The members and associate attorneys at Rasmussen Dickey Moore are supported by a fantastic team of paralegals, clerks, secretaries and administrative assistants, human resource specialists, accountants and billing specialists, and marketing specialists. Our team works with over two dozen attorneys across three offices to make possible the unparalleled work that our firm does.
Coming off her first year at St. Louis University School of Law, Sarra Agha has joined Rasmussen Dickey Moore as a summer law clerk at our Downtown St. Louis office. Both she and the firm are excited for her first foray into the world of litigation!
After she completed her bachelor’s degree in international business and Middle East studies, Sarra enrolled at SLU’s School of Law to further her studies. During undergrad, Sarra was an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha. In law school, she has joined the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association and the Women Law Students Association.
Between undergrad and law school, Sarra spent time as an intern with Hacking Immigration Law helping immigrants who sought asylum in the United States. She also previously spent time as an English tutor with the International Institute of St. Louis.
This summer, Sarra will be focused on researching expert witnesses, reading depositions, and drafting motions. Also during the break, Sarra will have a brief internship with Judge James Dowd of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. When she returns to school in the fall, she’s looking forward to participating in moot court and delving further into business and corporate law.
Sarra is a life-long St. Louisan. Away from the classroom and the office, she enjoys cooking, shopping, working out, and spending time with her friends and roommates.
We wish Sarra the best this summer and through her ongoing studies, and we hope to see her join our ranks of talented young litigators in the coming years!
Rasmussen Dickey Moore attorney Farhan M. Zahid represented a mother in a pro bono termination of parental rights trial in October. Three months later, Judge Jalilah Otto of the 16th Circuit Court in Jackson County, Missouri, finally issued a ruling.
Judge Otto held that the Petition was not sustained and ordered that the mother’s rights not be terminated. The Judge took particular interest in this case and repeatedly agreed with arguments Farhan made at trial.
The mother was alleged to have left the kids alone in the home with diaper rash and vomit. During the pendency of the case, she tested positive for marijuana, missed 70 visits arranged by the Children’s Division, and was convicted for shoplifting. The cards were stacked against the client.
A First for Marijuana Card Holders in Missouri
Farhan represented his client zealously in this case, convincing the Court to apply California precedent in this case—an unprecedented occurrence in Missouri. For the first known time in the Show-Me State, a court held that where a parent in a juvenile court matter who has a medical marijuana card, the substance-free requirement and associated negative urinalysis drug tests are not allowed to be ordered or held against the parent as a factor in consideration of termination of parental rights. This also brings to the forefront the issue of whether the state punishing mothers for using THC by removal of their children is a violation of the Missouri Constitution’s provision for medical marijuana.
The judgment does conclude on custody that it will remain as ordered in the underlying neglect case. However, in that case, the Judge has delayed proceedings to find out how Judge Otto will rule on the termination of parental rights trial. Meanwhile, the Children’s Division is already in the transition period, making preparations for the three children to all return to their mother. It is plainly obvious that essentially res judicata will be applied in the judgment of the underlying case.
RDM Fights Hard
Needless to say, Farhan’s client is elated at the outcome. At RDM, our attorneys fight hard with zeal for all of our clients and are undeterred by an uphill battle. If you are seeking top-notch, state-of-the-art trial counsel defense involving products liability and other litigation, contact RDM to discuss your case today.
“I am very pleased to have Travis and Brandon joining the partnership at RDM,” says Bryan Skelton, another St. Louis-based member attorney. “I have worked with Travis since 2013 and with Brandon since 2017. They have been a very significant part of my team from the beginning. They are both excellent attorneys who will serve our clients well into the future. I am looking forward to working with them for many years to come.”
Travis received a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from Purdue University and attended law school at Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale, obtaining his Juris Doctor in 2013. With a background in construction engineering, Travis focuses his practice in areas that he has hands-on experience with, defending corporate clients in the construction industry.
