10:45 AM

2019 Spurgeon Smithson Award recipients named


Three Missouri lawyers will receive Spurgeon Smithson Awards Sept. 18, 2019, during The Missouri Bar Foundation & Public Service Awards Luncheon at the Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar in Branson.

Three Missouri lawyers will receive Spurgeon Smithson Awards Sept. 18, 2019, during The Missouri Bar Foundation & Public Service Awards Luncheon at the Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar in Branson. Hon. Stephen Limbaugh Jr., James R. “J.R.” Hobbs and Hon. Suzanne Bocell Bradley have been selected for the honor after being deemed "to have rendered outstanding service toward the increase and diffusion of justice." 

The Missouri Bar Foundation makes the Spurgeon Smithson awards annually to Missouri judges, teachers of law, and/or lawyers.  

A member of a distinguished line of Missouri lawyers, Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. was sworn in as United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri in 2008. At the time of his appointment, he was a judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri, having completed 16 years of service on that Court, including a two-year term as chief justice. While a member of the Supreme Court, Limbaugh chaired the Court’s Commission on Judicial Education and co-chaired the Court’s Task Force on Children and Families. As chief justice, he served as presiding officer of the Missouri Judicial Conference and chaired the Appellate Judicial Commission of the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. 

Judge Limbaugh is an active member of many professional, civic and charitable organizations. He is past president of The State Historical Society of Missouri and a current member of the Missouri Bicentennial Commission. Limbaugh is the first resident federal district judge in the new Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. U.S. Courthouse in Cape Girardeau, which is named for his grandfather. In addition to his regular duties, Limbaugh presided over the federal court system’s first Veterans Court, designed to assist criminal offenders who were honorably discharged from the military. 

James R. Hobbs is a shareholder at Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian, P.C. He has an active practice in the areas of white-collar criminal defense, criminal defense, and commercial litigation, representing both individuals and businesses. Hobbs has served on the Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission and is currently a member of the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. He is also co-chair of the Court’s Task Force on Criminal Justice, which is addressing pre-trial release and bond reform, among other issues. 

Hobbs is a past recipient of the Lon O. Hocker Award which recognizes stellar young trial lawyers from the Missouri Bar Foundation and continues to serve as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. 

“I believe that every individual has a story,” said Hobbs. “Whether the case involves the prosecution of an individual or business, every citizen accused deserves a fair process and good defense.” 

Suzanne Bocell Bradley has practiced law in St. Joseph for more than 40 years, including service as a substitute municipal judge for more than 20 year. She also served as a Missouri gaming commissioner for eight years.Bradley has been a member of The Missouri Bar since 1976 and has served as a trustee of the Missouri Bar Foundation for more than 30 years. She served two separate terms as president of the foundation and was a charter member of the Missouri Bar Foundation Fellows Program. 

In addition to her service as a municipal judge, Bradley was appointed by the Supreme Court of Missouri to the Municipal Judge Education Committee, where she spent more than 20 years educating and certifying municipal judges across the state. She also taught annual ethics and case law courses in the Municipal Judge Training Course. 

The Spurgeon Smithson Awards were established in 1976 by bequest of the late Mr. Smithson, an outstanding Kansas City lawyer. The award includes a $2,000 stipend.