Dana Tippin Cutler, Doreen Dodson receive 2022 Purcell Professionalism Award
For their exceptional professionalism as Missouri lawyers, Dana Tippin Cutler and Doreen Dodson received this year’s Purcell Professionalism Award.
Named after former Missouri Bar President Martin J. Purcell, the Purcell Professionalism Award recognizes Missouri lawyers who have shown a high standard of competency, integrity, and civility in professional and civic activities. The Missouri Bar Board of Governors and The Missouri Bar Foundation Board of Trustees nominate lawyers, and the board of trustees selects one or two award winners.
Cutler is a partner at James W. Tippin & Associates, where she focuses on education law and civil defense litigation. Cutler has served in various leadership roles, including as the first Black woman to serve as Missouri Bar president from 2016 to 2017. She has also received numerous awards for her legal achievements. Cutler and her husband and law partner, Keith Cutler, are well-known for being co-judges on a two-time Emmy-nominated daytime television courtroom show, “Couples Court with the Cutlers.” A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Cutler was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 1989.
Cutler is grateful to receive this year’s Purcell award since it indicates that her peers and other members of the judiciary “recognize (my) efforts to do good and to treat others as you would like to be treated.” This award also holds a special place in her heart as her father, James Tippin, received the award in 2011.
“My dad always emphasized the importance of collegiality with opposing counsel and respect for the bench, so to receive this award suggests I may have met the high standard he modeled for me,” she said.
Cutler is also honored to receive this award alongside Dodson, who Cutler considers one of her “she-roes in law.”
“(Dodson is) one of my mentors who gave me so many unique opportunities to grow in the profession,” she said.
Dodson is a retired lawyer who worked at various institutions including Stolar Partnership, Polsinelli, and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, among others. She also made history in 1990 as the first woman to serve as Missouri Bar president. Even though Dodson is retired, she continues to volunteer with The Missouri Bar Foundation, American Bar Foundation, and the Supreme Court of Missouri’s disciplinary system. Dodson graduated from the Saint Louis University School of Law and was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 1974.
“My years on the Board of Governors and then in the ABA and the foundations of both allowed me to work on the issues I care about most— legal services for the poor, judicial independence, and immigration reform,” she said.
Dodson hopes lawyers always remember the passion that drove them to law school and their legal careers.
“Yes, the practice of law has changed; yes, there are demands on time of family and work. But our community (and) our country need the skills lawyers bring in so many areas,” she said. “The organized bar — local, state, national — is an excellent way lawyers can follow their passions and make their legal careers fulfilling.”
Cutler and Dodson will join the prestigious list of more than 40 Purcell award recipients since 1995. As part of the award, Cutler and Dodson will each receive a $500 stipend.
This year’s award winners will be recognized at Annual Meeting Sept. 14-16.