Executive Summary: Time, talent, and treasure
Vol. 77, No. 6/ Nov. - Dec. 2021
Mischa Buford Epps
Mischa Buford Epps is executive director of The Missouri Bar.
As the year draws to an end, it’s helpful to reflect on all we’ve done in 2021 – and consider how we might best advance our profession in 2022. I am starting to attend events around the state, which also means I’m meeting more Missouri lawyers in person. With each visit, I am reminded of the good work and dedication of many of our members.
Our standing, open-enrollment, and special committees are hard at work. Just one example of this are the efforts of the Lawyers Living Well Special Committee, which spearheaded the bar’s involvement in Suicide Prevention Awareness Month activities. In September, Missouri lawyers, law students, and their families and friends participated in the Out of Darkness Walk in St. Louis and raised more than $5,000 to support suicide awareness and prevention outreach. Lawyers also stepped forward to increase awareness of suicide in the profession by recording videos that share how they have been impacted by suicide – and how there is hope for anyone in need.
Throughout the year, dozens of Missouri lawyers shared their time and talent to plan and pull off successful bar events, such as the Annual Meeting and the Solo & Small Firm Conference. Insights shared at these conferences help lawyers across our state even better serve their clients, and we value your support to make them happen. Lawyers have also helped educate the public about the legal system and how it applies to daily life by appearing as guests on our “Is it Legal To?” podcast; updated our Media Law Handbook to assist reporters; wrote timely, thought-provoking articles for the Journal of The Missouri Bar; and so much more.
Even better, these efforts come from lawyers at all stages of their careers. This fall, I heard a presentation by our 2020-21 Leadership Academy class of lawyers with less than 10 years of practice experience. As part of their program participation, these 12 lawyers chose to create a series of curriculum for middle school and high school classroom teachers to educate students on their First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Civil Rights. These resources were also designed so that Missouri lawyers or judges can readily use the curriculum to speak in classrooms. In October, I attended the 9th Judicial Circuit Bar’s annual meeting, where I met a 95-year-old retired judge who was there to connect with lawyers from his part of the state. He has been attending the circuit’s annual meeting for 65 years, actively contributing to its mission and the legal profession at large. That dedication is something we can all aspire to.
If you’re looking for ways to share your time and talent to ensure fair and impartial justice for all, visit MoBar.org. You might also consider contributing your treasure by supporting The Missouri Bar Foundation with an end-of-year gift on MoBarFoundation.org. On an annual basis, the foundation provides funding to a variety of legal-focused efforts, including citizenship education, legal assistance for veterans, the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and our state’s four legal aid offices.
In addition, the foundation honors the good deeds of lawyers by presenting a variety of special awards. You can learn more about this year’s award recipients starting on page 284. All this would not happen without the generosity of lawyers who are passionate about paying it forward.
I’m sure we can all agree that 2021 has been, to say the least, unpredictable. But what remains steadfast is the work of our members to help improve the profession, the law, and the administration of justice for all Missourians. For that, I thank you.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season!