Alumna Discusses Career in Family Law

Allison Gerli ’09 KKG of St. Louis, MO, is a family specialist in more ways than one. The associate attorney at The Center for Family Law helps families through extremely difficult times. She also recently gave birth to a daughter, Margaret (“Margot”) Severs. As for her legal work, Gerli says, “I enjoy being able to help families through that difficult process, and I enjoy the challenge and variety of the work.”

Westminster College recently caught up with the busy attorney between diaper changes during her recent maternity leave. The interview is as follows:

What was your major at Westminster? English.  

What other degrees, and from what institutions, do you hold? I have a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.  

What organizations outside of work are you involved in? I have been an active board member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis for three years.  

What role did Westminster play in leading you to your current position? I learned how to critically think, and how to express those thoughts in writing and orally. The English Department knows exactly the right balance of supporting and challenging students to succeed. Westminster also instilled in me the importance of networking. I landed my current job because of my ability to network. It is so important, especially in today’s world when people can so easily hide behind a screen and often prefer to do so.  

What is your favorite Westminster memory? This is a hard one. The memories run deep with my Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters and also my time working on the newspaper. However, if I have to choose one particular memory, I’d say working on the Vagina Monologues. I co-directed and co-emceed the play through my involvement with the Remley Women’s Center. I had never done anything like that before, and it was an incredible experience. 

Based on your experience, would you recommend Westminster to prospective college students? Absolutely. Westminster genuinely cares about and supports its students.  

Spouse? John Severs — financial analyst at Saint Louis University.

Favorite faculty member(s)? Difficult question! The entire English Department is outstanding: Dr. Debra Brenegan, Dr. Carolyn Perry, and Professor Emeritus Wayne Zade all had significant impacts on me.    

Favorite spot on campus? Some of my best friends to date I met while sitting on the balcony of Marquess Hall in The Quad.   

A book you would recommend to others? Becoming by Michelle Obama. It’s amazing!   

Do you have a favorite quote? “Be the change you wish to see in the world” — Ghandi.

Favorite TV show? My current favorite TV show is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime.  

What do you do in your free time? When life is not consumed by the new baby, I enjoy cooking, travelling, being outdoors, yoga, and rehabbing my house with my husband.  

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.