In Taylon Sumners’ line of legal work, an important but often overlooked quality is the ability to listen.
“I know that sounds simple,” says Sumners, an associate attorney at Wampler & Passanise Law Office PC, “but a lot of our clients just need to be heard.”
Those clients are subjects of criminal investigations, and as one can imagine, they’re in incredibly stressful situations. Her role is to offer legal advice and advocate for them. Taking the time to listen to clients, even though cutting them off could save time, shows respect and allows Sumners to better support them.
“I provide my clients with a level of comfort during a time where most people are experiencing the most discomfort they may ever experience,” Sumners says, noting she’s able to fully address concerns when clients feel free to express them without fear of judgment.
One of the keys to this comfort is providing certainty. Sumners says she tries to give as much information as possible to educate her clients, including informing them about their rights. She makes sure they know what to expect throughout the process from court hearings to possible outcomes.
Sumners has worked for the Wampler & Passanise Law Office since 2015 as a legal assistant and entered her role as an associate attorney in September 2020. She graduated with her law degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, in May last year.
Sumners is also a member of several bar associations on the national and local level, as well as The Missouri DWI Institute LLC.
Her drive to educate others is also a reason she is involved in speaking to participants of Greek life at local universities. She informs them about such topics as criminal justice, driving under the influence and Title IX. Other community work includes teaching inmates at a state penitentiary, serving as an overnight volunteer at the Safe to Sleep women’s shelter in Springfield and helping raise funds and awareness for breast cancer services.
“My mom is a breast cancer survivor, so I volunteer each year with the Pink Ribbon Rally of the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks and Making Strides for Breast Cancer with the American Cancer Society,” Sumners says.
More community involvement is among her goals.
“I believe immersing myself in organizations that deal with people of all ages would advance this goal,” Sumners says, “and allow people to have someone they know that they can turn to and ask questions.”
Sumners is dedicated to staying current in her work. She recently attended the American Bar Association Techshow to learn about implementing technology within the legal industry. Sumners says COVID-19 triggered interest in the ways technology can solve problems in her field. For example, virtual court hearings save clients time and money, as they do not have to arrange to travel to their court appearance, miss work or find child care.
Though she is still in the early stages of her career, law firm partner Dee Wampler says Sumners’ success is already apparent.
“I have employed many young college and law students,” Wampler says, “and I know a good one when I see one.”
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