Lauren Tucker McCubbin focuses on what unites lawyers as 2022-23 Missouri Bar president
Vol. 78, No. 5 / September - October 2022
Nicole Roberts-Hillen is assistant editor of the Journal and communications coordinator at The Missouri Bar.
About Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Law school: Washington University
Year admitted to The Missouri Bar: 2003
Missouri Bar involvement: Board of Governors, Young Lawyers’ Section Council, and Leadership Academy
Lauren Tucker McCubbin is no stranger to The Missouri Bar. She remembers being 8 years old and going to bar meetings with her lawyer father. Tucker McCubbin saw the comradery among lawyers, and her passion for the profession grew with each event she attended.
Now, three decades later, Tucker McCubbin plans to emphasize that unity as she dons the role of 2022-23 Missouri Bar president.
Tucker McCubbin, a commercial litigation lawyer at Polsinelli in Kansas City, was sworn in as president of The Missouri Bar Sept. 15 at Annual Meeting in Springfield.
Uniting the profession
If you ask Tucker McCubbin what she hopes to accomplish as Missouri Bar president, you may get a light-hearted response like, “Keep the train on the tracks.” But all jokes aside, she plans to “bring people together” – both literally and figuratively.
Tucker McCubbin looks forward to in-person events and the unique conversations they bring. These face-to-face conversations help facilitate common ground and highlight how different perspectives can lead to a harmonious profession.
“I believe as a society, we feel really polarized at the moment for any number of reasons,” she says. “I find the opposite to be true when we are face-to-face because you are looking into each other’s eyes and seeing each other for the human beings we are.”
When you peel back the complex layers, Tucker McCubbin says, you can see that all lawyers are ultimately solving problems to better advocate for their clients, regardless of if the goal involves a transaction, litigation, criminal matter, or contract.
“You have to work with your opponent to achieve your clients’ results, and that requires you to know how the opposing counsel thinks and see them as human beings,” says Tucker McCubbin. “We can achieve better outcomes more effectively when we are more cordial and cooperative with our opposing counsel.”
Lawyers can collaboratively engage by joining Missouri Bar committees; signing up for diversity, equity, and inclusion continuing legal education opportunities; and attending events like Annual Meeting and the Missouri Solo & Small Firm Conference.
For Tucker McCubbin, serving on The Missouri Bar Board of Governors is enlightening since she hears from lawyers who are diverse in terms of demographics, practice area and setting, geography, and more.
“Every time we get together with people we otherwise wouldn’t have interacted or practiced with, we can gain a different insight into how we can practice,” she says.
As a woman lawyer, Tucker McCubbin is thrilled to bring a new perspective to the presidency, as the number of women enrolled in The Missouri Bar continues to grow. Women represent 36.5% of the 89% of Missouri lawyers who voluntarily reported their gender during 2022 enrollment.
Tucker McCubbin kicks off a likely string of three consecutive women Missouri Bar presidents, with Megan Phillips vying for president in 2023-24 and Shelly Dreyer in 2024-25.
“It’s vital to provide a voice for underrepresented communities in the legal profession,” Tucker McCubbin adds.
It’s also a “mistake when leaders put the onus” on young women and minority lawyers to fix problems in the legal profession, Tucker McCubbin notes. Instead, it’s up to senior leaders within the industry to listen and find ways to empower underrepresented communities, such as mentoring individuals with different backgrounds, reanalyzing company policies, examining implicit biases, and creating more accessible leadership positions.
“It should not fall to the people with the least amount of experience and least amount of power to fix a paradigm that is not helpful to them,” Tucker McCubbin says.
Growing up in law
From a young age, Tucker McCubbin learned how the law can impact the lives of citizens. Her father, Laurence “Larry” Tucker, is a lawyer and a past Missouri Bar president, and her grandfather was a judge in Vernon County.
Tucker McCubbin recalls meeting lawyers and judges at bar meetings and events, and she listened to discussions about access to justice issues, civics education, and policy concerns. She was attracted to the idea of solving problems to help individuals avoid or resolve disputes.
“I loved the idea of finding a way to earn a living you enjoyed that was intellectually challenging but also where you could do something that was bigger,” she says. “It was and is not just about making money but helping people and making their lives better.”
And Tucker McCubbin has been doing just that for the last 19 years.
A Liberty native, Tucker McCubbin graduated from Washington University School of Law and was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 2003. She and her spouse, Gabe, moved back to the Kansas City area, where Tucker McCubbin joined Polsinelli. Now vice chair of the commercial litigation practice group at the law firm, Tucker McCubbin represents businesses in complex commercial litigation and class actions.
Tucker McCubbin is a graduate of The Missouri Bar’s 2006-2007 Leadership Academy class, and she served on the Young Lawyers’ Section Council before being elected to the Board of Governors.
“There are all these enriching relationships that you have with people who do what you do and have the same passions who you may not have otherwise met,” she says. “The Missouri Bar is a built-in way to find a community of people to help you be a better lawyer.”
The organization also provides countless resources to help lawyers even better serve their clients and find a “fulfilling career path,” Tucker McCubbin notes.
“I’ve had a wonderful experience in my profession because I have a support network both inside and outside my firm,” she adds.
If it wasn’t for her father, who served as the 1995-96 Missouri Bar president, Tucker McCubbin may not have discovered the value of the bar.
Now stepping in as a second-generation Missouri Bar president, Tucker McCubbin says it feels “natural,” adding Larry Tucker is excited to see what she accomplishes over the next year.
“He’s such a thoughtful, articulate, inclusive leader,” Tucker McCubbin says with a smile. “I hope to be able to live up to a fraction of that in my tenure as president.”
If you would like to request Tucker McCubbin to attend or speak at a meeting or presentation, complete the form at MoBar.org/Request-Missouri-Bar-President.
What is one unique fact few people know about you? I am a classically trained soprano … and also played rugby in college.
What are two things that are on your bucket list? I don’t have one. My daily goal is to find meaning, contentedness, humor, and joy in whatever I am doing. Any big trips, accolades, experiences, etc., are just gravy.
What’s your favorite thing about the place where you live? How close we are to our family members – my parents, my in-laws, my sisters, and my brother-in-law and their families all live within minutes of us.
Who is your professional mentor, and why? I have had many – any successes I have had in my career are the result of many, many peoples’ investment, mentoring, sponsorship, and friendship throughout my career – including, of course, my father. But if I had to highlight one, it would be Lisa Weixelman, who has dedicated thousands of hours to helping me be the lawyer and person I am today.
What is the most important personal attribute that you bring to your job? Empathy.
If The Missouri Bar had a mascot, what should it be? I briefly imagined an anthropomorphic scales of justice, and it was the stuff of nightmares. So, I’m going to go with almost anything but that.
What is your favorite childhood memory? My family is full of people with wonderful, though often irreverent, senses of humor. My favorite memories of my childhood involve us making each other laugh so hard we cried. It happened a lot, and it happens regularly to this day.