Family In Law
After graduating from Washburn Law School in 1969, Fred Spigarelli returned to his native Southeast Kansas to open his own practice.
His office was in the Commerce Building, above Crowell’s, at the heart of Pittsburg. But like any lawyer just starting out, it took a minute to get his practice rolling along.
“There were some days where my only conversations were with the pigeons sitting outside my window,” he said. “Eventually, I got some business and expanded.”
Expanded, indeed. The practice caught on, took off, and eventually added a couple additional lawyers. They were fellow Washburn Law alums. He knew them well and thought they could add value to the firm.
They called him dad.
“Eventually, I got some business and expanded.”
The Spigarelli Law Firm, today located at 515 N. Broadway, is led by Fred and his two daughters, Kala and Angela. Kala, a graduate of Arizona State University and Washburn Law, joined the firm in 1992. Angela, who graduated from the University of Kansas before earning a law degree at Washburn, joined in 2011.
“The best part about working closely with family is that we can speak our minds freely, give each other our honest opinions, and we have constant access to each other to discuss business issues,” Angela said. “That is also the worst part, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Kala told the Washburn Alumni Association in 2018 that working together has helped the family grow closer personally and professionally.
“(Angela and I) are six years apart, so we didn’t get to spend that much time together growing up,” Kala said. “It is fun to work with families. I have learned a lot from my dad over the years. He was a great trial lawyer all his life. Getting to be his daughter and practice with him has been an honor.”
“Getting to be his daughter and practice with him has been an honor.”
The firm’s main practice areas include auto accidents, workers’ compensation, premises liability, wrongful death, and general business litigation. They have offices located in Pittsburg and Coffeyville and are licensed to practice in both Kansas and Missouri.
Their main office in downtown Pittsburg was fully renovated in 2015.
“The citizens here really care about the community, whether it be contributing to the university or building up the downtown,” Kala said. “We bought our current building downtown and renovated it in 2015, right about the time Block22 was taking off. We like to think we were part of the downtown revitalization trend.”
Angela said she and Kala both joined the firm to help the people of Pittsburg have proper legal representation.
“We want to make sure the people of Pittsburg and the surrounding areas continue to have quality legal representation and access to the court system,” she said.
For the most part, they work on a contingency fee basis, which means their clients don’t pay for services unless they are successful.
“If we did not work on a contingency fee basis, most of our clients would not be able to access the court system or bring a case against a large corporation with endless resources,” Angela said.
The firm also helps support future lawyers in the region.
“Since our dad came from humble beginnings himself, he wanted to give back to this community,” Angela said. “In the early 90’s, he set up an endowment fund at Washburn Law School to provide scholarships to qualified law students from Southeast Kansas. Every year since it was set up, a Washburn Law student received that scholarship.”
To learn more about The Spigarelli Law Firm, check them out online at https://www.spigarelli-law.com.