Wagstaff & Cartmell started with a vision: to be the premier Kansas City trial firm, on both sides of the docket, plaintiff and defense. We were told it wouldn’t work.

Nearly two decades later with more than a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts for plaintiffs and numerous defense verdicts and dismissals on dispositive motions, Tom Wagstaff and Tom Cartmell are proud to have proven the naysayers wrong.

Investing in risk to achieve results

In 1997, Wagstaff and Cartmell left a large, prestigious Kansas City law firm (now Husch Blackwell) to start their own boutique litigation firm. Their focus: provide strategic, efficient, and results-driven representation for plaintiffs and defendants, from discovery all the way to the courtroom, if necessary.

In the beginning, Wagstaff & Cartmell represented hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers in malpractice cases. Wagstaff & Cartmell is fortunate, and honored, to have strong relationships with several institutional clients in the healthcare field and proudly continues these important relationships to this day.

But we did not stop there. We continued to invest in cases we believed in with full confidence in our ability to resolve them.

In the years following, Wagstaff & Cartmell carefully recruited partners, associates, and other attorneys of counsel – all of whom shared our entrepreneurial vision. Some left their positions as partners and senior associates at larger firms to join Wagstaff & Cartmell. Others had served judicial clerkships, worked for federal government agencies, or joined fresh out of law school.


As our firm grew, so did the breadth, depth, and diversity of our practice and experience. That careful but deliberate process of expansion – in size, talent, and scope – continues today and shows no signs of slowing.

Focused and strategic representation

The cases we represent span the spectrum, from catastrophic physical injuries to complex business disputes. Our trial lawyers bring our talents and expertise to redress wrongs, seek justice and protect the futures of our clients.

With more than 20 trial lawyers in the firm, Wagstaff & Cartmell welcomes every opportunity to try a case when it is right for our clients. In fact, we prepare every case for it.

Our lawyers appear in cases throughout Missouri and Kansas, but also in class actions, mass torts, multi-district litigation, and other complex litigation throughout the United States and abroad. Our firm has lawyers licensed in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, Colorado, Utah, the District of Columbia, and in numerous federal district courts and federal appellate courts.

Through associating with carefully selected local counsel, we can assist clients with litigation anywhere in the country