Executive Summary: The benefits of being a Missouri lawyer
Vol. 77, No. 3/ May - June 2021
Mischa Buford Epps
Mischa Buford Epps is executive director of The Missouri Bar.
Spring is in full bloom and has ushered in a renewal of energy.
With the increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, we are slowly emerging from our pandemic seclusion, even if still social distancing and mask wearing to continue to curb our infection rates.
In late April, I had the pleasure of watching approximately 70 new Missouri lawyers take their oaths to practice during the spring enrollment ceremony at the state capitol. COVID-19 precautions and inclement weather caused modifications to the ceremony, which is traditionally held at the Supreme Court of Missouri building. Nonetheless, with family and friends looking on in the balconies above, and others streaming the event on The Missouri Bar’s Facebook page, the excitement and sheer joy were palpable.
John Gunn, 2020-21 Missouri Bar president, welcomed these new lawyers to the legal profession and congratulated them on passing a grueling exam under historically stressful external circumstances. He shared insights from his journey as a lawyer and encouraged our newest members to bring their full selves to the profession. He assured them, as I remind you, that The Missouri Bar is here to help you even better serve your clients and our communities.
In this issue, you will read about a collection of Missouri lawyers who are using their law degrees in non-traditional ways. While they aren’t using their JDs in a practice setting, they are all quick to mention how much their legal education plays a role in their professional successes — and how Missouri Bar activity has contributed to them. I hope it does for you, too.
At The Missouri Bar, we work to help you thrive in your day-to-day activity by offering legal education and business services. Programs and publications produced by The Missouri Bar’s Continuing Legal Education department (MoBarCLE) are a great value any time, but even more so as many members face increased economic pressures as a result of the global health crisis. MoBarCLE offers a wide array of programs and materials relevant to both new lawyers entering the practice and established lawyers looking to expand their areas of practice or stay abreast of latest developments.
You can stay informed about legislation that may affect the legal profession, your practice, and your clients with The Missouri Bar’s Legislative Engagement Center and other Missouri Bar resources. The bar’s Legislative Digest provides comprehensive summaries for all legislation enacted during the year, as well as other tools to aid in navigating the new laws and access to other online resources.
We also offer law practice management resources that are helpful whether you’re just starting your career, getting ready to retire, or continuing to grow your knowledge as a legal professional. Through MoBar.org, you can access an expansive forms bank, view legal ethics opinions, and even complete free legal research using Fastcase. If you’re looking to chat with others about practice solutions in real time, you can collaborate with lawyers from across the state via the connect.MOBAR online platform, speak with an expert at Affinity Consulting Group, or share information using #MOLawyers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
The Missouri Bar strives to make lawyer well-being a priority. Earlier this year, President Gunn established the Lawyers Living Well Special Committee to identify factors impacting the well-being of Missouri lawyers, develop programing, and communicate the importance of mental health and wellness.
These efforts further the good work of the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program (MOLAP), our confidential counseling program to assist lawyers, judges, law students, and their families with personal problems that adversely affect personal or professional well-being. There is no charge for MOLAP services, which can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at MoBar.org/MOLAP, or by calling 1-800-688-7859.
At all stages of your career, community is an important factor. We encourage all members, regardless of experience level, to be involved with one or more of the bar’s 45 open enrollment committees focusing on substantive law practice areas or issues pertinent to our profession, such as Access to Justice or the Committee on Diversity. We were ecstatic that more than 2,000 members participated in the Spring Committee Meetings held remotely the first week of May.
We also understand that your time and money are valuable. That’s why we collaborate with a range of providers to offer you exclusive access to savings on technology resources, marketing services, billing support, client intake tools, and more.
No matter where you are in your professional journey, you play a special role in the fabric of our Missouri Bar. Keep bringing your full selves to the table, and we’ll meet you there.