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Meet the 2020-2021 YLS Council Leadership

From coordinating volunteers and sponsoring civics education activities to producing informative publications for Missourians, the Young Lawyers’ Section Council works hard to enhance the professional growth of new and recently admitted lawyers. All Missouri lawyers aged 36 or less, or those who have been in practice five years or less, are automatically members of the section. 

Chair Lauren Collins 

Lauren Collins is a litigation attorney with the Automobile Club of Missouri in their in-house department, Kraft, Bischoff, Buckley and Collins. She defends insureds in personal injury cases. Collins, the first woman of color to serve as chair, has focused on service to the public and YLS members during her tenure. 

“As chair of YLS Council, my goal for the 2020-21 bar year was to focus on doing what we have always done - serving the community. However, like many other organizations, YLS has had to pivot and adjust in light of the coronavirus,” Collins said. “COVID-19 made serving difficult as we were faced with new rules of engagement with the public. With the world shutting down and the introduction of working from home, my focus quickly shifted to the well-being of all of the council members.” 

Collins said that the council has adapted the ways it serves its communities due to the pandemic and have accomplished a lot. 

“Despite having to engage only in a virtual space, council members have stepped up to ensure we continue to do the work of the YLS Council,” Collins said. “Each meeting, council members show up prepared and ready with ideas to work within our new normal. COVID-19 may have taken away our traditional ways to serve, but it certainly did not take away our willingness.” 

Chair- Elect Chris Dandurand 

Due to the unfortunate passing in December of Chair-elect JoEllen Engelbart, the YLS Council recently held an election to fill her position.  

“I have served on the YLS Council since 2015 and we are a tight knit group,” said Collins“The loss of JoEllen really rocked our world.” 

Chris Dandurand was elected chair-elect at the council’s meeting last month. Dandurand is partner at The Gorny Law Firm in Kansas City where he represents injured people and their families in personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. 

He too reflected on the contributions of his predecessor. 

JoEllen was a talented attorney with a big heart and a dedication to the betterment of new and aspiring attorneys. When JoEllen passed away, the YLS Executive Committee lost an invaluable member, Dandurand said. 

Dandurand said being chosen to serve in Engelbart’s stead as chair-elect is an honor and something he does not take lightly. 

Every YLS member who had the opportunity to work with JoEllen knew she had an unmatched supply of energy and ingenuity,” he said. I hope to honor her memory by continuing to focus on inspiring the newest members of The Missouri Bar to pursue service with the YLS Council. 

SecretaryTreasurer Elizabeth Kiesewetter Fax 

Elizabeth Kiesewetter Fax serves as secretary and treasurer for the council. 

“I hope to not only continue the section’s legacy of prioritizing public service, but also work to engage more young lawyers with The Missouri Bar.”  

Fax is an assistant prosecuting attorney in Greene County and has worked there since August of 2015. She works in the persons unit and prosecutes crimes of sexual assault, child sexual and physical abuse, child endangerment, and domestic assault.  

The current restrictions of COVID-19 notwithstandingYLS sponsors and carries out a variety of public service projects, CLE programs, and social networking events across Missouri geared toward supporting recently admitted lawyers. For more information on YLS activities or resources, click here.