Charles Atwell joined the firm on December 1, 2012 after serving over 16 years as a Circuit Judge in Jackson County, Missouri. Charlie's last assignment was that of Presiding Judge for the entire circuit. During his tenure on the bench he tried or was involved in a variety of complex cases in such areas as commercial litigation, securities fraud, products liability, medical malpractice, antitrust, real estate evaluation, and death penalty cases. Some of the more notable cases that Judge Atwell presided over include a plane crash case involving the death of the governor of the state of Missouri; commercial litigation involving the Power & Light District of Kansas City, Missouri; constitutional interpretation of the state statute involving abortion rights of minors; and complex real estate litigation touching upon the value of commercial real estate in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, Missouri. During his over 16 years as a judicial officer, Judge Atwell sat as a special judge for both the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District and on the Missouri Supreme Court.

Judge Atwell frequently serves as a discovery master in complex cases. While on the bench he used discovery masters on many occasions in complicated cases and has the good fortune of being a master himself in several of these matters since he joined the firm. If should be noted that in such masters assignments Judge Atwell frequently uses two of our other lawyers, Michael Belancio and James Maggard, both of whom served as law clerks in the 16th Judicial Circuit and are familiar with discovery practice in the Kansas City area.

Since joining the firm he has been involved in representing individuals and corporations under investigation as well as individual defendants in state and federal court.

Of Note

Before taking the bench, Charlie served as both an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County, Missouri and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Thereafter, he was a partner in the firm of Wyrsch Atwell Mirakian Lee & Hobbs and was a well-known trial lawyer, both regionally and throughout the United States. While in practice, he was regularly named in Best Lawyers of America and retained an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Charlie was active in the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In 1989–90 he served as President of the Missouri Association and between 1990–1996 he served twice on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 1993–1994 he was co-chair of NACDL's CLE committee with the Honorable Charles Daniels, who presently sits on the New Mexico Supreme Court. He has been a longtime faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy at the national session in Boulder, Colorado as well as the Midwest Regional in Chicago, Illinois — both at Northwestern University School of Law and Loyola Law School. In 2007 he was named by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as the best Circuit Judge in the State of Missouri. In 2013 Judge Atwell was given an award by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association for his outstanding contributions to CLE program. In 2015 he received two other awards. One award was the Ross Roberts Trial Academy Award for Professional Excellence in the area of teaching trial advocacy. He also received the Distinguished Counsel Award from the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. The Distinguished Counsel Award is an award that is given periodically to lawyers for both the quality of their legal ability and also for maintaining congeniality and civility of the practice of law.

In 2015 the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) decided to begin to host a deposition program once a year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Judge Atwell and Judge William Ossmann of Shawnee County, Kansas were named as program directors of that program. The first session was held in August of 2015 and was a great success. NITA plans to make this program an annual event with the leadership of Judges Atwell and Ossmann.

In law school, he was a member of the law review and graduated with honors from UMKC School of Law in 1978.


Mediation Services

Charlie's practice involves both mediation and arbitration. He has successfully mediated cases in such areas as employment law, business and commercial litigation, medical malpractice matters, personal injury and real estate disputes. He also participates in both civil and criminal litigation on behalf of the firm. The Judge has been on the AAA Arbitration Panel for the last three years and regularly handles matters in arbitration for AAA. He has also been involved in other arbitrations that have been tried both in Kansas City and occasionally outside of the Kansas City area, which included an extended arbitration that was tried in Jacksonville, Florida. Judge Atwell has had substantial experience in representing individuals and companies in business investigations including matters before state and federal grand juries.

KCMBA Distinguished Counselor Award
Read the May 2015 article in the KC Counselor

This honor is presented each year to one or more members of the KCMBA whose life and practice display sterling character and integrity, coupled with dedication to the highest standards of professionalism, the legal profession and the law.

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