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Blog: My Day with the Attorney

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Turns out, the modern corporate lawyer spends much of his time in the office.

Given the newspaper industry’s transition into the digital age, I don’t know why this surprised me. We rely on technology, the internet and established, well-kept archives every day.

Those parallels made themselves known to me during my day with Randell Wallace, partner in charge of Lathrop Gage’s Springfield office.

Ahead of my June 7 Day in the Life with of Randell, he cautioned his day might not be very exciting.

I disagreed, knowing an inside look into another profession would be interesting for me personally and for our readers. I was right.

At Lathrop Gage, attorneys and other legal staff heavily are reliant on technology. That’s a relatively fresh change from five to 10 years ago, Randell told me, and it’s important for the Kansas City-based law firm that has 10 offices stretching from Boston to Los Angeles. There’s a vast database of resources to tap into, and knowledgeable attorneys specializing in specific corporate industries are available at a moment’s notice. The Springfield office’s law library mostly is symbolic, and at least two staff members are tasked solely with digitizing documents.

“Everything is really done electronically,” says Randell, a day after his firm rebranded to Lathrop Gage from Lathrop & Gage LLP.

Though I wasn’t allowed to know the names of his clients due to attorney-client privilege, I watched Randell working on complicated issues like real estate transactions and mergers and acquisitions from the comfort of his brightly lit office facing John Q. Hammons Parkway in the sprawling BKD building.

Electronic signatures and conference calls are key.

When face-to-face communication is needed, his office is equipped with a high-definition webcam and quick broadband speeds for easy cross-office discussion. Randell notes he still likes to connect with his clients without the aid of the internet.

“Face to face is still important,” he says.

It’s another thing we agree on. For the most part, the majority of my work can be done right here at 313 Park Central West. But leaving the office once and a while is a good way to remember where you are and to stay connected on a more human level.

Our Day in the Life series fits into that camp. It’s one of my favorite assignments of the year, and I’m thankful to Randell for giving me an inside look into his industry.

Reporter’s Notebook
I had my work-issued iPhone ready to tweet out updates via #DITLRandell and snap photos of interesting portions of Randell’s day. Here’s a sampling.

The recently rebranded Lathrop Gage isn’t yet reflected on the exterior of the building. I’m told that’s coming soon.

Lathrop Gage’s Springfield office is beautifully crafted. Walking in, one can see directly through the lobby.

Lathrop Gage’s new branding focuses on the word “beyond,” which positions the firm’s employees as client advisers in addition to corporate lawyers.

Randell’s new business card shows off the company’s updated logo utilizing a two-toned purple color scheme.

Here’s a look at Randell’s office as he meets with Madeline McCubbin, the office administrator.

It doesn’t look like much, but this high-definition camera can stream attorneys from multiple offices at once. Randell says each of the partners in charge can be viewed simultaneously, as well as executive staff in Kansas City.

Randell shows off a historical painting that pays homage to Lathrop Gage. It all started in 1873 with Gardiner Lathrop and William Smith. A 1996 merger with former Kansas City Mayor John Gage’s practice set the firm on its current path.

Randell meets with Joseph Reid and Michael Textor in one of the office’s 10 conference rooms named after Ozarks waterways.

Randell shows off the office’s law library. It’s mostly symbolic these days, as everything is available digitally.

Hammons Tower looms as Randell and BKD Managing Partner John Wanamaker walk to the nearby chamber luncheon.

Randell gets lunch — Italian chicken — during the chamber’s past directors meeting.

Intellectual property attorneys James Jeffries and Joe Johnson meet with Randell.

The firm conducts IP work in 155 countries.

Unlike Features Editor Emily Letterman and reporter Sydni Moore, I neglected to take a selfie. Here instead is a picture of Randell with SBJ photographer Wes Hamilton.

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