Kirk C. Stange, Esq. is a founding partner of Stange Law Firm, PC and focuses his practice on family law. In addition to his years of experience in family law, Kirk is also a trained mediator, collaborative attorney, and guardian ad litem. In 2017, Kirk was recognized by the Missouri Bar for his contributions to the continuing legal education of Missouri’s attorneys and he has served as a Mentor to other attorneys through the Missouri Bar Mentoring Program.
Lawyer Minds: How did you find out what kind of law you wanted to practice?
Kirk Stange: Practicing family law was not something I planned on doing. My first job was at a general practice law firm. The partner who did family law ended up going out on medical leave. I was asked to take on his divorce and family law clients. I did so and apparently was good at it. The clients were satisfied. The firm was satisfied. I ended up getting lots of referrals in the area of divorce and family law. After being out for about five years, I decided to exclusively practice family law.
Lawyer Minds: What’s a typical day in your law firm like?
Kirk Stange: There really isn’t a typical day in our law firm. We presently have 21 offices in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Our firm represents thousands of clients per year. Every day is almost entirely different and presents a new set of challenges—whether that be from the representation of the firm’s clients or the management of the firm itself. The task is gigantic with a firm our size and a challenge every day.
Lawyer Minds: How do you stay organized?
Kirk Stange: To stay organized, I must have excellent people surrounding me. From the legal side of the firm to the management, marketing, intake, client care, human resources, finance, and recruiting, I have to surround myself with good people. I then try to meet those individuals regularly to get updated on their progress, answer any questions they have, and provide guidance and mentorship. One thing I have learned is that delegation is key. A leader has to trust and verify and make sure the firm is living up to the high standards I have for it.
Lawyer Minds: Do you do most of your work alone or as part of a team? Do you think that’s standard for most lawyers?
Kirk Stange: I do most of my work with a team. Our firm is too big to do everything alone. Even on legal cases, I have used an associate and paralegals on my cases. It is impossible to do everything on your own. Others can also provide insight and ideas that can be invaluable. Working as part of a team also avoids burnout, saves the client in fees, and makes the representation better because even if I am tied up, I have others who can respond to client calls or emails.
Lawyer Minds: How do you determine your prices, rates, and fees?
Kirk Stange: We bill hourly for the work that we do. Hourly rates vary at our firm are based on the experience of the lawyer. Lawyers with more experience charge more. Lawyers with less experience charge less. We also have lawyers who are somewhere in the middle. As best as possible, we leave it in the hands of the client to determine the rate of the lawyer they want. Some clients want the highest price attorneys because they want the most experience. Other clients want lawyers at lower rates and less experience.
Lawyer Minds: What are the experiences of a larger law firm vs. a smaller law firm?
Kirk Stange: Larger law firms allow for greater collaboration. Clients also generally have more choices in terms of the level of representation they want. With more legal staff, the needs of the clients can also be addressed more quickly because there is a lot of staff who can assist.
Lawyer Minds: Do you think your field of practice suits your personality?
Kirk Stange: Family law has always suited me because of the interpersonal nature of the area of law. Individuals going through a divorce or family law matter are going through one of the worst times in their lives. They need somebody who truly cares about them, is responsive, and can present their case in a competent, communicative, and diligent manner.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one thing we didn’t cover in this interview you’d like to share with readers who aren’t lawyers?
Kirk Stange: Individuals going through a divorce or family law matter need to be patient. Patience is difficult. These cases are emotionally gut-wrenching and trying. But in the end, an individual will often have to live through the results of a divorce or family law matter for years to come. It is important to look long-term and not just in the present.
Lawyers Minds would like to thank Kirk for taking the time to share his legal knowledge and insight with us!