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I practice primarily in our firm’s Hutchinson office. I was born in 1946 in the happy aftermath of World War II and, accordingly, I’m a Baby Boomer of the first rank. I graduated from high school in 1964 and, for a period of years, juggled classes at Kansas State University in an ultimately futile effort to preserve a Selective Service academic deferment.
After a stint of military service, I returned to Kansas State and completed my undergraduate degree. I accepted an offer from a Des Moines insurance company and soon found myself to be, of all things, a group pension administrator. Pension administration proved to be a particularly uninspired career choice and I soon began a search for other options. An assortment of assessments suggested I might have some aptitude for law and, seizing upon a glimmer of possibility, I enrolled as a first year student at Washburn University Law School in 1970.
To my surprise, I discovered that I seemed to have a flair for the peculiar art of taking law school essay examinations. I enjoyed some modest academic success and, in time, earned an opportunity to join the law review staff. In time I learned to use using the proper footnote forms and shorthand signals of authority promulgated by earlier generations of the Harvard Law Review staff and compiled in the heralded Blue Book. My commitment to the truly persnickety eventually gained me the title of Editor-in-Chief.
In due course, I graduated from Washburn and joined a law firm in Wichita. I was assigned a variety of duties others didn’t want to handle and eventually was incorporated by default in the firm’s litigation practice. As a litigator I discovered extensively but litigated rarely. In time, the partners and I concluded that I was temperamentally ill-suited for litigation but that I might be of use in the firm’s public finance practice.
The years 1977 to 1986 proved to be a great time to be a budding Bond Lawyer and I became a made-member of the firm’s Bond Department. The obligations of the states and their political subdivisions were largely exempt from federal and state securities laws and regulations and states and government officials quickly discovered that public funds could be employed admirably to finance all sorts of public and private development efforts, from vast urban renewal projects to the renovation of the local chicken house restaurant.
But all good things end and, in time, with accumulating layers of niggling tax laws and regulations, the public finance practice began to lose some of its allure. Being well past middle age and maturing rapidly, I began a search for new horizons. Being relatively near-sighted, I returned to Hutchinson in the mid-1990s and settled in.
My practice these days focuses primarily on educational and governmental matters as well as public finance I represent the Hutchinson public schools along with a number of area school districts and Hutchinson Community College. I also represent clients in connection with real estate and business acquisitions, various business and business-finance transactions as well as taxation-related administrative proceedings.
I am active in community activities and affairs. I’m presently a Director of the Hutchinson Reno County Chamber of Commerce, a member and past President of the Hutchinson Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International Foundation. My community activities also include the United Way of Reno County (Professional Division Campaign Chairman, 1999-2005; Director, 2002-2007); Reno County Historical Society (Director, 1998-2004; President, 2000 and 2002); Kansas Underground Salt Museum Capital Campaign (Chairman, Leadership Gifts Division; Advisory Council Member (2000-2005); Horizons Mental Health Center (Director, 1998-2004; Secretary 2001-2004); Hutchinson Civitan Club (Director , 1997-2001; President, 2000); Leadership Hutchinson (Class of 1997) and Hutchinson/Reno County Youth Friends (Volunteer Mentor).
When I’m not practicing to be a better lawyer or engaged in community activities, I cultivate and mow grass and maintain various pieces of equipment useful for mowing grass, both short and tall. My wife, Mary, and I live in suburban Buhler, Kansas on a tract of land that’s too big to make much sense as a home and too small and wooded to be a viable farm. Our children, five in number, have moved on and away to live their own lives in their own ways.
Hourly ($145-250/hour), Fixed (sometimes), Retainer (sometimes)
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|KS||Authorized to practice law||1973||07/04/2016|
|Partner||Martindell Swearer & Shaffer, LLP||1995 - Present|
|Member||Hinkle Eberhart & Elkouri,LLC||1987 - 1994|
|Partner||Gaar & Bell||1979 - 1987|
|Associate and Partner||Weigand Curfman Brainerd Harris & Kaufman||1973 - 1979|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Reno County Bar Association||Member||1995 - Present|
|Hutchinson Rotary Club||Past President/Member||1995 - Present|
|Hutchinson- Reno County Chamber of Commerce||Director/Member||1995 - Present|
|National Association of Bond Lawyers||Member||1979 - Present|
|Wichita Bar Association||Member||1973 - Present|
|Kansas Bar Association||Member||1973 - Present|
|American Bar Association||Member||1973 - Present|
|Washburn University School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1973|
|Kansas State University||Political Science/Business Administration||BS - Bachelor of Science||1969|