Photograph: Alumna meeting with student.

2021 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

John K. Kleinheksel, '72

Photograph: John Kleinheksel.For 25 years, Jack Kleinheksel made his career as chief staff counsel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver. In that role, he was director the court’s central legal staff and was the principal architect of significant improvements in case management that were studied and reported favorably in scholarly publications. By invitation, he served on an ad hoc committee convened by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to modernize the court management system for nonjudicial court personnel. Kleinheksel was the presiding officer of professional organizations and a frequent speaker on appellate practice.

He took early retirement to devote full time to volunteer and charitable work. He has served on governors' appointments as a public member on the Colorado Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and the Colorado Board of Nursing. He was on the board of directors of the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver and elected to the YMCA's Hall of Fame. He served on the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association board of governors. He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, which is the highest recognition awarded by the National Eagle Scout Association. It recognizes Eagle Scouts with success, fame, distinction or eminence in their professional field and a strong record of voluntary service. He holds the Robert E. Burt Boy Scout Volunteer Award and the Silver Beaver Award, which is the Denver Area Council’s highest award for distinguished service to youth. He has mentored over 100 Scouts to the rank of Eagle Scout. He has established an endowed prize for excellence in appellate advocacy awarded to Washburn Law students for distinguished moot court performance.

The Honorable Linda Parks, '83

Photograph: Linda Parks.Linda Parks is the managing partner of Hite, Fanning & Honeyman, LLP in Wichita, Kansas, and was a founding partner with Hite Fanning when it began in 2000. Prior to that she was a partner at Kahrs, Nelson, Fanning, Hite & Kellogg. Parks practices in the areas of business transactions, banking, commercial real estate, creditors rights, and estate planning. She is also a United States Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee. She advises financial institutions on multi-million-dollar loan transactions, loan purchases and sales, contractual matters, and day-to-day operational matters.

She has served on the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association board of governors. In 2019, the governor of Kansas appointed Parks to chair the Court of Appeals Nominating Commission for the state. She was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Commission in 2011 by the chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court to assist with examining the state’s judicial branch and court structure. In the American Bar Association, she currently serves on the board of governors. She served in the House of Delegates from 2000-05 and 2009-15. She has served on the Steering Committee for the Nominating Committee, the Select Committee, the Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, the Commission on Mental and Physical Disability, and the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. She was president of the Kansas Bar Association in 2007-08 and is a fellow of the Kansas Bar Foundation. Parks was also a founding member of the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, having served as its first president from 1994-96. KWAA awarded her the Jennie Mitchell Kellogg Attorney of Achievement Award in 2000. Parks received the Wichita Women Attorneys Association Louise Mattox Attorney of Achievement Award in 1997.

The Honorable Nancy Parrish, '84

Photograph: Nancy Parrish.The Honorable Nancy Parrish was sworn in as a judge in Shawnee County in 1994 and is currently assigned to hearing criminal cases. She was chief judge of the 3rd Judicial District from 2005-13. She served as the president of the Kansas District Judges Association from 2009-10 after serving a number of years on the Executive Committee of KDJA. She has served on the Kansas Judicial Council Pattern Instruction Advisory Committee for many years and currently is serving as its chair. In 1997, Parrish was appointed to serve on the Kansas Supreme Court’s Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee, serving as its chair from 2001-2009.

Prior to practicing law in a solo firm for seven years, Parrish was a teacher in Topeka for 11 years. From 1992-94, she served as Kansas secretary of revenue. She also served as a Kansas state senator from 1980-92. For 10 years, she chaired the Advisory Commission on Juvenile Offender programs. She was a Washburn University School of Law adjunct professor for several years. She currently serves on the boards of directors for Community Residence Programs (Valeo), Kansas CASA, and Jayhawk Theatre, as well as the advisory boards for Shawnee County Legal Services and the legal office professionals program at Washburn Tech. She serves on the Church Council for Highland Park United Methodist Church. She has served on the boards of directors of Valeo, Family Service and Guidance Center, the American Red Cross, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Topeka, Let’s Help, the Women Attorney’s Association of Topeka, and the Mental Health Association of Shawnee County. She has served on the advisory board for Kansas Action for Children.

David Pierce, '77

Photograph: David Pierce.Upon graduation from Washburn University School of Law, David Pierce moved to Neodesha, Kansas, and began a law practice. In 1981, he began his teaching career as a visiting professor at Washburn where he taught Criminal Procedure and Legal Research and Writing. He then moved to Utah and obtained a master of law in energy law from the University of Utah College of Law. From there, he moved to Houston and worked as an oil and gas lawyer for Shell Oil Company. He left Shell to accept a tenure-track teaching position at Indiana University. After another visit at Washburn and teaching two years at the University of Tulsa, in 1989, he came back to Topeka and taught at Washburn until his retirement in 2020.

Throughout his teaching career Pierce was guided by one simple goal: how best to prepare his students for the practice of law. In addition to being a prolific writer and commentator on the law, he shared much of his time with the practicing bar preparing and presenting continuing legal education programs. His approach to teaching, whether students or lawyers, was driven by an appreciation that the practice of law is one of the most difficult and challenging professions there is, and academia has an important role in assisting whenever possible.