Rachel Pickering and her husband Jeff Pickering moved to Kansas in 1997, when he began teaching at Kansas State University. Before the family moved to Manhattan, Kansas, she had worked as an international paralegal at Howell and Haferkamp, a St. Louis intellectual property boutique firm. In Manhattan, she worked for the Kansas State University Research Foundation, which specializes in the development of the university’s intellectual property. She attended law school at University of Missouri-Columbia, receiving a juris doctorate and a certificate in electronic commerce and intellectual property in 2003. In her third year of law school, she took classes at the University of Kansas School of Law while clerking at Hovey Williams, an intellectual property boutique firm in Kansas City. Upon completing her law degree, she began as an Associate with Hovey Williams.
When her son was born, Judge Pickering interrupted her law practice at Hovey Williams to stay home and raise their infant son. She then returned to work, choosing to practice in Topeka in criminal law. She worked both at the Appellate Defender Office and the Third Judicial District Public Defender Office. In late 2015, she became an Assistant District Attorney at the Shawnee County District Attorney Office. Prior her appointment to the bench, she was an Assistant Solicitor General at the Kansas Attorney General Office.
Judge Pickering is an Adjunct Professor at Washburn University School of Law, teaching the intersession course Fundamentals of Oral Argument since 2018. Additionally, she has coached several Washburn University law student moot court competition teams since 2014.
She is a member of several bar associations, including the American Bar Association, where she serves on the ABA Women in Criminal Justice Task Force. She is a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association, Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court Board, and serves on the Kansas State Board of Examiners of Court Reporters. She has served as president of the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka, was program committee chair for the Kansas Women Attorney Association’s 2018 conference, and program committee co-chair for KWAA’s 30th annual conference the following year.
Judge Pickering is active within the Topeka community, serving on the boards of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, Washburn Women’s Alliance, and is a member of the Heartland Sertoma Club of Topeka. When her son was in Cub Scouts, she was an Assistant Den Leader with Pack 92 in Wamego, Kansas.