Kansas City Bankruptcy Staff
W M Law is proud to have a staff of compassionate associates who understand that the bankruptcy process can be stressful. Using their considerable knowledge and expertise, our staff eliminates that stress for our clients. Please browse the profiles of these dedicated associates and know that we have your back. We are… Here to Help.
Jeffrey L. Wagoner President
Jeff’s a car guy… which explains all those diecast models in his office. He’s also the founder of the Kansas City Automotive Museum. He led a group of volunteers who created a new non-profit museum for Kansas City in 2014.
But, if you ask Jeff what his favorite car is, he won’t mention exotic or expensive. Instead, he’ll say, “I would love to have the 1938 Ford coupe my dad drove as a professional dirt track racer in the 1950s. My grandfather’s garage sponsored dad’s race car. If I could track down that car, it would be a great connection to both of them. They’ve both been gone a long time.”
A retired Navy flyer, Gulf War veteran and former commanding officer, Jeff was awarded multiple medals and ribbons. While in the Navy, in San Diego, he met his beautiful wife, Pilar. “She was a student planning on going back to Spain after finishing her undergraduate degree,” Jeff told us, “but I talked her into coming with me back home to Kansas City.”
A tough childhood in Clinton, Missouri influenced Jeff’s decision to practice bankruptcy law. “When I was 13,” he told us, “my folks lost the family farm. Dad died in an accident a few months after the bank auctioned off the farm. We didn’t have any money―you measured how rich you were by whether there was milk in the fridge. It gave me an idea of how hard life can be and an appreciation of what many of our clients are facing when they come see us. I also thank God that I grew up in a small town where people cared about our family and helped us cope.”
With hard work, Jeff was able to go to college at Mizzou and law school at the University of Missouri―Kansas City. “My mom is an amazing person,” he said. “I don’t know how she made it through all that, but she did, and sent three of her four kids to college.”
His childhood experience is why he allows clients to pay for their bankruptcy fees over time. Jeff told us he catches a lot of grief from other bankruptcy attorneys because of that. “But sometimes,” he says, “people need someone to give them a break. They just need someone to believe in them and be on their side for a change. The funny thing is, I’ve found that when you do a good job for someone, and you really care about their well-being, they always seem to find a way to pay you. Until that changes, I’ll keep offering to let people pay over time, at a rate they feel they can truly afford. It’s the right thing to do.”
Jeffrey L. Wagoner is… Here to help.
Addam has always enjoyed a challenge. From the age of four, that challenge often took the form of playing sports, especially soccer. He has played soccer for over 30 years including in high school and college. He learned many life lessons from playing a team sport and being part of a team.
Those lessons carried over into his personal life where he is now a husband, father, and foster parent. As if being a parent isn’t enough, Addam and his wife are licensed foster care placement providers. Being a parent and foster parent brought with it a whole different set of challenges. Often the lessons learned from his soccer days help him, but sometimes new things are learned through trial and error.
Addam has taken the lessons learned from the different challenges in his life into his practice of law. He sees each and every client as a different challenge in determining what is best solution for that client. Sometimes the answer is obvious, and sometimes not, but the different challenges that come with each client are why Addam enjoys his work.
Addam Fera is… Here to help.
Errin was raised on a small farm about an hour southeast of Kansas City. His philosophy has always been that when you help others the reward is often much more than the effort. During Errin’s career, he has helped hundreds of people obtain relief through personal bankruptcy. Most people don’t realize that bankruptcy is often the most affordable, least time consuming, and most effective way to deal with debts. Bankruptcy is one of the few areas of law where you actually get to witness how your work positively affects a client’s life. Errin loves what he does for a living.
Errin Stowell is… Here to help.
Ryan A. Blay
Ryan Blay was born in Michigan and will always proud to be a Wolverine. Ryan earned his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and has spent the last 11 years working for consumer and business bankruptcy firms in Illinois and
Wisconsin. During his career, he’s helped thousands of consumers, small businesses and farmers obtain debt relief and has defended mortgage foreclosure actions in state courts.
Ryan believes in the excellence that comes from dedication to the craft of legal practice, from leadership, and from continuing education. Ryan has authored articles and has spoken at state and local bar events on bankruptcy-related topics. He also served on various State Bar committees in Wisconsin, and served as a board member, secretary, and president of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Ryan is currently working on re-certification as a specialist in consumer bankruptcy from the American Board of Certification and is looking forward to helping the good people of Kansas and western Missouri solve their financial problems.
In his spare time, Ryan can be found in Lawrence with his wife, Arpita, an associate professor at the University of Kansas, and their children, Priya and Felix. Ryan tries to see as many movies as he can and explore the Kansas City area. Ideas for activities are always welcome! Ryan is… Here to help.
Jessica was raised in Overland Park, Kansas. Throughout her childhood, Jessica was a competitive soccer player. After graduating high school Jessica attended University of Missouri-St. Louis on a soccer scholarship and was captain of the Women’s Soccer team in her final year.
Jessica earned her law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2016. During law school, Jessica participated in the Child and Family Services Clinic where she assisted families in obtaining custodial orders to achieve permanency for children.
