Phil Willoughby’s Bio.
Here’s some things about me:
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri. For the first few years of my life, my family lived in South St. Louis city. After a few years our family moved to a wonderful small town in the hills of Kentucky. The population of Stephensport, Kentucky was 220 in the 1960’s. It’s not much different now. Our early years were somewhat challenging, not having indoor plumbing. We heated our 600 square foot, four-room mansion with coal.
Eventually, St. Louis became my home again. I attended Lindenwood Elementary School and Cleveland High School, as did my brother Tim, father Phil (Sr.), uncle Jay and aunt Joy.
I graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Missouri in 1979. While a student, I was active in speech and debate, theater, Future Teachers of America, Student Council and was Captain of the varsity baseball team.
After attending State Fair Community College, I transferred to William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. In 1983, much to the surprise of my professors, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While a student at William Jewell, I was involved in the theater department and served as president of the Christian Student Ministries Association. I was also a proud member of the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) Fraternity.
In 1983 through 1992, I attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree, as well as a Doctor of Ministry degree. Because I was not a fundamentalist, it was difficult fitting into the Southern Baptist mold of ministry, but I will always remain grateful for the influence that my seminary colleagues and professors had on my life.
In 1993, I entered University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law. I loved law school. I was able to get through the three-year program in two and a half years, because I attended summers and took heavy schedules. While a student at UMKC, I was involved in the student chapter of the American Association of Trial Attorneys, was on the staff of Law Review, qualified for the National Moot Court Team, qualified for the National Trial Advocacy Team, was named the “Order of the Barristers” and received the Thomas E. Deacy, Sr. Trial Practice Award.
After my second year of law school I became a Rule 13 Prosecutor for Platte County, Missouri. In December of 1995, I graduated from UMKC. I began my private practice with two of the best attorneys you will ever meet. Michael Keleher and Jeffrey Eastman hired me as a law clerk and transitioned me into my own practice. I could have not have asked for better mentors.
In 1999, I left the sole proprietor form of legal practice and joined the firm of Gunn, Shank & Stover, P.C. By joining Gunn, Shank & Stover, I was able to focus my practice on civil litigation.
I served in the Missouri House of Representatives
From 2001-2005 I served as State Representative from Clay County. As State Representative, I was active in crafting many pieces of legislation that are in effect today. I served as Co-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Chair of the Joint Committee on Utility Infrastructure Regulation, Vice-Chair of the House Utility Regulation Committee, sat on the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules, and handled many pieces of legislation on the floor of the House.
I vigorously fought against employer-driven Worker’s Compensation reform, making it tougher for injured employees to be fairly compensated for work-related injuries.
Current legal practice:
After 20 years, my practice has settled into civil litigation, mostly Plaintiffs in the employment area. One of the positive aspects of being a partner in a multi-attorney firm is that I find myself representing some small (and not so small) employers, as well as employees. That allows me to see both sides of the fence on most issues and advise my clients accordingly. I firmly believe that my clients need straight-forward answers to their job problems. They need to know when they have a good case and strong position, or if they have a weak case. No one benefits without clear information.
How I got into Employment Law (And the beginnings of TimsLaw.com:
In 1997 my older brother Tim Willoughby graduated from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He aced the LSAT, and aced the Bar Examination. He was just that kind of a guy. In 1993 he told me about a novel idea as to how he was going to make his mark in the practice of law: He would start a website that actually provided information for people who were having job problems. If they needed assistance, he thought, they may just call him after reviewing his site. I told him it would never work. I advised him that his semi-genius legal mind needed to be spent on more productive pursuits – like joining the Chamber of Commerce or something.
Obviously Tim’s concept worked. Shortly after his graduation from law school Timslaw.com was launched, and his phone started ringing. TimsLaw.com has helped thousands upon thousands of individuals facing employment problems. I have had attorneys tell me that they use the site as a beginning point for their legal research. Soon after his graduation from law school, Tim and I started collaborating on employment cases. His creative approach to solving people’s problems was absolutely impressive in every way.
Over the past 20 years of practicing law, I have realized that being able to assist individuals solve their legal problems brings me the most satisfaction in the legal profession. It is a pleasure to represent employees standing up for their legal rights. Because there are no “Job Police” out there patrolling employers’ back offices making sure they are doing things correctly, individuals are left with enforcing their own rights against their employers. I can help.
Phil is a Missouri employment lawyer who is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and primarily takes cases in Saint Louis and Kansas City.
He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association.
Additionally, he has practiced in the United States Federal Courts of Missouri in St. Louis and Kansas City.
He has also practiced in the Kansas Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.