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Denise K. Drake represents management in employment lawsuits, including collective, multi-plaintiff and multi-defendant employment actions, as well as in arbitration and mediation. She has obtained jury verdicts on behalf of management in cases involving:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Race discrimination
  • Disability discrimination
  • Age discrimination
  • Retaliation cases

Additionally, Denise has successfully obtained dismissals or summary judgments (upheld on appeal when challenged) in many cases filed across the nation. She has successfully defeated nationwide certification of several wage and hour collective actions; convinced plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss approximately 30 actions; and advantageously used offers of judgment, questionnaires and other strategic tools to appropriately position cases for efficient and successful resolution.

She appears before:

  • Federal and state courts
  • The United States Supreme Court
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • The Missouri Commission on Human Rights
  • The Nebraska Employment Opportunity Commission

Denise also helps management avoid litigation by providing proactive advice before issues become problematic, working with in-house counsel and managers to resolve day-to-day issues, and training managers and employees regarding their employment rights and responsibilities.

Prior to joining Littler, she was a human resources manager at an investment company. In law school, she was editor of the Kansas Law Review.


  • Management chair, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Labor and Employment Section - American Bar Association
  • Former management chair, Privacy, Membership, Trial Advocacy and Legislative Developments subcommittees - Labor and Employment Section - American Bar Association
  • Former management, administrative and program chairs, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Labor and Employment Section - American Bar Association
  • Former member, Executive Board, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Former legal advisor, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Former chair, Labor and Employment Committee - Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Former chair, Federal Courts Committee - Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association


  • Named, Who's Who in American Law, 2014
  • Awarded, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rating
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Named, The Best Lawyers in America©
    • Lawyer of the Year, Litigation - Labor & Employment, Kansas City, 2013
  • Named, Top 250 Female Litigators in America - Benchmark Litigation
  • Named, International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers - Who's Who Legal, 2014 and 2015
  • Named, America's Leading Lawyers for Business - Chambers USA
  • Named, Litigation Star - Benchmark Litigation
  • Named, Super Lawyer - Missouri and Kansas
  • Named, Best of Bar - Kansas City Business Journal
  • Named, Top Lawyers - Corporate Counsel
  • Named, Legal Leader - The Daily Record Kansas City
  • Recipient, Forty Under 40 Award - Ingram's Magazine
  • Order of the Coif
  • Recipient, C.C. Stewart Award - University of Kansas School of Law
  • Recipient, Appellate Advocacy Awards - University of Kansas School of Law
  • Recipient, Outstanding Contributions Award - Webster University