Denise K. Drake is a commercial and employment law trial attorney, with a successful track record in all venues (state and federal court, state and federal administrative hearings, “private” arbitrations, etc.). She also has significant experience as the lead attorney overseeing large, high-dollar litigation matters (class, collective, multi-plaintiff and multi-defendant cases). Denise has efficiently and effectively handled cases in at least thirty different states, and offices in both Kansas City, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas.
Denise practices labor and employment law exclusively on behalf of management for companies of all sizes and in all industries. Denise's practice concentrates on all aspects of commercial and employment litigation, management counseling, employment law training, and alternative dispute resolution.
Denise has consistently been recognized as one of Kansas City’s Best of the Bar. She was a 2003 recipient of Ingram’s 40 Under 40 Award for being one of the “most influential and accomplished business leaders under 40 years of age” in the Greater Kansas City Area. In 2005, Denise was recognized by The Daily Record as one of Kansas City’s Legal Leaders.
A frequent lecturer and national speaker on many litigation and employment law topics, Denise is always aware of the latest trends, challenges and opportunities for her business clients. She has been on the forefront of many issues, including engaging in and defending electronic discovery issues, defending collective actions, and using alternative dispute resolution vehicles. Denise enjoys taking a proactive approach with clients, helping them avoid lawsuits being filed in the first place.
Appointed by the Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Denise serves on the civil jury instructions subcommittee for the Circuit. She is active in the Labor and Employment Law Section of the American Bar Association, speaking regularly at national conferences and serving as a co-chair of the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Membership Committee and a member of the Management Advisory Committee.
Before joining Spencer Fane, Denise worked as a human resources specialist with Twentieth Century Companies, Inc. (now known as American Century). She received her bachelor's degree with a double major in communications and psychology from Iowa State University, her master's degree in human resources development from Webster University, and her law degree from the University of Kansas, where she was a recipient of the Foulston & Siefkin and the Payne & Jones Appellate Advocacy Awards as well as the C.C. Stewart Award for graduating first in her class. Denise is also a member of the Order of the Coif. Immediately following law school, Denise was honored to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable John R. Gibson, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Iowa State University, BS in psychology and communications
Webster University, MA in human resources
University of Kansas Law School, JD
Professional Associations & Memberships
American Bar Association
Association for Women Lawyers of Greater KC
Johnson County Bar Association
Kansas Bar Association
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
The Missouri Bar
Honors and Awards
•Best Lawyers In America
•Corporate Counsel's Top Lawyers
•Best of The Bar, Kansas City Business Journal
•Daily Record's 2005 Kansas City Legal Leaders Award, recognizing "outstanding leadership in and contributions to the legal community"
•Ingram’s 2003 “40 Under 40” Award, recognizing the “most influential and accomplished business leaders under 40 years of age” in the Greater Kansas City Area
•Appointed to Eighth Circuit Civil Jury Instructions Subcommittee
•Appointed to Federal Practice & Procedure Committee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
•Member of Spencer Fane’s Executive Committee; Director of Advocacy & Litigation Group; Prior Chair of Labor & Employment Group