Five lawyers recognized for pro bono services
Will Goldstein, Tamar E. Hodges, Roland B. Miller III, Erica Mynarich, and Patricia D. Perkins received this year’s Pro Bono Publico Awards for their commitment to helping Missouri residents by providing free or reduced-fee services.
Through the awards, The Missouri Bar highlights lawyers and law firms for outstanding pro bono activities.
A graduate of Washington University School of Law, Goldstein practiced for six years in the City of St. Louis Public Defender’s Office before starting a private practice, Moran & Goldstein, nearly 25 years ago. He also serves as a municipal judge for Ferguson. He routinely lectures to law firms, bar associations, and pro se litigants on Missouri’s expungement laws, and he has accepted several pro bono expungement cases.
“Having successfully represented hundreds of individuals over the course of my career, I have been able to help people from all walks of life to restore their good names and start fresh,” he said. “Nothing gives me more pleasure in the profession than having someone come back years later to tell me how I made a difference in his or her life.”
Hodges is associate general counsel and data privacy officer with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law and has been on The Missouri Bar’s Pro Bono Wall of Fame for three consecutive years, which recognizes lawyers who perform more than 40 hours of pro bono annually.
“This award reminds me to appreciate the fact that some of our state's most vulnerable people trusted me with their lives and their issues at stake and that, without their trust, I would not have been acknowledged for this award,” Hodges said. “Unfortunately, people of a lower socioeconomic status are oftentimes taken advantage of and are not aware of their remedies or what the proper legal course of action should be. We have a moral obligation to help those who cannot help themselves.”
Miller is a litigator with Lathrop GPM and has tried jury and non-jury trials in Missouri and Kansas state and federal courts. As an Army veteran, Miller has provided pro bono services to veterans for several years. He now works with Legal Aid of Western Missouri to provide pro bono services to help improve local neighborhoods by eliminating blighted properties as part of Kansas City’s “Adopt-a-Neighborhood” project.
“I am very fortunate to be at a place in my career where I have an opportunity to give back a little and devote substantial efforts to pro bono work. My pro bono work has been a very rewarding experience,” he said.
Mynarich is a partner with Cantin Mynarich, LLC, and a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel, representing indigent defendants. She also sits on The Missouri Bar Board of Governors, serves as vice chair of the state bar’s Lawyers Living Well Special Committee, and is the president-elect of the Southern Missouri Women Lawyers bar association.
“Many clients write or call me from prison to let me know how they are doing, and I love getting those updates,” she said. “Also, most of my clients know that I am a runner. Many of them take up running in prison and they proudly call to tell me how many miles they can now run. These personal connections drive my passion for the law.”
Since 1980, Perkins has practiced law in Jefferson City, working for the state and in private practice. While she considers herself mostly retired, she occasionally handles civil cases from the Samaritan Center or for other individuals who cannot afford a lawyer.
“Pro bono work of all attorneys stems from a desire to do good and to improve at least our little corner of the world through improving the lives of our clients,” she said. “I also find it immensely rewarding personally to be able to provide a service to people that they would not have access to otherwise in an effort to improve their lives and or at least their present circumstances.”
The award recipients advised new and young lawyers to be well-rounded individuals and understand that they have a talent that could help many state residents.
“Recognize that you have expertise that very few people have and that it can be of huge benefit to others and to our society,” Perkins said. “Avail yourself of opportunities with which you are presented to provide legal assistance in areas of your expertise to those who you know cannot afford standard legal fees.
For more information about The Missouri Bar’s awards, click here.