Member in the Spotlight: Brian Leininger
This week’s Member in the Spotlight is Brian Leininger of Overland Park, Kansas. Brian has been practicing since 1991. He has owned his own practice since 2001. Brian was born in Waterloo, Iowa. He is the fifth of six children. His father was a factory worker who built John Deere tractors. His mother was a homemaker. All through college and law school Brian worked at least twenty hours a week and full time in the summers to put himself through school. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, and Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas.
After passing the bar, he became a research attorney for the Kansas Court of Appeals. After which, he became an Assistant District Attorney in Wyandotte County, Kansas, while also serving as a part-time city prosecutor for nearly four years. When Brian left the D.A.’s office, he became General Counsel to the Kansas Highway Patrol. During this time, he also trained troopers and officers in DUI and drug cases. Brian has not only completed extensive police training, he is one of the few lawyers in the country to have achieved a DRE certification (Drug Recognition Expert). In addition, he also graduated from the FBI National Law Institute.
On top of DWI Defense, Brian is also very passionate about ending the war on drugs. He is a member of the NORML Legal Committee, and a speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP is a group of current and former prosecutors and Judges who support efforts at ending drug prohibition.
In addition to the NCDD, Brian is a member of NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers), Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Johnson County Bar Association, Wyandotte County Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of Greater Kansas City, and is a Fellow of the Johnson County Bar Foundation and serves on the Johnson County Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.
Brian’s describes his approach to law: “I approach each new case as if it is a puzzle. There is a way to win it, I just have to find it. I’m a very calm, laid-back person so being a fiery, bombastic speaker is not for me. I don’t get fired up or loud unless I am forced to.” Among his favorite wins is a poor Mexican immigrant woman who was found Not Guilty of second degree murder. Her horribly abusive husband threatened to kill himself with a shotgun and when she tried to take it from him, it went off. Even the jailers were secretly cheering Brian on in the trial. Brian says he cherishes the homemade tamales she brings him and treasures the cheap, plastic briefcase she gave him for Christmas.
Brian has been married for 31 years to Michele, a psychologist. They have three children: Alex, 23, is a journalist in New York City. Andy, 20, is a junior at the University of Kansas in a five-year Master’s of Architecture program. Gracie, 15, is a sophomore in high school. When not working Brian enjoys barbequing. He is a Certified Barbecue Judge through the Kansas City Barbecue Society. He also enjoys whiskey and is a member of the Kansas City Whiskey Club.
When describing what Brian loves best about the law, he describes it as his relationships with his colleagues. It was Frank Delaney who said, “The difference between a friend and an enemy is friendliness.” The world is a much better place with warriors like Brian, who foster the warmth of camaraderie, fighting for justice. We, at the NCDD, thank you Brian for all that you do.