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Managing Success, Giving Back

Washburn Law shifted Manning's career outlook, now he's giving back to building campaign

Doreen and Michael Manning

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2018

Looking back, Michael Manning is glad he lost his bid for Kansas secretary of state as a 23-year-old in 1972. As a consolation, Gov. Robert Docking offered Manning a job on his staff.

“We campaigned together. We became friends,” said Manning, jd ’77, honorary ’07.

As Docking’s term was closing, he offered some advice.

“He told me,” Manning recalled, “‘You can be senator or governor of this state, but you can’t be just a politician. So, go be a lawyer.’”

Manning enrolled at Washburn University School of Law with the intention of launching a career in politics. That first semester hooked him and helped propel a successful legal career that’s included more than 40 years at Stinson Leonard Street LLP.

In his career, he’s managed the two largest bank fraud cases in United States history. He managed litigation against New York mob-related broker, Mario Renda in the 1980s. He managed the well-known fraud case against Lincoln Savings and Loan Association and Charles Keating in the 1980s and 1990s. In both those cases, the government selected him as outside counsel.

“When you’re at the helm of one of those cases, like I was blessed to be, you have to monitor and turn all those dials at the right time and the right way,” he said. “Experiencing litigation like that at national levels was truly exciting.”

He never forgot where his law career took hold.

“My wife, Doreen, asked me, ‘Look at your career. It’s been blessed from the beginning to now. What factor was the most important in that success?’ And the answer was instantaneous and it was Washburn Law,” he said.

The Mannings recently gave back with a gift to the School of Law building fund. The current building met Manning’s needs as a student, but times have changed.

“The physical plant needs to be improved to continue to attract the level of applicants I think are crucial to a law school’s reputation,” he said.

Manning knows the new building will provide the tools to mold the next generation of lawyers and maybe keep a few people from getting into politics.

“I don’t really care that I might have been governor or senator. I would have never had such an enriching life as being a lawyer.”

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