A Century in Practice
The law firm now known as Baty Otto Coronado PC was founded in 1921 as Mosman, Rogers & Buzard. In the mid-1980s, the firm, then named Field, Gentry, Benjamin and Robertson, P.C., was led by the legendary Lyman Field and Reed Gentry, among others. As these respected partners passed, and Kansas City and the world moved into the 21st century, the firm became Baty, Holm & Numrich, P.C., led by managing shareholder and president Lee Baty, a veteran civil litigator with the firm since 1982. A decade later, in 2011, the firm changed its name to Baty, Holm, Numrich & Otto, P.C., incorporating for the first time in the firm’s history, the name of a female partner on its door. Theresa Otto joined the firm in 1993 and today is its vice president. In the fall of 2019, the firm marked the arrival of partners and staff from Coronado Katz LLC and in January 2021, partners and staff from Schlee & McCarthy, P.C. For 100 years the firm’s core practice has been civil litigation, at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts nationwide.
Since the firm’s founding, its members have practiced under a basic philosophy that each client is unique and deserving of personal attention and service. They have practiced in a variety of substantive areas, ranging from general corporate law to personal injury and across various industries including construction, transportation, manufacturing, utilities, professional services, retail, and government.
In recognition of their litigation proficiency, the firm’s principals have been elected as fellows and members of prestigious organizations. Members have been fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and members of the International Association of Defense Counsel. Lyman Field and Reed Gentry were each named continuously in the litigation section of The Best Lawyers in America© from its initial edition. Lee Baty has also been recognized by this organization.
Legacy of Contribution
Over the years, various members of the firm have provided substantial public service, having served on the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri; the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners; and in the U.S. Congress. C. Jasper Bell, an early member of the firm, served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Co-founder Paul A. Buzard served as a circuit judge, and former partner David W. Hauber serves as a district court judge in Johnson County, Kansas. Theresa Otto has chaired the Kansas City Board of Zoning Adjustment since 1997.
Baty Otto Coronado lawyers also have made significant contributions to their profession.
- Reed Gentry was a member and later chairman of the initial Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions, which drafted the original uniform jury instructions for the state’s trial courts. He was also honored with the Charles Evans Whittaker Award given by the Lawyers Association of Kansas City in recognition of his substantial contributions to the legal community.
- James Benjamin was president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association in 1968 and served on the Missouri Supreme Court Rules Committee.
- Steve Coronado is a founding member and past president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Greater Kansas City.
- Steve Coronado also served in various leadership positions with DRI over the years (formerly the Defense Research Institute), notably on its board of directors from 2007-2010 and as chair and vice-chair of its Products Liability Committee. He is a past chair of the Missouri Bar’s Client Security Fund Committee.
- Theresa Otto and Steve Coronado have served on the board of directors of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL)—Steve as MODL’s president from 2013-2014. Chris Heigele serves currently on MODL’s board of directors.
- Mark Katz was president of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel in 2016.
- Stephen Snead was an original member of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri’s panel of neutrals at the invitation of U.S. Magistrate James England.
Trial by Jury
From 1955 to its move to the Country Club Plaza in 1994, the firm’s office was in a building in downtown Kansas City designed and constructed to meet the specifications of the law firm at the time. The firm opened offices in St. Louis and Springfield in 1999 and 2000, respectively. During Lyman Field’s tenure with the firm, the firm’s walls were adorned with original works by his close friend, famed Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton. This legacy is kept alive today through a handsome framed print of Benton’s “Trial by Jury” which hangs proudly in the firm’s main conference room with a view to downtown Kansas City. Lyman Field was Benton’s model for the lawyer addressing the jury in “Trial by Jury.”