Student Law Academy

"It is an outstanding program that connects the legal community with diverse, future community leaders. 
I'm inspired by the students' enthusiasm for the law and their eagerness to learn." 

- Sherri Wattenbarger, 
U.S. Department of Justice Office of The U.S. Trustee, SLA Mentor (2020)

                  Chair                                                   Vice Chair                                           Secretary
        Phyllis A. Norman                              Jeffrey Q. McCarther                             Kelly C. Frickleton 
      Norman & Graves, LLC                        United States Attorney's Office          Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader P.C.
                                                                         Western District of Missouri

About Student Law Academy

"Increasing diversity in our profession is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. The Kansas City legal community will realize its fullest potential only when the talents of all who practice law or aspire to a legal career, regardless of background, are welcomed."

- Sylvester "Sly" James, KCMBA Past President and founder of the Diversity Initiative

Student Law Academy graduate with her mother

Who We Are

Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation (KCMBF), in partnership with local education non-profit organization The Partnership for Regional Education Preparation-Kansas City (PREP-KC), created Student Law Academy (SLA) in 2019. SLA aspires to serve as a future pipeline to diversify Kansas City's legal community.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide under-served urban high school students, who would not otherwise have the opportunity, meaningful exposure to careers in the legal profession and a broad overview of the legal system. 

What We Do

SLA collaborates with local law firms, courts, and other legal entities to provide students with a dynamic, paid summer program. SLA works within PREP-KC's six school districts and three charter schools (Allen Village, Center, Independence, KCKPS, KCPS, Grandview, Guadalupe Centers, and Hickman) to select juniors and seniors in high school as SLA Scholars. 

Are you a student? SLA opportunities will be available beginning in 2022.

Are you an attorney or judge? Please contact Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation at to get involved. 

2021 SLA Program
Due to COVID-19, the 2021 program was once again adapted to a virtual format. The SLA Legal Pathway launched June 1, providing online sessions through Zoom each morning through June 25. The Scholars interacted with legal professionals, judges, federal agents, and others to learn about practice areas, case studies, the legal system, and what careers exist in the law. Each scholar was also paired with two mentors, who were legal professionals from the Kansas City community. Scholars and mentors met for an hour each Monday.

We are proud of the Scholars' ability to engage, learn, and collaborate through this format. We are also thankful for the Kansas City legal community supporting these Scholars' desire to learn about the law!

Student Law Academy believes #YouCanBeALawyer.


Image: 2021 Graduates  - In Their Own Words

Congratulations to our 
2021 Student Law Academy Graduates! Click here for the Graduation Program that took place on June 25, 2021, and see below for a recording of the virtual graduation ceremony.

During The Missouri Bar Annual Meeting, Supreme Court of Missouri Chief Justice Paul C. Wilson gave remarks on September 23, 2021 and highlighted the Student Law Academy at minute 17. Listen to the entire address below.

Linked below is a calendar of all sessions that took place during the 2021 Student Law Academy program. Recordings for many of the sessions have been imbedded in the title of the session. Simply click to watch what our Scholars learned!

Photo of SLA Scholars viewing the Court of Appeals oral arguments.

2021 Sponsors - Thank You!

Magna Cum Laude

Versfeld & Hugo, LLC Logo

Cum Laude

Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader P.C.
Baty Otto Coronado PC
Thomas V. Bender
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Horn Aylward & Bandy, LLC
Kenner Law Firm

Norman & Graves, LLC

Order of the Coif

Burgess Law Firm, PC
Jill & Mark Katz

Thank you to the National Institute for Trial Advocacy for providing case file materials. 

Thank you to
The M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation for their ongoing support.

2020 SLA Program

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 program was adapted to a virtual format. The SLA Legal Pathway launched June 1, providing online sessions through PREP-KC’s virtual Connector. Each Monday in June, SLA Scholars interacted with legal professionals on salient legal topics. This Legal Pathway sets up a formal path to the law for future students nationwide. Thank you to all our speakers for June!

Additionally, rather than the planned in-person internships, SLA pivoted to an online curriculum for the weeks of July 13-17 and July 20-24, with a virtual Graduation on July 24. Each day, SLA Scholars learned from legal professionals through interactive sessions, discussions, and special projects. They virtually visited courts, witnessed dockets, depositions, and learned about the legal system and careers in the law. All online activities were administered through the Connector. Thank you to all our speakers for July!

If you or a student is interested in these topics many of our speakers agreed to share their presentations with the public. You can find a playlist of their presentations here.

KCMBF's Student Law Academy Won 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Award

2020 KCMBF President Peter Goss

2020 KCMBF President Peter Goss accepting the award

Congratulations to KCMBF's Student Law Academy for being selected as a Missouri Lawyers Media 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Award winner! The awards recognize attorneys, firms, and organizations that are significantly advancing diversity, inclusion, and the dignity of all people in Missouri’s legal profession and in communities in which exceptional legal work impacts justice for all. To learn more about the award and honorees click here

Congratulations to our 2020 Student Law Academy Graduates! Click here for the Graduation Program that took place on July 24, 2020, 
and see below for a recording of the virtual graduation ceremony.

Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas gave opening remarks for the 2020 SLA Graduation.

Click below to meet the 2020 Scholars
Meet the 2020 Student Law Academy Scholars

Learn more about SLA and the other Legal Connection programs by watching the video below:

Click below to meet the 2019 Scholars
Meet the 2019 Student Law Academy Scholars

Student Law Academy 2019 Photos
Student Law Academy 2019 Photos

In Memory of JoEllen Engelbart

Visit to learn more.