Larry Tenopir practices primarily in the areas of probate (wills, trusts, estates), real estate, landlord law, and small business and collections. He represents the Shawnee County Landlords Association, the local housing authority and numerous apartment complexes and individual landlords. He files collection suits for dentists. And he's drafted several thousand wills or other estate documents and has represented hundreds of executors and administrators, including individuals, banks, even other lawyers. He's also served some former clients as the executor of their estates. He manages the firm and other partnership businesses.
Born in Marysville, Kansas, Larry Tenopir built model cars as an 8-yr-old, preferring Lincolns and Cadillacs (with a couple of Jags and Corvettes thrown in) so he could play lawyer, and occasionally, governor. Graduating from Marysville High School, and with the help of his parents, a number of jobs and federal student loans, Larry earned a B.S.E. degree, majoring in Language Arts (English-Speech-Theatre) Education with a minor in French from the University of Kansas.
Larry worked off half his student loans teaching for 7 years in high school, adult high school at Ft. Riley and finally one year in junior high and, during those years, earned his M.S.E. from the KU Graduate School in secondary Curriculum and Instruction, also achieving state certification as a Developmental and Remedial Reading Specialist. During the last year of teaching and while he was finishing his master's thesis, Larry worked several shifts a week as an auditor at the Manhattan Holiday Inn to pay off all his debts and clear the decks for finally getting to law school to become the lawyer he played as an 8-yr-old.
During his three years at KU Law School, Larry worked mostly full-time (sometimes more) at the Topeka Downtown Holiday Inn as an auditor and evening shift manager and also at the Kansas Democratic Party as the assistant to the State Chairman. He studied for and passed the 1982 summer bar exam while managing the statewide voter registration and turnout effort for the state Democratic Party .
Upon Governor Carlin's re-election, he appointed Larry the legal counsel for the Kansas State Fire Marshal. As counsel, Larry learned about safety and building codes as well as arson investigation and prosecution. Two years into the job, he and Joe Huerter and law school classmate Alma Heckler opened the doors of the firm. Larry continued with the Fire Marshal while beginning to build his private practice during evenings and weekends.
After a change in state administrations, Larry left the fire marshal's office and began full-time private practice augmented with some political consulting work and a return to teaching some classes, this time undergraduate basic and advanced Business Law for K-State (13 quarters taught) and Allen County JUCO extension in Lyndon where he taught business law as well as college English composition. Between 1991 and 1992, he also served as a part-time administrative judge for the KS Securities Commissioner and as a special administrative judge for the KS Division of Worker's Compensation.
Larry and Joe also started a real estate investment partnership in 1988, and Larry managed the rental properties, and still does.
In 1992, Governor Joan Finney appointed Larry to the State Board of Tax Appeals--the state's highest administrative tax tribunal, an appointment requiring Senate confirmation. Larry again scaled back his private practice to lunch-time, evenings and weekends during the four years he served on the Board. During his term on the board, he completed IAAO appraisal classes and maintained a speaking schedule teaching continuing legal education for the Commercial Property Association and the Kansas Petroleum Appraisers' Institute. He also was a guest lecturer in Administrative Law at President's College School of Law in Wichita.
Upon expiration of his term on BOTA, Larry again returned to the firm full-time which is where he's stayed to the present. He briefly served as a special administrative law judge with the Kansas Insurance Department during the first months back at the firm. Larry expanded his real estate building/safety code and appraisal training with home study of real estate sales and earned and maintains licensure as a real estate agent.
In 2003, Larry and Joe also started a rental management company, Alameda Property Management, LLC, having purchased it from a client.
Although he's mostly retired from active political activity (and long-since abandoned his 8-yr-old dreams of being governor), Larry's non-work activities for thirty years were heavy with Democratic Party politics including four uncontested elections as Shawnee County Democratic Chairman, two four-year terms as Democratic National Committeeman for the State of Kansas, attendance in one role or another at 8 Democratic national nominating conventions and three mid-term national conventions. Larry was the in-state delegate representative and convention whip for both Clinton campaigns and the Gore campaign and served as the in-state coordinator for the White House during the Clinton Presidential visit to Topeka. His legal skills were used as General Counsel to the state party and as a drafter of major state party bylaws revisions, state delegate selection rules and a state party platform. Larry's received a number of awards from Democratic organizations and the state party, and in one of the more entertaining aspects of political involvement, joined other local party officials to put on a tux and serve as an extra in HBO's production of "Truman", starring Gary Sinise. Filmed in the Kansas City area, the film's producers filled the audience at Truman's 1948 victory banquet with real politicians. Larry can be seen in occasional re-runs on the History Channel, having approximately 2.5 seconds onscreen.
Larry's other community involvement revolves around several interests--historical preservation in which he's served on the board and as President of Historic Topeka, Inc., as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Shawnee County Historical Society and as a co-founder of the Topeka Area Heritage Alliance. Currently he serves on the board of the Historic Jayhawk Theatre which is attempting to renovate and re-open the official state theatre of Kansas located in Topeka. Larry also maintains memberships with the Marshall County Historical Society as a charter and life member, Kansas Historical Society; Kansas Preservation Alliance; National Trust for Historic Preservation; the Smithsonian; Friends of Mt. Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Another major interest is support of KU. Larry has served on the board of the Topeka Jayhawk Club since its inception, wrote the club newsletter for 13 years and served 3 terms as President. He's a life member of the KU Alumni Association and a member of the Jayhawk Society and served as the first President of the KU Alumni Association Shawnee County Chapter. In 2003, the Alumni Association awarded him the Clodfelter volunteerism award, and in 2009 the Wintermote chapter leader award. In 2003, he was instrumental in initiating the fundraising drive for new uniforms for the KU Marching Jayhawks. Since then, he has served as a member of the advisory board for the KU School of Fine Arts and served as president 2007-08. In late 2007, he was appointed by the KU Provost to serve on the search committee for a new Dean of the KU School of Fine Arts and went on to serve on the Provost's Task Force for Reorganization of Fine Arts at KU. He is also active in the KU Friends of the Theatre, was elected to the Board in 2007 and became President in 2009. He's a member of the KU Athletic Association's Williams Education Fund and the KU Endowment Association's Elizabeth Watkins Society. Larry has held coveted season KU basketball tickets for decades and not-yet-but-about-to-be-as-coveted KU football tickets even longer. He enjoys travel to some away games, especially NCAA tournament and football bowl games.
Larry has recently joined a group of area reform-minded Catholics in "Catholics for Renewal" and is a member of "Call to Action.".
Larry's other interests include the never-ending renovation of a 1904 columned white mansion in central Topeka which is pictured on the local historical society's website as the example of local neo-classical architecture. A Topeka Civic Theatre season ticket holder and contributor for decades, Larry also makes it to New York to see Broadway shows, use his membership to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and visit with friends. He's recently started attending the annual awards luncheon of the Drama League of which he's a member. He also gets to DC and Chicago and occasionally Europe, so far having visited France, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The Shawnee County Commission appointed Larry to two 3-year terms on the 6-member Topeka-Shawnee County Riverfront Authority in 2007. The Authority is charged with the task of devising a master plan and overseeing the development of the Kansas riverfront in Shawnee County.
Larry maintains a public speaking schedule addressing legal topics and his other interests.
Lawrence L. Tenopir
Education: Marysville High School ’68 University of Kansas ’72 B.S.E Language Arts Education KU Graduate School ’78 M.S.E. KU Law School ’82, J.D.
Professional Associations: Kansas Bar Association