A Silver Lining to Staying Home:
Weigands Seize New Out of State Opportunities from their Kansas Homes

Written by Hannah Sanchez

The normalization of working from home has opened up opportunities for Weigands in and outside of Kansas, while remaining at home in our state. Weigand alumni, Molly Campbell, Notre Dame, ’19, and Michael Hayes, University of Kansas, ’19, and current Weigand scholar, Paige Reese, Washburn Law, ’21, shared their experiences in these unprecedented times.

When Molly started her clerkship in August 2019 for the Honorable Daniel Crabtree in the District of Kansas, she had yet to decide her next steps post-clerkship. “I was hoping to take a couple months off after my clerkship and take an international trip before starting a new job,” Molly explained. “That plan did not happen, of course.” In May, Molly accepted a job with the Exoneration Project where she will be working on both § 1983 cases and wrongful conviction cases. Additionally, part of Molly’s work with the Exoneration Project will be supervising the student clinic at Notre Dame Law School.

While the Exoneration Project is located in Chicago, Illinois, Molly remains in Kansas City and works from home. Like many others, Molly has experienced challenges due to starting a new job remotely. “It’s been tough to not be able to ask quick questions as they arise, and sometimes it feels like ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ My one-bedroom apartment isn’t ideal from working for home, and I still am trying to get my ‘home office’ set-up just right! I also miss the social aspect of working in an office,” Molly explained. “I am feeling apprehensive, but I know that everyone feels the same way. I am trying to do my best under the circumstances, and I think everyone understands the strain that this pandemic has placed on attorneys, especially brand new ones.”

Despite these challenges, Molly has enjoyed having more control over her schedule while working remotely. Further, she is thankful that she has the opportunity to stay in Kansas City and be involved with the Kansas legal community. The Exoneration Project has attorneys in various cities and takes cases from all over the country, including Kansas City, but it doesn’t have any attorneys in Kansas City yet. “My goal is to be here in Kansas City. Although I’m not ready to take cases on my own yet, I’d like to base my practice here. I think this is a good way to test the waters!” Molly said.
Molly Campbell in her new work-from-home setup.
Like Molly, Michael recently completed a clerkship. Michael clerked for Judge Steven Grasz on the Eighth Circuit in Omaha, Nebraska. Since his clerkship ended, Michael and his family have moved back to Overland Park, Kansas. The pandemic caused Michael’s September 2020 start date with Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP in Kansas City in September 2020 to be pushed to January 2021. To fill that time, Michael is teaching ‘Ethics & Logic’ at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

“We started classes in person, but after several positive tests on campus, we’ve been remote for the last two weeks,” Michael explained. Since going online, Michael has enjoyed teaching remotely more than teaching in person. “I have a class size of approximately 30 students. Before going remote, I held class in a big auditorium where everyone had to be socially distanced and wear masks, so nobody could see me well, nor could they see each other well,” Michael continued, “but now, I teach over Zoom, and I prefer it. I find Zoom lessons more engaging, in part, because we can all see each other now. Students participate more, and we’re having better discussions.”

When Michael is not teaching, he is likely editing his dissertation for publication or working with the Humanitas Institute. The Humanitas Institute is an educational nonprofit, based in Kansas, that was founded to help schools develop classic Christian curriculum, both within college Catholic centers and high schools. As a board member, Michael will develop aspects of that curriculum.

Most of all, Michael has enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with his wife, Erin, and their three daughters. “Generally, I am at peace with everything. There’s financial uncertainty right now, and there’s always a lingering feeling that I could be doing more, so that can be frustrating. But altogether, we are trying to make the most of the additional free time that we have together. How many times in my life will I have the opportunity to spend as much time with my family as I do now?” Michael said.
Michael Hayes and his wife, Erin Hayes, take their puppy (Elizabeth, 4), ghost (Julia, 2), and ballerina (Margaret, 4), trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Similar to Molly and Michael, Paige Reese will be working remotely upon her graduation from Washburn Law next spring. Paige has accepted post-graduation employment with intellectual property firm Patterson + Sheridan, LLP. The firm is based out of Texas, but also has offices in California, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Paige will be practicing patent prosecution, and she will be the first associate to be on a fully remote track at the firm. She plans to live in the greater Kansas City area.

After working for Patterson + Sheridan over the summer and completing her 3L year remotely, Paige will be well-prepared for working remotely. Even so, Paige will still travel to one of the firm’s offices every so often for some face-to-face interaction and to get acquainted with her colleagues.

Paige hopes that Patterson + Sheridan will eventually establish a practice in Wichita. “When I originally interviewed for the summer associate position,” Paige explained, “I told my interviewers that I wanted to end up in Kansas, specifically, in Wichita. Being able to progress through my career and move to Wichita is very important to me. I love the people at Patterson + Sheridan, and I am excited to see how the practice could expand into Kansas. I will encourage that expansion while I’m at the firm.”

