alumni a fun way to connect while raising money for the Pat Kelly Scholarship. Scott is an exceptional ambassador representing the best of the UMKC School of Law in Kansas City and beyond
Sherri L. Wattenbarger is a trial attorney with the Office of the U.S. Trustee in Kansas City, Missouri and is a former law clerk to the Hon. Pasco M. Bowman, II of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. She joined the U.S. Department of Justice through the highly competitive Attorney General’s Honors Program in 1994, serving as a trial attorney in the Civil Division in Washington, D.C., before joining the U.S. Trustee’s Office in Kansas City in 1997. In 2014, the Missouri Bar awarded Wattenbarger the Roser Award for Excellence in Bankruptcy Law. Sherri is chair of the board of both the Women’s Foundation and the Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program (C.A.R.E.) for the Western District of Missouri and the District of Kansas, a program that educates young people about credit. Sherri also is the founder and organizer of FEDS, a volunteer organization for employees at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri. She organizes an annual triathlon workshop for women for WIN for KC, a division of the Kansas City Sports Commission. In 2012, she was awarded the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Community Service by Attorney General Eric Holder. She is the recipient of a Women’s Justice Award for Public Service by Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, and was named Woman of the Year by the AWL in 2011.
Theresa Levings has devoted her 36 years as a lawyer to her clients, her profession on a local, statewide and national level, and access to justice. Locally, she has chaired the KCMBA and court-appointed committees on state and federal procedure and trial practice and a similar appellate practice committee appointed by the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. She served as Master in the Inns of Court/Trial Academy for more than 20 years. She served as president of the AWL of Greater Kansas City and as a mentor in its “Connections” program. She co-chaired the Justice for All fundraising committee for Legal Aid of Western Missouri and has continued to serve on the committee for 22 years. By federal court appointment, she investigated and prosecuted ethical violations by lawyers admitted to the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Statewide, Kansas City’s lawyers elected her to five terms on The Missouri Bar Board of Governors; she ultimately served as the president of The Missouri Bar. She was elected to The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Counsel for four terms and service as its statewide Chair preceded her time on the Board of Governors. The Supreme Court of Missouri recently appointed her to its six-member Board of Law Examiners. Nationally, she has represented Missouri’s lawyers as a delegate to the American Bar Association’s policy-making House of Delegates, earlier served as a delegate for the Young Lawyers Section Assembly and was a state co-chair of the American Bar Foundation. Board service outside the profession includes the Junior League of Kansas City, the Housing Information Center, Pembroke Hill Parents Association Board and Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center/Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City.
Ralph Wrobley has been a prominent member of the Kansas City legal community for more than 50 years. To help ensure the future quality of legal education, he made a $2 million estate commitment to establish the Ralph and Madeline Distinguished Chair in Law and Entrepreneurship at UMKC Law. The gift recognizes the leadership and innovation provided by the faculty who are educating future lawyers to help grow businesses and entrepreneurial activity in the region. Ralph is a Kansas City native and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. When he returned to his hometown to practice law, he started with Stinson Mag law firm, which is now Stinson Leonard Street. He was member of the management team before accepting a similar position with Bryan Cave. He finished his career as managing partner of Husch Blackwell. Wrobley chose to give to UMKC because he wanted to give something back to the community where he built a long, successful legal career.
Dana Tippin Cutler is the first African American woman to serve as the President of the Missouri Bar Board of Governors. She is a partner in her family’s law firm, James W. Tippin & Associates. She is the immediate-past President of The Missouri Bar Foundation. She was appointed by the ABA President to serve on the Committee for Professionalism. Dana was appointed and has served on the ABA Standing Committee for Judicial Independence and The Missouri Bar Trustees. She has served as the Chair of the Diversity Committee for The Missouri Bar and was instrumental in starting The Missouri Bar’s Leadership Academy. Dana serves on and is currently the vice president of and a past-president of the Board of Curators for Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, a gubernatorial appointment. Her community service includes serving on the Boards of Swope Parkway Health Center and Swope Community Enterprises.