“I am honored to be named a partner and I am looking forward to being a part of Rasmussen Dickey Moore’s growth and success.”
Travis and his wife, Katie, find themselves chasing their 18-month-old son, Jude, in their free time. Away from the office and home, Travis helps out at his family’s winery, The Pour Vineyard, in Red Bud, Illinois.
Brandon is also a 2013 SIU School of Law alum, graduating summa cum laude, while also serving as editor-in-chief of his law journal and member of the school’s moot court board. Prior to law school, Brandon received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Evansville in Indiana.
Following a term as a judicial extern for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier in 2013, Brandon began his practice in Evansville, representing corporate clients in a variety of complex litigation matters. He has extensive trial and appellate experience, both in state and federal courts.
“My entire legal career has been focused on litigation, and I am extremely excited to continue to work with the group of tenacious, detail-oriented litigators at RDM.”
Brandon and his wife, Jennifer, are parents to three boys, including twins born in November of 2021. They reside in O’Fallon, IL
With hard work, a bit of luck, and the best staff in the business, and of course our happy clients, Rasmussen Dickey Moore has been able to sustain growth through turbulent times. We’ve established ourselves as a premier small firm in the fields we serve. We’ve expanded from a small office in Kansas City’s Westport District to three branches in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Los Angeles with nearly two dozen top-tier attorneys. We are truly thankful for the clients, attorneys, and staff who have brought us so far.
, RDM celebrated an exciting and impressive milestone—25 years in business! While the ongoing pandemic preempted a silver anniversary party, we still want to take some time to reflect on the past quarter century, from humble beginnings to where we are today.
Rasmussen & Barton
On November 1st, 1996, Kurt Rasmussen, George Barton, and a handful of other attorneys from the Watson & Marshall law firm (including Clayton Dickey and Steve Moore) opened Rasmussen & Barton. The newly established firm first hung their shingle at 21 West 43rd Street in the Westport District of Kansas City. Kurt’s now-retired secretary Anita Kuhn recalls that first office as “not too good.”
“Leaky roofs, crows in the parking lot, people sleeping in the dumpster, one nasty bathroom in the basement,” were some of the challenges Clay recollects from the first year on West 43rd Street. “Anita wore her rain gear and brought a fishing pole to work to mark the occasion of the leaks.”
The staff initially consisted of four employees, including Anita and paralegal Charles Blaschke, who still works for the firm today. According to the first issue of the R&B newsletter in the winter of 1996, the firm started off with “Corel Word Perfect 7.0 and Microsoft Windows installed on three PCs and two laptops; two laser printers; Savin 9600 copy machine; postage meter; one facsimile machine; phone system with voicemail and cost accounting procedures; scanner with sheet feeder; and of course—the office pen.”
“That first year was scary,” Clay recalls. “We no longer had the safety nets associated with a large organization—health care, steady paycheck, rent, utilities, and overhead being paid for by someone else. We had to pay the rent, buy the office supplies, make payroll, and advance costs to clients.”
However, at the end of their first year in business, the attorneys and staff at the fledgling firm had faith in their future and each other. The firm moved to newer office space on Roanoke Road in Westport and renamed itself to Rasmussen Barton & Willis to recognize the achievements of Randy Willis in developing the firm.
When George Barton left the firm to pursue a solo practice, the name changed again, with a couple of attorneys who stuck it out from the beginning—Clay and Steve—adding their names to the sign, becoming Rasmussen Willis Dickey & Moore.
Into the New Millennium
By 2001, the firm had outgrown its Roanoke Road office and relocated to 9200 Ward Parkway, securing two floors of space and some creature comforts for the growing roster of attorneys and staff. Rasmussen Willis Dickey & Moore would operate from this location for the next 15 years.
Rasmussen Dickey Moore
2016 was a year of many milestones. The firm, stronger than ever, celebrated its 20th anniversary. The firm relocated its Kansas City headquarters to the present office in the Holmes Corporate Center at 1001 East 101st Terrace.
