“Kansas is composed of an extraordinary group of people who have supported me throughout my lifetime. I hope to be able to give back to the people of Kansas.”
Laurel Klein Searles
Weigand Scholar: 2007, 2008
B.S., in Business Administration
Kansas State University, 2004
- College of Business Dean’s Honor List
J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 2008
- Notes and Research Editor, Washburn Law Journal
- Women Attorneys Association of Topeka
- Kansas Bar Association
Laurel Klein Searles is a 2004 graduate of Kansas State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While at Kansas State, Laurel’s academic success earned her a spot on the College of Business Dean’s Honor List and five different scholarships and awards.
Laurel’s success continued at Washburn University School of Law. There, Laurel served as both the Notes and Research Editor for Volume 47 of the Washburn Law Journal. During this time she was also on the Washburn Student Bar Association Budget & Finance Committee and an Assistant to the Visiting Courts Director.
During the summer of 2006, Laurel served as a judicial extern for the Honorable K. Gary Sebelius, Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court. Laurel also completed an externship with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence during the spring semester of 2007. Laurel next clerked for Fisher, Patterson, Sayler & Smith, L.L.P. in Topeka from the summer and fall of 2007. Before working for Henson, Clark, Hutton, Mudrick & Gragson, L.L.P., as a law clerk in the spring semester of 2008.
Washburn Professor Lynn Goering, believes Laurel will be a positive impact to the Kansas legal community. “She truly reflects the very best among Kansas law students. Laurel will bring credit to the legal profession, and I have no doubt that she will embark on a successful legal career in Kansas devoted in some measure to public service,” said Goering. Since graduating Washburn University School of Law, Laurel has done just that. She worked for four years as a staff attorney for the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, which aims to eliminate sexual and domestic violence in the state with a primary focus on protecting women and their children. While working for the Kansas Coalition, Laurel had a range of duties including legislative work, applying for and obtaining grants for programs, and developing best practice polices and trainings for a variety of professionals. Laurel also used this experience to educate students, co-teaching Domestic Violence and the Law at Washburn Law School during Fall 2012 and Fall 2014.
Following Laurel’s time with the Kansas Coalition, she served three years as an Appeals Referee for the Kansas Department of Labor presiding over administrative hearings pertaining to unemployment insurance appeals. In 2015, she was promoted to Chief of Appeals, where she helped fairly and efficiently resolve claims. As Chief of Appeals Laurel oversaw the entire Office of Appeals, which consists of Appeals Referees and the office’s support staff.
In 2018, Laurel left the Kansas Department of Labor to work as an Attorney Advisor for the Social Security Administration. However, in 2019, she was asked to return to KDOL to serve as Director of Unemployment Insurance. While there she served on the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Advisory Board and was appointed by Governor Laura Kelly to serve as a Commissioner for the Kansas Human Rights Commission.
In 2021, Laurel began working as Assistant General Counsel with the Office of Judicial Administration for the Kansas Supreme Court.
OJA implements the rules and policies of the Supreme Court as they apply to operation and administration of the judicial branch. Laurel will primarily be managing the Attorney Services team, which includes admission, registration, and continuing legal education.
Laurel sees the Weigand Scholarship as a tremendous aid in her legal education and professional career. “I believe this scholarship is an investment in me and my future. It’s a huge confidence booster to be selected and to realize so many people believe in me.”
“I realize that by staying in Kansas I can pursue my goals while remaining close to my family and friends. To me, that’s priceless!”