UMKC Law Alumni and Students Recognized by Women’s Justice Awards

Women’s Justice Award

The ​Missouri Lawyers Media Women’s ​Justice ​Awards ​​celebrates ​and ​recognizes ​women ​in the legal field, ​including ​general ​practitioners, ​litigators, ​in-house ​attorneys, ​law ​students, ​public ​servants, ​and ​those ​doing ​pro-bono ​work. This year, the award ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 3 from 6-9 pm at Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, MO.  This year, twelve members of the UMKC Law community received the awards for their dedication to the legal profession.

Woman of the Year: Dana Tippin Cutler (J.D. ’89)

This woman truly stands out in making an extraordinary difference to improve the quality of justice or exemplify the highest ideals of the legal profession.

Dana Tippin Cutler was the first female African-American president of The Missouri Bar. Cutler just wrapped up her term this year. She is a partner at her family’s law firm, James W. Tippin & Associates in Kansas City. Cutler specializes in education law, insurance, general and professional liability, and workers’ compensation. She has been Director of Swope Health Services since 2013. She served as a Director at Swope Community Enterprises, Inc. 

UMKC Law recently featured Cutler as the cover story of the Fall 2017 issue of the alumni magazine, Res Ipsa. 

Corporate Award

These women serve as general or in-house counsel, advising businesses on complex legal matters.

Courtney Hayes (J.D. ’01)

Courtney Hayes

Courtney Hayes is an attorney at AG Financial Solutions, a company established to meet the financial needs of faith-based organizations and individuals through lending, insurance, investments, retirement planning, and other financial services. 

Litigation Practitioner Award

These litigators have made their careers in the courtroom — criminal or civil, representing plaintiff or defense.

Nikki Cannezzaro (J.D. ’00)

Nikki Cannezzaro

Nikki Cannezzaro is a trial and appellate lawyer. She is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  Cannezzaro has tried numerous cases to juries ranging from products and premise liability cases to multiple fatality trucking/automobile accidents, obtaining favorable results for the firm’s clients in each case. She is the current president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA). Cannezzaro additionally has significant experience in bad faith, vexatious refusal and insurance coverage litigation.  She has been elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a national organization of experienced trial attorneys and judges, and currently serves as Secretary for the Western Missouri / Eastern Kansas Chapter.


 Phyllis Norman (J.D. ’03)

Phyllis Norman

Phyllis Norman is a founding member of Norman and Graves, LLC. Phyllis’ practice focuses on personal injury, class action and mass tort litigation. Phyllis is committed to helping individuals regain their livelihood and their peace of mind. Phyllis and her team have over 30 years of litigation and trial experience necessary to navigate the justice system and attain positive results for clients.

She takes pride in protecting the rights of her clients, whether that means ensuring that the victim of a car accident receives the medical care and compensation they deserve or guarding consumer interests from predatory business practices. 


Tiffany McFarland (J.D. ’05)

Tiffany McFarland

As Co-Chair of the Family Law & Divorce Group at Norman & Graves Trial Attorneys, Tiffany McFarland practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations litigation.  McFarland has extensive experience in handling complex divorces and child custody matters in both Missouri and Kansas while also representing parties in non-contested divorces, legal separations, paternity actions, post-divorce modifications and other litigation, such as changes in spousal maintenance, child support and child custody and preparation and interpretation of prenuptial, post-nuptial and non-traditional partnership agreements.


Allison M. Murdock (JD 1988)

Allison M. Murdock

Allison Murdock is Deputy Managing Partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. She is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. In addition to her management roles, Murdock is a leading trial attorney in estate and trust matters. Her litigation practice focuses on defending corporate fiduciaries against claims of fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty arising from the creation and administration of trusts. She has also defended trust termination and reformation actions, and litigated adversary probate proceedings. Representative clients include several national and regional banks. 

Public Service Award

These women work on behalf of a nonprofit organization, government agency or the judiciary; or have made their mark in education.


Patricia Sullivan (J.D. ‘95)

Patricia Sullivan

Patricia Sullivan is an Assistant City Prosecuting Attorney in Springfield, MO since June 1997. As Assistant Prosecutor, Sullivan’s primary responsibilities include prosecuting city ordinance violations. Prior to her current position, Sullivan served as Missouri State Public Defender for a year. 


Karen Warren (J.D. ’78)

Karen Warren

Karen Warren is the Associate Director of Administration and Community Engagement at the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Warren oversees community engagement and outreach and supervise the Legal Services’ client intake functions. She focuses her legal practice in the areas of Social Security Disability Law, Medicaid and other health-related matters.

Leaders of Tomorrow Award

This award is given to law students who demonstrate leadership, professionalism and a passion for making a difference in the justice system or legal profession.


Lischen Reeves (J.D. ’18)

Lischen Reeves is a current UMKC School of Law student. Reeves currently assists 1L students as a Structured Study Group Leader for Contracts Law. She was awarded Best Oral Advocate and second place overall in UMKC’s Ellison Moot Court Competition and was a member of UKMC Law’s National Moot Court Team. One of her major accomplishments was serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Urban Lawyer, a former prestigious national publication for UMKC School of Law. She was also thrilled to win the Bloch School’s New Venture Creation Competition with her teammates by co-authoring the best business plan and giving the top business pitch for a local tech startup. Lischen has been planning the law school’s Baccalaureate Ceremony in her position as Co-President of UMKC’s Christian Legal Society.  When she is not in school, she is serving her community, most especially her home country, Liberia, where her family is in the process of building a community resource center. 


You can read the Missouri Lawyers Media Women’s Justice Award issue here or see the abbreviated list of awardees here.

Published: May 7, 2018