Kurt U. Schaefer

Kurt Schaefer’s practice focuses on litigation, environmental, health care, administrative, agricultural, business and public utilities. He has litigated bench and jury trials of all kinds and complexities in numerous circuit and federal courts throughout Missouri and elsewhere. He has briefed and argued over 100 appellate actions before all three districts of the Missouri Court of Appeals and Missouri Supreme Court and handled more than 90 administrative proceedings before various state permitting and licensing agencies and the Missouri Public Service Commission. Kurt routinely organizes and manages trial and other legal teams on such matters as defending toxic torts, prosecuting consumer fraud, and legal and financial business organization.

In addition to his litigation and regulatory legal practice, Kurt is a partner of Lathrop GPM Consulting, a subsidiary of Lathrop GPM LLP that focuses on government affairs and communications. 

Kurt formerly served as a State Senator, Assistant Missouri Attorney General, Special Assistant US Attorney, General Counsel and Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Special Counsel to the Governor and Special Counsel to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. 

Career Highlights

Kurt served two terms as the State Senator for Missouri’s 19th Senate District. He was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee for a record six years, each year composing and passing a balanced state budget of approximately $27 billion. He oversaw every aspect of the State’s annual budget including all costs associated with the employment and benefits of 55,000 state employees, all operating budgets, program expenditures, grants and other funds for every state agency and all three branches of state government, all state contracts and all state capital improvement and bonding expenditures. He also composed and passed a broad range of legislation and served on numerous standing and interim committees, including the Judiciary Committee. On several occasions, he engaged the rarely used investigative authority of the Senate to uncover government abuse of power and neglect.

As the previous General Counsel and Deputy Director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, he was responsible for all legal aspects of a state agency with over 1900 employees, including: litigation, environmental, administrative, employment, personal injury, Sunshine Law, contracts, property and land acquisition, criminal, constitutional law, public information and media communications. He oversaw a legal staff of eight attorneys and investigators, developed policy and legislative initiatives and developed annual operating budgets of approximately $320 million. He oversaw the emergency response, environmental remediation and cleanup of the destruction caused by AmerenUE’s Taum Sauk Reservoir failure in December 2005, and was lead counsel in negotiating settlement for the State’s natural resource damages and park restoration of Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, valued in excess of $170 million. Furthermore, he served as lead counsel for the department in negotiating state- and federally-required sewer infrastructure capital improvements with the City of Kansas City and the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, valued in excess of $3 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively.

As a Special Criminal Prosecutor for the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, Kurt worked closely with local elected prosecutors and law enforcement. He successfully prosecuted felonies at the trial and appellate levels, including capital murder, kidnapping, assault, forgery, stealing, worker’s compensation fraud and public corruption. He counseled and represented the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Department of Public Safety, Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and Department of Natural Resources in civil litigation in state and federal courts. Additionally, he was cross designated as Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri for developing and prosecuting federal criminal cases. He was also a key member of the Attorney General’s criminal task force for developing state assistance to local governments in addressing high-crime areas of the state.



  • Co-presenter, "Supreme Court Preview," The Federalist Society, Jefferson City Lawyers Chapter, September 27, 2023
  • Panelist, "Another Crazy-Busy Year in Review," Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference, September 26, 2023
  • Moderator, "To Quo or Not to Quo? That is the Question," The Federalist Society, Jefferson City Lawyers Chapter, April 13, 2023
  • Presenter, "Agricultural Land Foreign Ownership Considerations," Missouri Bankers Association Legal Risk Management Conference, November 2022
  • Co-presenter, "2022 Supreme Court Update," The Federalist Society, Jefferson City Lawyers Chapter, September 13, 2022
  • Panelist, Legal and Regulatory Considerations, Utilities Technology Council National Broadband Workshop, August 2019
  • Moderator, 2017 Springfield Legislative Forecast Breakfast, February 2017
  • Panelist, 2016 St. Louis Legislative Forecast Breakfast, February 2016
  • Panelist, 2016 Springfield Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2016
  • Panelist, 2016 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2016
  • Panelist, 2016 Kansas City Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2016
  • Panelist, 2015 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2015
  • Panelist, 2015 Kansas City Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2015
  • Panelist, 2014 Kansas City Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2014
  • Panelist, 2014 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2014
  • Moderator, Emerging Legal Issues Panel, Lathrop Gage Agricultural Roundtable, September 2013
  • Speaker, Lathrop Gage State of Litigation, June 2013
  • Panelist, 2013 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, February 2013
  • Panelist, 2013 Kansas City Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2013
  • Panelist, 2012 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2012
  • Panelist, 2012 Kansas City Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2012
  • Panelist, 2011 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2011
  • Panelist, State of Water in Missouri, Fifth Annual 2010 Missouri Water Seminar, September 2010
  • Panelist, 2010 Kansas City Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2010
  • Panelist, 2010 Columbia Legislative Forecast Breakfast, January 2010
  • Speaker and panelist, Energy Panel on Clean Coal, Missouri Energy Summit, University of Missouri, April 2009

News Releases

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Boone County Bar Association
  • Cole County Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • The Missouri Bar
  • Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Boone County Energy & Environment Commission, Past Member
  • City of Columbia, Missouri Environment and Energy Commission, Past Member
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Environmental Crimes Task Force, Past Member

Community Involvement

  • Boy Scouts of America, Great Rivers Council, Board Member
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • The State Historical Society of Missouri, Trustee


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2010-2021, 2024
  • Missouri Lawyers Media, Top 100 POWER List - Lawyer-Lobbyists, 2023
  • Missouri Lawyers Media, POWER List, Environmental & Energy Law, 2022-2023
  • Selected for Missouri Super Lawyers, 2011-2014
  • Missouri Sheriff’s Association Senator of the Year, 2012, 2016
  • Missouri Judicial Conference Special Recognition for Support of the Judicial Branch, 2016
  • Missouri Policy Council’s Family Champion Award, 2015
  • Missouri Cattlemen Legislator of the Year, 2015
  • Missouri Pork Association Legislator of the Year, 2015
  • Missouri State Historical Society Trustees Appreciation Award, 2014
  • Missouri Conservation Federation Legislator of the Year, 2014
  • Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, Influential Lawyer Award, 2014
  • Boys and Girls Club Legislative Award, 2013
  • University of Missouri Flagship Council Award, 2012
  • Alzheimer’s Association Leadership of the Year, 2012
  • Missouri Judicial Conference Award, 2010-2011
  • Missouri Bar Legislative Award for Outstanding Service to the State, 2010-2011
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce Legislative Spirit of Enterprise Award, 2010
  • University of Missouri Geyer Award, 2010
  • American Cancer Society Legislator of the Year, 2010
  • March of Dimes Legislative Champion Award, 2010
  • Missouri Judicial Conference Award for Contribution to the Advancement of Administrative Justice, 2009
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce Freshman of the Year, 2009
Photo of Kurt U. Schaefer
F: 573.893.5398


Tanya Smith

Court Memberships

  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Vermont Law School, M.S.L., Environmental Law, magna cum laude, 1996

Vermont Law School, J.D., 1995

University of Missouri-Columbia, B.A., 1990