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J.A. “Jay” Felton

Jay Felton has served clients for more than 20 years, providing legal advice that is responsive, strategic and efficient. Jay brings his breadth of skills and experience to every client engagement. He focuses his practice on litigation, representing a number of Fortune 1000 and other fast-growing companies in complex commercial, product liability and class action matters. He also has extensive experience in a wide variety of both internal and external investigations.

A company's legal decisions are, first and foremost, business decisions. That's why Jay works diligently to understand each client's unique people, history, products, processes and markets, as well as the opportunities and threats. In some instances this means visiting clients on his own time, serving on internal client Six Sigma teams, or walking the manufacturing line (or field, or laboratory) to ensure he understands and represents each client in a way that is consistent with its business strategy and core values.

Jay delivers bottom-line value to his clients by using strategies customized to meet their needs. He regularly utilizes lean staffing on his matters, with a dedicated team of associates, paralegals and, when necessary, partners with specialized knowledge to get the job done. He incorporates technology and knowledge-sharing to more effectively and efficiently represent his clients. Furthermore, Jay works with his clients to structure alternative fees arrangements.

Whether creating the opportunity for decisive, favorable dismissal of an opponent's claims or facing a lengthy jury trial, Jay handles multimillion-dollar and "bet the company" matters for his clients, working with them to determine, pursue and achieve their goals.

Recent examples of Jay's experience include:

  • Serving as national panel counsel for product liability and warranty matters for a $20 billion multinational manufacturer with matters across the United States involving investigations as well as commercial, product liability and class action litigation.
  • Representing a multinational manufacturer as national product liability counsel, coordinating defenses of three class action lawsuits and numerous product claims. 
  • Serving as national panel counsel for a multinational agribusiness, natural resource and manufacturing company for environmental and product liability litigation and incident investigations. 
  • Serving as national panel counsel for a multinational agribusiness company on product liability, tort and intellectual property litigation and related investigations.

Beyond serving his clients in the courtroom or boardroom, on the factory floor or at the production facility, Jay’s connections and contributions to his family, friends and fellow attorneys are driving forces in his life. He enjoys serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri and serves Lathrop Gage as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Jay is also a fifth-generation farmer and remains actively involved in his family's row crop operation.

Court Memberships

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America® , Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2017-2019
  • Client Choice™ Award, Litigation, 2018
  • Chambers USA, Missouri Litigation, 2015 - 2018
  • University of Missouri, Missouri 100, 2012-2018 
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, 2008-2011, 2015-2017
  • Kansas City Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2014
  • Acquisition International, Business Litigator of the Year - Missouri, 2014
  • Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Security Strategy Exercise, 2009
  • U.S. Air Force Air War College, National Security Forum, 2008
  • Martindale-Hubbell® "AV Preeminent" Rating

Professional Affiliations

  • Kansas City Area Development Council
    • Board of Directors, 2013-2016, 2018-2020
    • Life Sciences Advisory Council, Chair, 2014-2016
  • Kansas City Sports Commission, Board of Directors, 2008-present
  • The Missouri 100, University of Missouri, Advisory Board, 2014 - present 
  • Aphasia Hope Foundation, Board of Directors, 2003-present
  • Derrick Johnson's Defend the Dream Foundation, Executive Board, 2016-2017
  • Boy Scouts of America, Pony Express Council Advisory Board, 1996-2015
  • Missouri Biotechnology Association, Board of Directors, 2006-2012
  • University of Missouri, Jefferson Club, Executive Committee, 2004-2010
  • University of Missouri Honors College, Adjunct Faculty Member, "Issues for the 21st Century," 1997-2005
  • University of Missouri Alumni Association, Executive Board, 2001-2003

Presentations

  • Blockchain 101, Maryville, MO, April 2018
  • Attorney-Client Privilege and Attorney Work Product for the In-House Attorney, Indianapolis, IN, November 2016; Wichita, KS, June 2017
  • Table of Experts: Agribusiness, Kansas City Business Journal, Kansas City, April 2016
  • Impact of the 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Indianapolis, IN, March 2016
  • Trends in how to Best Utilize Outside Counsel, Wichita, KS, September 2015
  • Successful Ways to Define Outside Counsel Work Projects, Inside Counsel SuperConference, Chicago, IL, May 2014
  • Business Succession Planning,  Maryville, MO, April 2014
  • E-discovery Strategy & Tactics, Indianapolis, IN, November 2013
  • Ag Industry Trends, Kansas City, MO, September 2013
  • Establishing Value Criteria, Inside Counsel SuperConference, Chicago, IL, April 2013
  • Attorney-Client Privilege and Attorney Work Product Issues and Recent Developments, Indianapolis, IN, April 2012
  • Strategies for Effective Internal Investigations, Kansas City, MO, September 2011
  • Assuring Satisfaction in Litigation, Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Conference, Boston, October 2009 
Photo of J.A. “Jay”  Felton
F: 816.292.2001

Assistant

Donna Smidt
816.460.5413

Industries

Education

University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1989

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • University of Virginia School of Law, Hardy Cross Dillard Scholar
  • Virginia Journal of International Law, Notes Editor

University of Missouri-Columbia, B.A., magna cum laude, 1986

Clerkship(s)

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable John R. Gibson, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 1989-1990