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Horneyer, Force, McCarther recognized as exemplary trial lawyers

Jordan Force, Brian Horneyer, and Jeffrey Q. McCarther received The Missouri Bar Foundation’s Lon O. Hocker Award for their exemplary qualities as trial lawyers. 

The Missouri Bar Foundation gives the Lon O. Hocker Award to three lawyers under the age of 40 who exemplify the qualities of a trial lawyer, including showing professionalism, high ethical conduct, and quick wittedness in the courtroom. The lawyers come from three areas of the state – St. Louis, Kansas City, and all other remaining counties. Established in 1954, the award is named after Lon O. Hocker, a lawyer who practiced in St. Louis for more than 50 years and was a well-respected trial lawyer. 

Force graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law and now serves as Shelby County’s sole prosecuting attorney, as well as the juvenile office attorney for the 41st Circuit Court. She also owns her solo private practice, Force Law. Force said she is “completely honored” to receive the Lon O. Hocker Award and sees it as an “energizer” to continue helping her clients and community. 

“There is no better feeling than hearing the jury finds the abuser guilty and then communicating to the victim that he/she was enough; the testimony was enough; the victim was believed,” Force said. “Years after those trials, I remain in contact with some of the victims, and it is so gratifying to see them overcome their past and grow into healthy and happy adults.”  

Horneyer graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law and works as a public defender with the City of St. Louis Trial Office, where he has tried, as first chair, 45 jury trials. Horneyer said he is driven by the excitement and challenges of trial work, as well as the ability to represent “the indigent against the might of the entire criminal justice system.” 

“Being recognized by The Missouri Bar Foundation for representing the indigent is a tremendous honor,” he said. “It can feel at times like a public defender's work can go unnoticed. Receiving an award such as this reminds me how important it truly is.” 

McCarther graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law and is an assistant U.S. attorney in the Violent Crime & Drug Trafficking Unit with the U.S. Attorney’s Office-Western District of Missouri, where he primarily focuses on violent crimes, firearms violations, and violations of the Controlled Substance Act. In this role, he has prosecuted more than 200 criminal cases and litigated more than 20 felony trials to verdict. McCarther said receiving the Lon O. Hocker Award was a “personal aspiration” and he is honored to continue serving his community. 

“Like many others in public service, I am driven by the continuing effort to try and make a positive difference in my community,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in being from Missouri and, in particular, from Kansas City. If, at the end of my career, I have helped in some way to make Kansas City a better place for people to live and raise their families, I'll be satisfied with that.” 

The three award winners suggested lawyers continue to stretch their comfort zones and not forget why they entered the profession to begin with. 

“Remember the awesome power that a law degree holds,” Horneyer said. “Few in society have the ability to change and help people’s lives like those who hold law degrees.” 

Force, Horneyer, and McCarther join the list of notable past recipients of the award. To receive the award, which carries a $750 stipend, a lawyer must first be nominated by a member of The Missouri Bar. Nominees then complete applications, which are reviewed by a selection committee which recommends three nominees to the Trustees of the Missouri Bar Foundation. The trustees then select the award recipients.  

Click here to learn more about annual awards presented by The Missouri Bar and the Missouri Bar Foundation.