August 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Profile / Gene Barton

Journalist...Lawyer...High Roller...& Fan

By Jim Austin


This month's Profile is a bit out of the ordinary, just like our profiled lawyer.

You see, unlike everyone else who has ever been written about in this column, Gene Barton didn't know this was coming. He opened his Bar Bulletin to this page and said, "What the . . .?!?!" Because Gene, as the long-time editor of this illustrious publication, had already proofed this page, taking care to make sure that the profile looked and read just right. Only, the profile that Gene edited and submitted for publication in this issue wasn't a profile of himself, but of some other standout of our local legal community.

Unbeknownst to Gene, and as a tribute to him for his ten years of service as Bar Bulletin editor, his friends at KCBA decided to surprise him by substituting this profile in place of the one he thought he was going to see.

I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to write this column, not only because it gives me an opportunity to tell you a few things about someone I admire, but because it means I will be the one and only person during Gene's decade of service who has managed to write anything for the Bulletin that he hasn't planned, organized, fact-checked, punctuated, re-worked and fitted. So there, Gene - this one got away from you!

Just take a moment to look carefully at this edition of the Bulletin. Do you notice that this issue, like all others over the past ten years, has a theme (indicated on the stripe at the top of the cover page)? That's Gene's innovation. Notice how many people were cajoled into contributing the time to produce articles for the issue? Also Gene's doing. Do you really think that all of those contributors write that well, with finely crafted sentences that work grammatically and with perfect spelling? Get real - that's Gene again, in the background, doing his thing. And how amazing is it that everything lines up perfectly, without gaps or empty margins? Once again, that's Gene's handiwork. Ben Franklin would be proud.

So, how did Gene come by his editorial skills? Let's review his history.

Gene wasn't always the crackerjack attorney that he is today. Once upon a time, Gene had it in his mind that his professional life would be spent as a print journalist. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree, Gene spent 15 years as a newspaper reporter and editor in Oregon and New Mexico.

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