Jacy Hurst, of Lawrence, sworn in as Kansas Court of Appeals judge, making history

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Jacy Hurst, of Lawrence, was sworn in as a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals Friday morning.

Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger became a bit emotional as she noted that Hurst is the first Black woman to serve on the appellate courts of Kansas, “an historic first that we are so proud to witness during our tenure.” 

Hurst’s friends, Megan McCurdy, a former colleague from Stinson LLP, and Robin Wheeler Sanders, a former colleague from Swope Health, introduced her at the investiture. 

Hurst thanked the judicial nominating commission, Gov. Laura Kelly for nominating her, and the Kansas senators who spoke with her and ultimately voted to approve her appointment. 

And she thanked her family members — her mother’s side is from Colby, and her father is from Lawrence. She said her grandparents, Ron and Joanne Hurst, of Lawrence, were watching the livestream of the ceremony on Friday. 

“I’m grateful for their lessons about community service, citizenship, and the power of education,” she said. “I believe it is imperative to continually learn and grow, and I’m grateful to have such a hardworking, committed and diverse family to guide and support me.”

She spoke about her children, who she said are also great teachers. Her youngest son has “the quickest wit, and requires me to be mentally sharp, to stay one step ahead;” her middle son is passionate about his activities and learning new things, inspiring her to be more dedicated; and her oldest son is “the most compassionate person I’ve ever met, and he reminds me about how my actions impact others.” 

Her stepdaughter reminds her and teaches her to be brave and confident, Hurst said, and her husband has been “the best cheerleader through this entire process, and has taught me that sometimes it’s best to laugh at yourself, even when you want to cry.” 

Hurst shared how she’s enjoyed different roles throughout her career — whether it was working on multiyear national litigation or representing a single client in small claims court. 

“Each case, client, opposing counsel, judge has helped me develop knowledge and experience necessary for the execution of my responsibilities as a judge on the Court of Appeals,” she said. 

Hurst’s investiture ceremony can be viewed at this link.

Hurst fills the vacancy left by Melissa Taylor Standridge, who was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court. 

Here’s more on Hurst’s professional background, from a news release from the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration: 

“Hurst graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in political science. She graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law.  

“While attending law school, Hurst was on the KU Law Review staff, was the vice president to the Student Bar Association for her class, and served as treasurer of the Black Law Student Association.

“Immediately prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, Hurst was a partner in the law firm Kutak Rock LLP of Kansas City, Missouri, where her practice focused on health care law and compliance, and employment law litigation and counseling. She was with Kutak Rock LLP from 2017 until her appointment in 2021.

“Before that, Hurst was general counsel and chief compliance officer for Swope Health Services, a healthcare organization with nine clinics across Kansas and Missouri, from 2014 to 2017. While there, she provided senior leadership to the legal and compliance departments and managed all aspects of litigation.

“From 2007 to 2014, Hurst was an associate attorney with Stinson LLP with a practice emphasis in commercial litigation, employment law litigation and counseling, and health care law.

“Hurst served as chair of the Douglas County United Way board of directors, vice president and member of her children’s PTO and as a member of the Greater Kansas City Society of Health Care Attorneys. She currently serves as a member of the Kansas Board of Law Examiners and is an adjunct professor for Washburn University School of Law. She has been a presenter of the Ethics for Good continuing legal education program since 2014.”

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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