KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal Judge Brian Wimes is part of the judiciary for the Western District of Missouri, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011.
He's had a long, robust legal career from drug court commissioner to a Jackson County circuit judge before landing a federal appointment. Judge Wimes also loves his job. "I always enjoyed trial work, trying cases. So it's fun to do that as a judge. I will also tell you the other part of my job I kind of like is the research and writing. I'm a nerd in that sense," he said.
Wimes says he also has a love for mentoring because, "I'm passionate about the law and I can remember as a young lawyer having the opportunity to get in court, to meet judges, to learn from judges. Judge Fernando Gaitan, Judge Jon Gray and some other judges that have always been my mentors. That's why I'm really passionate about young lawyers having the opportunity to get in, to see a judge, kind of in an informal setting."
Since August 2017, he's hosted "Off the Record: Courthouse Conversations" with young attorneys from across the metro to meet in an informal setting. There's lunch, a special guest and no question is off limits. "It helps them in terms of their confidence. When they do come into court, their ability to stand, respond on their feet and be lawyers," Wimes shared.
Associate attorney Leigh Ann Massey said, "A lot of times younger attorneys, they would like the chance to get in front of the judges more but that opportunity doesn't come until a lot later in their career."
Associate attorney Jenna Brofsky added, "It means that I'm valued as a young attorney and it makes me want to devote more to the profession. Lawyers get a bad wrap and judges get a bad wrap, so it's nice to kind of see him welcoming us in and shepherding us along. I appreciate that."
Several attendees are now considered mentees of Wimes, who's also dad to three girls and a husband of almost 23 years to his wife Michelle who he calls, "The rock, the backbone. She's supported me in every step."
Wimes says his secret to success is, "I don't take myself too seriously. You got to learn to laugh at yourself but you've got to take this job very seriously."