Also in 2016, longtime partner Randy Willis retired. With that, the firm again changed its name and became Rasmussen Dickey Moore, or RDM, as we’re known today.
How Did We Get Here?
“Luck,” says Kurt. While luck certainly plays a role in the success of any business, most anyone at RDM will say there’s more to it than that.
“Our mantra for the past 25 years has been, ‘There is no substitute for hard work,’” says Steve. “Hard work pulled the firm through tremendously challenging times—9/11, client bankruptcies, market crashes, and the current pandemic. There is no real mystery to creating a successful law firm. The harder you work, the more successful you will be.”
Clay reiterates the value of hard work. “What sets us apart is dedication to representing our clients with zeal. We have an ethical duty to be zealous in our representation. We should never allow our adversaries (and our competition) to out-work us. Our clients pay us well to represent them and we owe them nothing short of our best foot forward in every case.”
“I’m confident our clients see that we care more than most about thinking outside the box and creatively thinking about how best to succeed in a case that is tailored to the peculiar facts of any given challenge. We come to work each day with enthusiasm and a willingness to do the best job you can for our clients. They deserve nothing less.”
Behind the luck and the hard work, of course, are people. Dozens of present and past attorneys and staff have dedicated their day-to-day lives to providing exemplary work and quality service to our clients for 25 years and counting.
Despite the constant work, Anita Kuhn recalls, “we always stopped for people. We take a moment to reflect, we celebrate each other, and we take time to help each other.”
One notable example is when paralegal and National Guardsman Col. Chuck Blaschke was deployed to Iraq in the early 2000s. “The respect that Kurt and the firm had for me as a guardsman and soldier through two deployments was remarkable,” says Chuck. In return, Chuck presented the firm with the Army National Guard Team Medal as a thanks for the support shown while he was away serving the country.
Another paralegal, Teresa Tallman, has been with the firm for most of its existence, recently celebrating 22 years with RDM. She’s made her dedicated work with us a family affair, with her daughter Brittany Leonard also working at the firm as a paralegal.
“The people who deserve special recognition for the success of our law firm are our families,” adds Steve. “They were (and still are) the support system that have allowed us to make innumerable personal sacrifices that have resulted in a successful law firm. Our key to success has been and will always be a strong work ethic, and our families have made that possible.”
To the Future
RDM has come a long way over 25 years, expanding to three offices in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. However, our commitment to our core values—dedication, flexibility, and value—have always stayed the same. And while we’ve grown, we still acknowledge the importance of maintaining a lean, efficient organization to be able to provide top-tier service to our clients nationwide at an extraordinary value.
Recently, RDM was recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Law Firmsfor our work in products liability defense, mass torts defense, and franchise law. Kurt Rasmussen, Clay Dickey, and Joseph Dioszeghy have been once again named to the Best Lawyers list. And Kurt Rasmussen and Steve Moore were listed as 2022 Super Lawyers in products liability defense.
We’re immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve our clients, whether it be from day one of a case or down to the wire before trial. Our attorneys and staff are eager to demonstrate our dedication and attention to detail that have set us apart over the last 25 years.
Meet John A. “Jay” Gillen III, Rasmussen Dickey Moore’s newest associate attorney based in our Kansas City office. Although Jay only recently passed the Missouri bar exam, he is more than prepared to take on our clients’ cases and deliver the dedication, flexibility, and value for which RDM is known.
Why is Jay such a suitable fit for the RDM Team? He’s already spent three years with the firm as a law clerk, getting to know our attorneys, clients, and business.
The Summer Law Clerk Job
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 2018, Jay was preparing to enter Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. Initially, he planned to study Constitutional law. But by chance, Jay was introduced to RDM founding member Clayton Dickey. Clay invited Jay to interview for a law clerk position with RDM. Before long, Jay found himself immersed in the litigation world.
During his first summer on the job, Jay worked closely with Clay to prepare deposition summaries and do background research on plaintiffs. “Reading through depo summaries gave a better insight into what happens and helped me to develop specialized knowledge,” says Jay of his first summer at RDM.
