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Financial resources and free CLE to help meet economic challenges caused by COVID-19

Ongoing expenses seem immune to a virus; unfortunately, that is not the case with income generation. This unprecedented shut down is causing many to worry about how to keep their doors open or their staff paid. We’re listening to your concerns and we are taking steps to help. The Missouri Bar’s Executive Committee and our COVID-19 Response Task Force have created resource tools, identified others and approved additional benefits during these difficult times to help.  

Resources to help keep you in business 

As part of our ongoing effort to gather information, identify problems and propose solutions, we have been hearing from our members about how they are being financially hurt by this pandemic. For some, the ability to keep the doors open, even remotely, is an increasing challenge. We therefore asked three members of our Board of Governors – Karen McCarthy of The Bar Plan, Hon. Doug Thomson who is newly appointed to the Western District Court of Appeals, and Robert Jones of Curtis, Heinz, Garrett, and O’Keefe - to help identify existing ways to help our members through these times. Our thanks to these lawyers and judge for taking their time to help our members.  

Here are the types of economic resources that they have identified:  

View these and other materials on our website - in our Coronavirus Resource Center for Lawyers. We will continue to supplement these resources as new material becomes available.

Five hours of free CLE

The Supreme Court of Missouri has given you more time to get your CLE completed; it extended the 2019-20 MCLE reporting year and reporting deadline to Sept. 30 and Oct. 31, respectively. Your Missouri Bar has given you ways to reduce your CLE costs. We want to help members secure their needed continuing legal education credits while providing meaningful content directly related to the pandemic and practice management responses to it. To do that, The Missouri Bar will offer free CLE programs to members as follows:  

  • two hours of ethics credit, including one hour of elimination of bias credit, and 

  • three hours of practice management programming consisting of new content specific to the pandemic and responses to it. 

We are in the process of developing specific programming which will be offered free to all members of The Missouri Bar to fulfill these two areas. We will send information about these webinar programs as soon as they are scheduled. The programs will be routinely repeated to allow as many lawyers as possible to take advantage of this free programming during the extended reporting year. 

We also recognize that even with this help, it might be hard to pay for your CLE needs. The Missouri Bar offers a hardship waiver for MoBarCLE sponsored programs to help you through these times.

Giving Back

We aren't the only ones having economic problems. Our citizens are facing all shapes and sizes of legal issues such as financing, housing, employment and other problems directly related to this pandemic. Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org is seeking volunteers to provide answers for the inevitable questions that Missourians of modest means will have during this difficult time. Eighteen legal organizations and local/specialty bar associations have joined The Missouri Bar in providing lawyers to address those questions and in urging all lawyers to volunteer their time and expertise to help Missourians in need. View their letter here.

You can make a difference in someone’s life by volunteering a few minutes of your time. Sign up today to volunteer.

If you see other materials or have suggestions for how to improve these resources, our practices or the administration of justice during the pandemic, please contact me. 

Stay well, 

Tom Bender

Tom Bender, 2019-20 Missouri Bar President

Tom Bender, 2019-2020 President of The Missouri Bar