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Barry Grissom

Barry Grissom

Representing individuals who have been injured or taken advantage of has been a passion for Barry Grissom. He hates bullies. Since 1983 he has dedicated his professional career to assisting those who need legal help. After twenty-seven years of pursuing justice for individuals he was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the United States Attorney for the District of Kansas and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in August of 2010. He served in that position until April of 2016. During his time as U.S. Attorney, he was selected by Attorney General Eric Holder to serve as one of 14 United States Attorneys on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (“AGAC”) – a group that meets regularly in Washington to advise the Attorney General on matters of administration and policy. As part of the AGAC, Mr. Grissom contributed to the Attorney General’s efforts to reform the federal criminal justice system through the Smart on Crime initiative and was involved in formulating responses to the myriad of policy and administrative issues that confront the D.O.J. every day. As a result of his service on AGAC, Mr. Grissom was asked by the Brennan Center at New York University Law School to be part of a Blue Ribbon Panel on redefining federal prosecution priorities. This Blue Ribbon Panel, which included a small number of current and former U.S. Attorneys, as well as former high ranking department officials, public defenders and academics examined how shifting federal prosecutorial priorities can reduce violent crime while also addressing the issue of over-incarceration which culminated in the September, 2014 release of a report entitled Federal Prosecution for the 21st Century. He continues to speak out on criminal justice reform, having most recently lobbied members of Congress on Federal Sentencing Reform with Drug Policy Alliance as well as lobbying efforts for the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML). 

During his tenure, Grissom made civil rights enforcement and community outreach top priorities. Among other accomplishments, Grissom:

  • Founded the Kansas Civil Rights Symposium, bringing law enforcement officers and civil rights advocates together from across Kansas together annually for a day-long conference.
  • Promoted efforts to build better relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
  • Founded the District’s first Human Trafficking Working Group. The group’s mission was to coordinate the work of local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as nonprofit agencies and victim service providers, to fight human trafficking.
  • Established the District’s first criminal prosecutor position assigned to carry out the Justice Department’s Smart on Crime Initiative. Objectives included reducing penalties for low-level, non-violent drug offenders, as well as pursuing new and innovative ways to promote public safety.
  • Directed the District’s Project Safe Neighborhood program, targeting the federal prosecution of felons who unlawfully possessed firearms.
  • Oversaw the District’s Project Safe Childhood program, targeting child sex offenders for long federal prison sentences.

Since leaving the D.O.J. he has focused his efforts on Criminal Justice Reform. As part of that effort, he has written and spoken on the necessity of changing laws that relate to Cannabis Prohibition.…/opn-columns-b…/article194308459.html 

Other opinion pieces authored by Grissom: 

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Served as a Board member of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys.
  • Former Ex officio Member of the Wichita Police Department’s Citizens Review Board
  • Speaks regularly for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) on issues of criminal justice reform.
  • Kansas Cannabis Coalition, Advisory Counsel.
  • Last Prisoner Project, Legal, Advisory Counsel.
  • He has appeared on MSNBC as a guest legal commentator


Oklahoma City University School of Law
Juris Doctor – 1981

  • Law Review
  • Moot Court

University of Kansas
Bachelor of Science – 1977

Bar Associations 

Kansas Bar Association
Missouri Bar Association
Kansas Trial Lawyers Association
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Johnson County Bar Association
National Association of Former United States Attorneys
Union Lawyers Alliance

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit