KBA honors 6 for outstanding service to the profession


KBA honors 6 for outstanding service to the profession

TOPEKA, Kansas (Oct. 8, 2014)— In late September during its annual meeting at the Maner Conference Center in Topeka, the Kansas Bar Association recognized Thomas A. Adrian, Hon. Karen Arnold-Burger, Sen. Stephen R. Morris, Bryan W. Smith, J. Ronald Vignery and Angel R. Zimmerman with Outstanding Service Awards. This award is given for the purpose of recognizing lawyers and judges for service to the legal profession and/ or the KBA, and for recog­nizing non-lawyers for especially meritorious deeds or service that significantly advance the administration of justice or the goals of the legal profession and/or the KBA.

Adrian is one of the founders and shareholders in Adrian & Pankratz P.A. in Newton. He graduated from Washburn University in 1966 with a degree in business administration and Washburn University School of Law in 1969. He moved to Newton in 1972, where he has maintained his current practice.

Adrian is a community leader and volunteer. He was chairman of the board of trustees at Newton Medical Center (1987-93), president of the Harvey County Bar Association (1990- 91) and a member of the Council of Finance and Administration for Kansas West United Meth­odist Conference (1992-2000) and president (1998-2000). In 1994, he was named Trustee of the Year by the Kansas Hospital Association, and in 1998 he was named Outstanding Citi­zen of the Year by the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Arnold-Burger became a mem­ber of the Kansas Court of Appeals in February 2011 after serving 20 years as the presiding judge of the Overland Park Municipal Court. She pre­viously served as first assistant city attorney for Overland Park and assistant U.S. at­torney for the District of Kansas. She is a past president of the Johnson County Bar Association, the Earl E. O’Connor Inn of Court and the Kansas Municipal Judges Asso­ciation. She has taught for the last 15 years at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, and has been elected by fellow faculty members to its Faculty Council. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law

Morris attended Kansas State University, where he graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics. He then entered the U.S. Air Force as a pilot the following year, serving two terms of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. In 1974, Morris transferred from active duty to the Air Force Reserve, where he retired in 1991. He began his career in politics when he was elected to the USD 210 Board of Education (1977-93). In 1992, Morris was elect­ed to the Kansas Senate, where he served for the next 20 years. He was the chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee (1997-2001) and chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee (2001-05). He served as Senate president from 2005-13, as well as president-elect and president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (2010-12).

Smith is the managing member of Smith Law Firm, where his practice focuses on complex business litigation and personal injury cases. Smith graduated cum laude from Washburn University School of Law in 1992, where he was a member of the Washburn Law Journal and Moot Court.

Since 2008, Smith has worked as a volun­teer with the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Pro­gram helping attorneys and law students who have developed problems with drugs and al­cohol. His primary focus has been one-on-one work with in­dividuals to help them face their problem and enter the treatment process. Through KALAP he continues to work with these individuals after treatment as they learn to balance their lives and careers without the use of drugs or alcohol. Smith has acted as monitor on behalf of KALAP meeting weekly with the people he monitors and attending 12-step meetings with them.

Vignery formed Vignery & Ma­son LLC with partner Jeffrey Mason in 1986 and is currently a partner of the Goodland law firm. He graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1966 and Washburn University School of Law in 1969, where he was a member of Phi Alpha Delta fra­ternity and Omicrom Delta Kappa Honor So­ciety during his undergraduate years. Vignery was drafted into the U.S. Army in the 1968 and selected for the U.S. Navy JAG Corps a year later. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-74. He was stationed at Com 13 in Seattle through 1972 and from 1972-74 was the legal officer for the Naval Hospital in San Diego.

Zimmerman is a 2006 gradu­ate of Washburn University School of Law and currently serves as man­aging partner of Zimmerman & Zimmerman P.A. She is a local and national speaker on collection law, ethics, and law practice management. She cur­rently serves as president for the Law Practice Management Section of the KBA and is past president of both the Topeka and Kansas women attorneys associa­tions. She serves as a director for the National Conference for Women Bar Associations and on the International J. Reuben Clark Society Women in Law Committee. Zimmerman re­ceived the KBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 2009 and was a nominee for the ABA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 2010. She received one of the Top Performing At­torneys Awards from Capital One in 2009 and TLP Boss of the Year in 2011.


About the Kansas Bar Association Founded in 1882, the Kansas Bar Association is a voluntary professional association comprised of 7,000 members, including lawyers, judges, law students, and paralegals. The KBA is dedicated to advancing the professionalism of its members, encouraging public understanding of the law, and promoting the effective administration of our system of justice.