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Brenda West Hagerman to join Larned law firm

LARNED — The law firm of Smith & Burnett LLC announced that Brenda West Hagerman will join the firm in late May.
Hagerman was raised in Rush County, graduating from La Crosse high school. She attended Kansas State University with a major in home economics and graduated magna cum laude and then attended the University of Kansas School of Law. She received her juris doctor degree in 1980.
She relocated to Pawnee County and when Jerry Larson retired as county attorney, she became county attorney for several years in her private practice of law until 1984 when she was named chief legal counsel for Larned State Hospital.
Her official title was general counsel throughout that time, and she served 32 years in that position, representing the hospital as it grew from just the mental hospital operation to also seeing the advent of the Department of Corrections mental health operation and the juvenile detention center.
Her civic activities include serving 16 years on the board of Fort Larned Unified School District No. 495, past member of the Fort Larned Foundation for Education, member of the Larned State Hospital Endowment Association Inc., and previous board member of the Family Crisis Center and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Smith & Burnett has roots back to 1885 in Pawnee County. The late Glee Smith Jr. partnered with Maurice Wildgen in 1947. Don Burnett joined the firm in 1958 and when Wildgen was elected judge in Pawnee County, the firm of Smith and Burnett was officially christened. Jerry Larson became a partner in 1975 and is retired effective May 22 this year. Ron Smith joined the firm in 2005 and Jacque Butler in 2008. Butler is now the city attorney in Derby.
Ron Smith and Don Burnett remain as partners at the firm.
“We couldn’t be happier that Brenda wants to join our firm,” said Smith. “Her expertise in several areas of law dovetails nicely into the contract, real estate, estate planning and transactional business matters focus of our firm.
“Obviously, her previous work at Larned State Hospital gives her an understanding of nonprofit business entities and allied issues that go with operating a business.”
Smith and Burnett serves many farm operations in a six-county area and Hagerman’s farm background is ideal for that segue.
Smith and Burnett also handle probate, wills, trusts, corporate, real estate, elder law and municipal law.
Smith indicated that Hagerman has a long-standing emphasis on guardianships and conservatorships, having been active in that area while general counsel at LSH.
She intends to practice family law and serve as guardian ad litem to various courts in the region, which are long-standing areas of interest to her.
Ms. Hagerman is married to Wayne Hagerman and they farm in northern Pawnee County.