Jessica has spent the last 2 years doing consumer bankruptcy and collections work. Jessica is committed to helping people resolve their financial issues through bankruptcy.
In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time her husband Austin, her daughter Olivia, and her dog Kevin.
Jessica Hutchison is… Here to help.
Pilar Perez-Wagoner joined the firm in August 2001 as a Translator/Finance Manager. Pilar is a native of Madrid, Spain, where she lived until the age of 18. She moved to San Diego, California in 1988 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of San Diego in 1992. She has worked in international business for companies in Kansas City such as Koch Supplies, Black & Veatch Engineering and Sealright/Huhtamaki Packaging, where she rose to the position of Credit Manager.
In her spare time, Pilar enjoys traveling to visit her family in Spain. She also loves spending her time with her three children, Alex, Max and Sofia and her husband, Jeff.
Pilar Perez-Wagoner is… Here to help.
Betsy has over 20 years of bankruptcy experience as a Paralegal. Originally from St. Louis’s Central West End, she and her family moved to Kansas City about 22 years ago and settled in the Northland. In her spare time Betsy isn’t much of a TV watcher, but instead loves spending time with friends and family and especially with her 7 year old granddaughter. Other interests include listening to music and bird and butterfly watching.
Betsy Hayman is… Here to help.
Born in Austin Texas, Doug relocated to Kansas City before he could walk. Doug’s early life was spent almost exclusively outdoors fishing, hunting, and playing every sport you can think of. Throughout high school and college Doug was a bit of a jock, but revealed his nerdy side when he became deeply involved in competitive debate and forensics. “Debate was and is the most valuable activity any student can participate in. Enabling a person to articulate and intelligently advocate for a cause really empowers them to critically think about the world around them. Plus arguing with peers is much more fun than accounting or algebra.” Doug continues to volunteer in many Kansas City and surrounding school district aiding in debate and forensics judging and youth coaching.
In his free time you will still find him outdoors working on cars, fishing, wake boarding, or playing adult-league soccer. He is an avid fan of local Kansas City music and Sporting KC. Doug is considering returning to school with hopes to one day be more involved in public education and development.
Doug Sisson is… Here to help.
Ana is a 2016 graduate of the University of Kansas. She is one of W M Law’s Spanish Speaking Paralegals and also coordinates the Hispanic Advertising. Ana recently completed the law firm’s Hispanic Website, www.bancarrotakc.com. In her spare time, Ana enjoys watching and participating in a variety of sports. Giving back to the community is important to Ana–while attending KU, she volunteered at The Willow Domestic Violence Center.
Ana Ballesteros is… Here to help.
Suzie came to W M Law with over 25 years of marketing experience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Missouri State University and has a wide range of marketing experience including: consumer marketing, service marketing, the not-for-profit sector and has also owned a retail/on-line business.
Suzie is a Kansas City native, but enjoyed a stint of New England living when she, her husband, and then young daughters lived in Connecticut, outside New York City. Today, she enjoys spending quality time with her daughters, both now in their late 20’s. Suzie has actively participated as a board member and volunteer with a number of KC arts-oriented non-profits organizations. She recently rejoined the Kansas City Symphony Alliance and is serving on their PR/Media committee for the 2019-2020 season. One of Suzie’s passions is playing flute. She is a long-time member of the Church of the Resurrection Orchestra. This past year, she began volunteering as a COR Youth Orchestra member which has proved to be especially rewarding.
Suzie Swyden is… Here to help.
Jacqueline (Jacque), originally from San Diego, California, is on of W M Law’s Spanish Speaking Paralegals. She enjoys being a mom to her 15-year-old boy and taking care of her two dogs, Tenoch and Princey. Jacque is able to bridge the language barrier for our Spanish Speaking clients and makes them feel more at ease. In her spare time, Jacque likes to read. She also enjoys visiting San Diego to see her extended family.
Jacque Villamar is… Here to help.
Melanie Evans is an enthusiastic Paralegal who joined the WM Law team in April 2007.
Melanie grew up in Festus, Missouri where she was one of nine siblings. She, in turn, had two children and was able to stay home with them during their formative years. Prior to becoming a parent, Melanie was manager of a carpet cleaning rental company in Central Florida.
Melanie loves to be outdoors, especially when she is fishing, camping, and hiking.
Melanie Evans is… Here to help.
Yesica was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S at the age of ten. She is a first generation college student. Yesica first started college in the education program not knowing that later on she would end up switching to the paralegal program. Her plan is obtain a bachelors of arts in Paralegal studies with Spanish endorsement at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, NE by December 2019.
In Yesica’s spare time she likes to spend time with her mother and puppy. She also enjoys going to the lake every Sunday with family and spending time with them. Yesica’s future plans are to attend law school in the Spring of 2021. After that, she plans to open a non-profit law firm to help those in need.
Yesica Lara-Reyes is… Here to help.
Erickson was born in Kansas and has lived locally in Johnson County since birth. He graduated from the paralegal program at Johnson County Community College with an Associate of Arts in 2019. He is a first-generation college graduate in his family. He wants to continue his education later down the road after settling into the field. Erickson likes to spend most of his free time doing a wide range of activities with his family and currently works at Walmart when he isn’t here at the firm.
Erickson Byrd is… Here to help.