Business owner, student, mom

Taylor Ray and her daughter EmmaGraduate’s student experience enriched by expanding roles

Some babies are rocked to sleep with lullabies. Taylor Ray’s daughter Emma was lulled into slumber with voice recordings of Professor Webb Hecker’s Mergers and Acquisitions lectures.

In the midst of an enriching 2L year serving as president of Women in Law and staff member on the Kansas Law Review, Ray added a new title to her resume: mom. Throughout law school, the former loan officer balanced academic and family commitments while operating her own small business and working as a summer associate at Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Before Emma, I had free time, even though I thought that I didn’t,” Ray said. “Now I am constantly doing something. Life is way busier, but it is so much better.”

Ray pursued law school after two years in the mortgage industry. Her experience handling mortgage closings led to a side hustle, Preferred Signature. Ray owns the mobile notary business, representing title companies as an independent agent and working to ensure timely and accurate closings.

Though she remained focused on professional pursuits throughout her legal education, Ray also relished student life. She counts her involvement with Women in Law as a favorite law school experience. “I was able to meet so many amazing women and participate in a group that gave back to a great cause,” she said. Women in Law’s annual Pub Night raises funds to support local organizations that advocate for women in need. The group’s 2016 event raised $12,500 for the Willow Domestic Violence Center and Jana’s Campaign, an advocacy group that raises awareness to prevent domestic violence in honor of former KU Law student Jana Mackey.

Ray, far right, and her Transactional LawMeet teammates with their coach, Professor Webb Hecker.

As a 3L, Ray competed at the regional Transactional LawMeet in Dallas. The event offers a moot court experience for students who plan to practice transactional law. Ray and her teammates advanced to the semifinal round, winning the prize for the competition’s best draft agreement.

Ray’s growing family added a new dimension of complexity to her professional and extracurricular pursuits, but a strong support system and healthy perspective helped her keep priorities in check.

“I try and always remember how lucky I am,” Ray said. “I am lucky enough to be incredibly busy going to school so that I can have my dream job and parenting the most adorable baby girl. Staying focused on the important things and prioritizing how I spend my time helps me balance it all.” She notes that completing law school was a team effort with her husband Earvin, who was always eager to help her study for final exams or occupy the baby.

Ray plans to build on her mortgage experience by focusing her practice on real estate law at Husch Blackwell.

“I know that there is a big learning curve when you go to work,” she said, “but I am excited to jump in and get started.”

-Emily Sharp

This post is the fifth in a series highlighting just a few exceptional members of KU Law’s Class of 2017. Check out stories about James Houston Bales, Hannah BrassKriston Guillot, and Matt Scarber, and stay tuned for more graduate profiles as we count down to the Hooding Ceremony on May 13.

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