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2019 Men of the Year: Kevin Dunaway

Neale & Newman LLP

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Kevin Dunaway’s life has been marked by dedication. That’s perhaps most evident in his career.

Neale & Newman LLP has been Dunaway’s professional home for his entire 36 years in law. He joined the firm as a clerk in the summer of 1983, fresh from earning his undergraduate degree from Drury University. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri, and officially joined Neale & Newman as an attorney in October 1986.

“While many attorneys have a history of changing firms, I have stayed the course at Neale & Newman and endured to make it a better place for all concerned,” he says.

Dunaway says he was one of the youngest attorneys to be made a partner, just five years out of law school. During his tenure, he’s chaired the firm’s litigation committee, served on the executive committee overseeing operations and for the last 12 years led the compensation committee as chairman.

“Service in these roles required hundreds of hours, for which no compensation was paid, but I was glad to serve,” he says. “Every step of the way I have tried to be a person of benefit, rather than a person of detriment, to every person with whom I have come into contact.”

Dunaway says one of his proudest accomplishments was being selected to the Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers panel from 2010 through this year, an award selected based on peer and judge review.

He is not only focused on making an impact on the firm as a whole and to the profession, but on its youngest attorneys and paralegals through mentorship.

“When I began practicing law, the firm provided no mentoring,” he says. “Basically, you were fed to the wolves in a sink or swim environment and you learned to practice through trial and error.”

Today, Dunaway says he works with employees at Neale & Newman on a daily basis to train them and ensure best practices.

That dedication to the next generation of firm leadership stands out to Gary Metzger, who recently retired after three decades in banking, most recently at Simmons Bank.

“The extra time he spends mentoring individuals has a lasting and positive effect that cannot be overestimated,” he says.

Metzger says he’s known Dunaway for two decades, both personally and through a professional relationship.

“The individuals I have most admired demonstrate not only exceptional ability and achievement, but are also known for their personal integrity and character and for the encouragement, care and support they give to others,” he says. “Kevin Dunaway exemplifies these qualities in the highest degree.”

Throughout his career, Dunaway says he’s been dedicated to giving back to the community. He’s a past board member of nonprofits including Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, Harmony House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, where he was the co-chair of Taste of the Ozarks for two years. During his leadership, the event posted record revenue.

“I believe firmly that it is our obligation to give back to the community,” Dunaway says. “This is my mantra.”

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