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Chief Justice Kay McFarland Award

Congratulations to the 2020 McFarland Award Recipient, Barb Rankin!


Barb is the Assistant Insurance Commissioner for the State of Kansas. Barb has achieved many personal and professional accomplishments throughout her career. Notably, she is one of three founding members of our organization and served as its second president in 1985-86.

WAAT was saddened not to be able to celebrate with Barb in person at the annual Just Desserts celebration, but we will make plans to gather and honor her achievements when it is again safe to do so. In the meantime, please thank Barb for her service to WAAT and congratulate her on this award!


The Women Attorneys Association of Topeka awards the Chief Justice Kay McFarland Award to attorneys who have the following qualities:

(1) Achieved professional excellence in her field;

(2) Influenced other women to pursue legal careers; or

(3) Opened doors for women lawyers in a variety of job settings that were historically were closed to them; or

(4) Advanced opportunities for women within a practice area or segment of the profession. 

Past recipients


(2019 Recipient Natalie Haag pictured here with 2009 Recipient Justice Evelyn Wilson)

(2018 Recipient Angel Zimmerman pictured here with 2007 recipient Justice Marla Luckert and 2017-18 WAAT President Whitney Casement)

(2017 Recipient Anne McDonald pictured here with 2013 recipient, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger and 2016-17 WAAT President Rachel Pickering)

In 2006, the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka created the Chief Justice Kay McFarland Award to honor her many accomplishments in the legal field.

The award recognizes an individual who has achieved professional excellence in her field and has influenced other women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women lawyers in a variety of job settings that historically were closed to them, or advanced opportunities for women within a practice area or segment of the profession.


Past recipients:
2019:  Natalie Haag
2018:  Angel Zimmerman
2017:  Anne McDonald
2016:  Professor Linda Elrod
2015:  Judge Rebecca A. Sanders
2014:  Marty M. Snyder 
2013:  Judge Karen Arnold-Burger

2012:  Martha Hodgesmith

2011:  Carol Ruth Bonebrake

2010:  Carol Foreman

2009:  Judge Evelyn Z. Wilson

2008:  Judge Christel E. Marquardt

2007:  Justice Marla Luckert

2006:  Chief Justice Kay McFarland

Remembering Chief Justice Kay McFarland      



On August 18, 2015, former Chief Justice Kay McFarland passed away at the age of 80. A charter member of this organization, Justice McFarland blazed the trail that many female attorneys now walk. She was the first woman elected to serve as a judge in Shawnee County, the first woman in Kansas to serve as a district judge, and the first and only female chief justice on the Kansas Supreme Court. Justice McFarland represented all the tenets of this organization and inspired many women to follow in her very prestigious footsteps. The McFarland Award is named for Justice McFarland and celebrates all the qualities she embodied. As women in the legal profession, we owe her a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid.


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