Kansas City Trial Law Firm

Wagstaff & Cartmell is a Kansas City-based litigation boutique. What that means is that we practice in specific areas rather than trying to do everything. We specialize in trial work, which means we focus on dispute resolution. We use our expertise in litigation, arbitration, mediation, and negotiation in any given case to get results for our clients. After all, we know it’s the results that matter most.


In 1997, Tom Wagstaff and Tom Cartmell left a large, prestigious Kansas City law firm (now Husch Blackwell Sanders) to start their own firm. Having worked closely and having tried many cases together, they shared ideas and aspirations – and together, they pursued them.

One idea they shared was that they were trial lawyers. Not “plaintiffs’” lawyers. Not “defense” lawyers. Trial lawyers. Tom Wagstaff and Tom Cartmell welcomed every opportunity to try a case when it was right for their client. Not all lawyers, not even all litigators, shared their enthusiasm for the courtroom. That’s why they wanted to practice in their own firm with other like-minded lawyers. Together, they could represent all kinds of clients in many kinds of cases without the conflicts that frequently arise in a larger firm.

It started as an idea. It grew into something more.

In the beginning, much of the work Wagstaff & Cartmell did was represent hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers in malpractice cases. Wagstaff & Cartmell is fortunate, and honored, to have strong relationships with several institutional clients in the health care field and proudly continues these important relationships to this day.

But they did not stop there.

In the years following, Wagstaff & Cartmell carefully recruited partners, associates, and other attorneys of counsel – all of whom shared their vision. Some left as partners or senior associates from larger firms to join Wagstaff & Cartmell. Others had served judicial clerkships, worked for federal government agencies or joined fresh out of law school. As the firm grew, so did the breadth, depth, and diversity of its practice and experience. That careful but deliberate process of expansion – in size, talent, and scope – continues today and shows no signs of slowing.


Wagstaff & Cartmell is a premier trial firm handling complex and sophisticated cases on behalf of individuals, corporations, plaintiffs, and defendants. These cases span the spectrum. They could involve catastrophic physical injuries or death, or, they could involve business disputes. Our lawyers appear in cases throughout Missouri and Kansas, but also in class actions, mass actions, 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.

We offer free and confidential initial consultations. To speak with us about your legal concerns, please contact Wagstaff & Cartmell by calling 816-701-1100.