Students studying family law at UMKC have the opportunity to work with nationally recognized family law scholars in exploring cutting-edge issues in the development of family law. 

Mary Kay Kisthardt is UMKC’s Tiera M. Farrow Faculty Scholar and serves as executive editor of the prestigious Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which is published at UMKC.  Students can serve on the editorial team of the journal, working with Professor Kisthardt and members of the AAML Board, and writing and publishing comments on developments in the law.  Recent issues of the journal have explored issues such as Advanced Property Issues in Family Law,   Children’s Interests,  Familial and Matrimonial Agreements, and Electronic Evidence

Professor Kisthardt is a national leader in the development of uniform family laws and forms, authoring, for example, aThe AAML Model for a Parenting Plan, Spousal Support Guidelines (which have been adopted in a number of jurisdictions) and a Model Cohabitation Agreement. She also authored a widely used manual for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, What Should We Tell the Children? A Parent’s Guide for Talking About Separation and Divorce (Chicago:  2009).  She is also the regular family law columnist for the National Law Journal.

Some of her book chapters and articles include Professional Goodwill in Marital Dissolution Cases in Valuing Professional Practices and Licenses, Ron Brown, ed. (Prentice Hall, 1993-2011 Supps.);  Re-Thinking Alimony: The AAML’s Considerations for Calculating Alimony, Spousal Support or Maintenance21 Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 61 (2008); Working in the Best Interest of Children: Facilitating the Collaboration of Lawyers and Social Workers in Abuse and Neglect Cases 30 Rutgers Law Record 1 (2006), and Making a Place at the Table: Reconceptualizing the Role of the Custody Evaluator in Child Custody Disputes 43 Family Court Review 229 (2005)(with Barbara Glesner Fines).

Barbara Glesner Fines is the Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law.  She is the author of Professional Responsibility: Context & Practice (Carolina Academic Press 2013) and Ethical Issues in Family Representation (Carolina Academic Press 2010).  She serves on the editorial board of the Family Court Review, the journal of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, and on the executive committees of the American Association of Law Schools’ Sections on Family Law and Professional Responsibility. 

    Professor Glesner Fines writes extensively on issues at the intersection between family law and ethics.  Her articles in this are include:

Nancy Levit is the UMKC Curators’ and Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law and is a nationally recognized scholar in gender studies.  She has written books about feminist legal theory, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer (NYU Press 2006) (co-authored with Rob Verchick), jurisprudence, Jurisprudence—Classical and Contemporary: From Natural Law to Postmodernism (West Group 2002) (co-authored with Robert L. Hayman, Jr., and Richard Delgado), and sex segregation, feminism, and masculinity, The Gender Line: Men, Women, and the Law (NYU Press 1998). She serves as an associate editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which regularly features her annotated bibliographies on a variety of family law topics.  You can access her papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at:

Mary Kay O’Malley, Clinical Professor, is regularly called upon to share her expertise by serving in roles to improve and educate the family law bar.  She has served as a consultant to the Jackson County court on issues such as pro se litigation, the Supreme Court rules on juvenile law, and guardian ad litem work in domestic cases. She is the author of Chapter 1, The Juvenile Office, and Chapter 9, Termination of Parental Rights, in Missouri Bar Juvenile Law Deskbook (4th Ed. 2011). and has been asked to testify before the Missouri Legislature on foster care reform.

Rana Lehr-Lehnardt, assistant teaching professor, shares her expertise is in global human rights issues.  Her scholarly interests examine family law issues from this global perspective.  Her book chapters and articles include The Best Interests of the Child in International and Comparative Law (with T. Jeremy Gunn) in The Best Love of the Child: Being Loved and Being Taught to Love as the First Human Right (Timothy Jackson, ed. 2011); Treat Your Women Well: Comparisons and Lessons from an Imperfect Example Across the Waters, 26 Southern Illinois University Law Journal 405 (2002); One Small Step for Women: Female-Friendly Provisions in the Rose Statute of the International Criminal Court, 16 Brigham Young University Journal Public Law 317 (2002);