The following summer, Jay was part of a Trial Team, working closely with RDM’s seasoned trial attorneys to provide research assistance on cases. Jay suggests going beyond just what the attorneys tell you to look for. Take initiative and focus on the details. “It’s always fun to come up something and see the attorneys get excited. If I were doing this, what would I look for to win this case?”
Working summers with RDM was exceptionally valuable. Clay recalls, “As a summer clerk Jay got well-versed in a fun and interesting array of topics such as marijuana, genetics, and cattle farms.”
“A lot of law students looking to go into big law firms get thrown into a back room doing document discovery for years. At RDM, I was able to work closely with attorneys and start drafting memos and motions,” Jay says. “It was a big advantage.” Heading into his pre-trial litigation course in the fall of 2020, Jay was able to take the lead on group projects with his previous experience preparing deposition summaries and motions.
During his final school year, Jay was able to stay on the job remotely while finishing his final year at law school and studying for the bar exam through the summer. Jay had been working closely with Clay and associate attorney Farhan Zahid on a case and was able to continue contributing as he wrapped up his studies.
Member attorney Nathan Lindsey recalls similar valuable experiences. Starting as a law clerk with RDM as a 2L student, Nate worked on dispositive motions and international choice of law issues for cases headed to trial. “Those type of early opportunities sold me on the firm,” says Nate. The following year, Nate had a very unique opportunity when he was able to cross Missouri to assist in opening RDM’s St. Louis office.
From summer clerk to partner, Nate’s experience demonstrates the career possibilities made available at RDM. “We are truly a career-oriented firm. The firm values every one of our employees and provides opportunities to grow and fulfill their potential.”
Becoming an Associate Attorney
After having demonstrated exceptional skills and dedication to his work over three summers, RDM of course extended an offer to Jay to become an associate attorney once he passed the bar exam. Jay transitioned into the job quite smoothly, as he was already wrapped up with the cases and clients that would soon become his.
The expectations are elevated, however, and as an attorney, the work becomes more intense and more time sensitive. “It surprised me to find out just how much our attorneys handle,” Jay says. But having already developed a deep familiarity with the work done at RDM, he has been able to take it all in stride.
Member attorney Joseph Dioszeghy began his long career with RDM straight out of law school in 2001. “One of RDM’s strengths is treating our employees and young attorneys as adults,” says Joe. “They immediately assigned me a trial set case and put me to work.”
“We train you, we help you, and we prepare you in every way we know how to be successful. But at the end of the day, we trust you to do your job. We let young associates take very important depositions. We let young associates argue important motions.”
Young associates receive opportunities to take on challenging work from the moment they start. First-year RDM associate Dillon Williams recently wrote about some of his newly acquired experience in drafting summary judgment motions as a new attorney who was able to take on challenges from the start.
Looking Forward to a Career with RDM
“Part of the fun is being able to work with the attorneys and trusted to handle the work,” says Jay. Now that he’s a full-fledged attorney, Jay wants to diversify the types of work he’ll be involved with. Beyond products liability and toxic torts, he hopes to delve into the fields of commercial litigation and healthcare law soon as well.
“Everyone at RDM has been great even since I started as a law clerk,” says Jay, “and now I can do more to help them out.” RDM founding member Steve Moore has brought Jay in to help with a number of asbestos cases. And he still works closely with Farhan, currently assisting with pro bono family law cases. “It’s emotional but exciting,” Jay says of the family law work. He hopes to continue to do pro bono work, also in the fields of Social Security and disability, as he did while working at Indiana University’s Community Legal Clinic.
“Jay is inquisitive, insightful, a quick study, enthusiastic and knows how to apply the law to the facts at hand,” says Clay Dickey. “He’s mature beyond his years. We are lucky to have him.” The attorneys and staff at Rasmussen Dickey Moore are excited to support this promising young attorney as he continues on his career path at our firm.