Kip Robertson, the firm’s managing partner, focuses his practice in three areas:
(1) helping those who have suffered catastrophic injury due to another’s negligence,
(2) helping those have been victimized by corporate wrongdoing,
(3) helping other lawyers who are facing complex legal issues or appeals.
One of his recent cases stemmed from an insurance company that acted in bad faith. Insurance bad faith cases hold insurance companies accountable when they inappropriately deny coverage, defraud or renege on their policyholders.
The case involved a school bus accident in which a six-year-old boy was killed. The school bus driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter. The driver’s insurers hired a criminal defense attorney, who advised him to plead guilty. Shortly thereafter, the insurers denied coverage based on the guilty plea. Kip pursued a bad faith claim, arguing that the insurance companies improperly manipulated the driver’s plea in an effort to force a smaller settlement with the boy’s surviving family. Kip secured a $13 million settlement (more than $10 million in excess of the insurance policy limit), which went to the family of the victim.
From this case and others like them, Kip has developed skill in helping injured persons, analyzing complex legal issues and leading negotiations among insurers, reinsurers and excess carriers.
Kip also notes that the firm deploys its contingency fee model in commercial litigation. The firm has represented corporate clients in large-scale contractual disputes and other matters; this allows them to pursue business litigation on an alternative to hourly billing.
In all types of matters, Kip enjoys creating compelling visuals – maps, timelines, videos and other graphics that tell the client’s story to the jury and the judge. He brings this element of persuasion to his matters and frequently collaborates with his Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader colleagues on their cases; he excels at distilling key facts and arguments down to one visual component.
It’s a skill that syncs with his view on what makes an exceptional lawyer: “Most lawyers lack the ability to identify what’s really important in their case and then focus only on that,” he said. “A good lawyer is one who can identify the core of his or her case and then have the courage to reject everything else.”
Kip also organizes the firm’s annual education symposium—called LITIGREAT: Symposium for Rising Advocates—which is a daylong seminar offered for free to lawyers in the Kansas City area who have been in practice seven years or fewer.
Kip Robertson found affirmation on his very first case out of law school.
The firm’s client was a woman whose car, a Toyota 4Runner, was stolen out of her driveway. After a night of joyriding, the thieves took the car to a field and set it on fire. The car's owner, naturally, submitted a claim with her insurance company.
The insurer not only denied the claim, it accused her of disposing of the vehicle herself. It fabricated evidence to suggest that her engine had gone bad, and two days before the statute of limitations would expire, it lobbied the county prosecutor to charge her with felony insurance fraud. She faced up to 10 years in jail.
Kip, then an associate, represented the woman along with two partners at the firm in her civil litigation claims of breach of contract and malicious prosecution. The case not only gave him a chance to learn the craft, he said, "it really solidified for me that I was making a good decision.”
Ultimately, the woman received $400,000 for the malicious prosecution claim and $4 million in punitive damages, both upheld on appeal.
This is a field that brings intellectual stimulation, he said. The legal issues are complex and interesting. But it also affords him the opportunity to champion for individuals who were wronged and to seek accountability from large corporations.
“You have to be creative and innovative on this side,” he said. “But I really like the personal relationships we get to develop with our clients. They have personal stakes, and we have the opportunity to walk them through the healing process when something bad has happened. Part of our job is to get the monetary resources they need – but a bigger part is to be an emotional resource.”
Kip believes that listening and patience are among the most important skills for lawyers to have. He has honed his listening skills and patience raising his three amazing kids: Edward, Christopher and Hadley - with his wife Jennifer.
- EDUCATION AND PAST EXPERIENCE
J.D., University of Missouri – Kansas City, 2006 (magna cum laude)
B.A., Truman State University
- MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
State of Missouri – All Jurisdictions
State of Kansas – All Jurisdictions
8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association-Former Torts Law Committee, chair
Ross T. Roberts Inn of Court Foundation-Barrister
American Association for Justice
American Bar Association
Kansas Association for Justice
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
Della Lamb Community Services-Board Member, president
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society-Man of the Year candidate, 2013; Co-chair of Man and Woman of the Year Campaign, 2016
United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Alumni Association-Treasurer
- HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS
2005 Cole County Bar Association Scholarship
2014 Up & Coming Attorney, Missouri Lawyers Media
2014 Super Lawyers Rising Star
2018 Super Lawyer