In the meantime, Paige plans to remain involved in the Kansas legal community, including in local bar associations, and the Kansas Bar Association. And, Paige hopes to give more Kansans the opportunity to work with a homegrown patent attorney.

Like many other industries, the legal profession has been forced to adapt to the wave of remote work. “Obviously, the pandemic is awful, but I am grateful that it has forced the legal profession to become more flexible,” Paige said. The pandemic has also required individuals to be more flexible with their careers.

Suffice it to say, these Weigands have lived up to the challenge. Molly, Michael, and Paige have reached creative solutions and expanded the Weigand reach nationally—all while remaining here in Kansas. 
Paige (Hungate) Reese and her husband, Devin Reese, were married on August 8, 2020.
Life and Litigation Centered in Faith:
Mark Lippelman Litigates to “Keep the Doors Open for the Gospel” at Alliance Defending Freedom.

Written by Olivia Rogers
Mark Lippelmann, Washburn ‘09, had one piece of resounding advice for new lawyers: “know yourself what’s a good fit for you and what isn’t because you’ll thrive in a situation that’s a good fit.” That’s certainly true of Mark. This summer, Mark joined Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in Scottsdale, Arizona—an international Christian nonprofit organization that focuses on legal advocacy for “religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family.” 

Mark calls the merging of his faith and his career “a luxury.” “For years, I was blessed with work totally unrelated to my faith during the day, and then taught theology at night. So I feel spoiled having the opportunity to combine professional work with faith,” Mark said.

ADF is comprised of multiple teams with separate focuses within the bigger mission of “keeping the doors open for the gospel,” as Mark described. This mission leads to ADF’s representation of many churches, religious organizations, and religious schools. “ADF has an impressive record before the U.S. Supreme Court and has a couple of important cases pending this term.”

So far, Mark’s work has involved challenging what he calls “bad apple COVID-19 restrictions” that impermissibly restrict religious activity while granting favorable treatment to similar activities that lack express constitutional protection. One such case is currently before the Supreme Court (Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak). ADF challenged a Nevada regulation that capped religious gatherings at 50 people regardless of building size, yet allowed casinos to operate at 50 percent capacity. “It’s a modest request,” Mark said. “We’re not asking for special treatment, just to let us do the same.” Mark has been involved in cases challenging Blane amendments, or state constitutional amendments that prohibit legislatures from appropriating funds to religious sects or institutions, including religious schools. “It’s a problem to discriminate against a school for its religious identity. You can control how funds are used, but you can’t discriminate against an organization based on who it is,” Mark said.

This remarkable intersection of faith and work isn’t limited to Mark. Mark’s wife, Jaclyn, has worked as the director of photography for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. In fact, Mark often brags that Jaclyn has photographed the Pope on three different continents. “I’d be sitting in my office in D.C. writing a brief and get a photo from Jaclyn of famous politicians,” he said. (Jaclyn has photographed the Pope in Washington, D.C., Krakow, Poland, and Panama City, Panama, if you’re wondering).

In addition to moving from D.C. to Scottsdale, Arizona and changing careers during a pandemic, Mark and Jaclyn also welcomed their first child, Matthew August, this September.

Mark realizes that keeping the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion open for Christian people and Christian organizations necessarily keeps those rights open for people and organizations of other religions or secular views, too. “ADF is a distinctively Christian organization, but absolutely understands that the right to free speech helps everyone, whether they are religious or not, and that the right to free speech helps Jews, Muslims, as well as atheists or agnostics,” Mark said.

Mark is taken aback at the thought that he is now a Constitutional litigator. “I didn’t believe you got to be one unless you graduated from Harvard and your dad is an appellate judge,” he said. Mark was also worried that stepping into a public interest position would be politically polarizing, but as a non-partisan person, Mark says he has appreciated that ADF attorneys “don’t put a political cart before the religious horse.”

Although Mark believes he has found his calling in his legal career, he recognizes the law is a demanding profession. And yet, he views that demand as a positive element. “I look back at the thousands of pages I read in law school, the hundreds of pages I’ve written since then, and realize that the demand helps you rise to the occasion.” 
Mark Lippelmann and his wife, Jaclyn and baby Matthew
Special Thanks!
I'd like to take this opportunity to extend special thanks to our mentors. Tackling law school is hard, but during a pandemic, our students need all the help they can get! Having an experienced Weigand to call upon can make a world of difference. Thank you to our mentors! - Claudette
As part of an ongoing effort to enrichen the Weigand community, Olivia Rogers (1L at Notre Dame) and Hannah Sanchez (ND, '20) researched, interviewed our alumni and wrote these articles under the skilled assistance of our editor, Jennifer Salva (Washburn, '19). If would you are willing to help contribute to a future edition of the WeigandWire, or have an idea for an article, please contact Jennifer Salva. Thank you!