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MoveMakers & NewsMakers for April 11, 2023


See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."

St. Louis | Kansas City

St. Louis

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice announces the addition of two lawyers to the firm. Donna Delorme and William Kernell will be joining as of counsel and associate, respectively, in St. Louis. 

Delorme has more than 15 years of legal experience across a broad range of complex litigation, arbitration, mediation, and appellate law. She is admitted to practice in Missouri and Pennsylvania. Delorme earned her Juris Doctor from the Widener University School of Law. 

Kernell's practice is focused on commercial, personal injury, premises liability, and product liability matters in the automotive, recreational transportation, and trucking industries. He is admitted to practice in Missouri. Kernell earned his Juris Doctor from the Saint Louis University School of Law. 

Lewis Rice has named John C. Bodnar chair of their corporate department. He is also a member of the firm’s management committee. 

“John Bodnar is an outstanding lawyer, terrific mentor and is regularly recognized by his clients and the industry for excellent service,” said John Riffle, who made the announcement and has served as chair of the corporate department for the last 11 years. Bodnar and Riffle have worked closely together over the past several months to ensure a smooth transition. 

“John’s demonstrated leadership abilities and vision for growth make him a natural choice to step into the role as chair of our corporate department,” said Richard Walsh, chair of the firm. 

Bodnar joined Lewis Rice in 1996. He represents public companies, large private companies, and middle market private companies located across the country and in varied industries in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. 

Riffle will continue to serve on the firm’s management committee and remains an important member of the firm. “John Riffle’s commitment to excellence sets the standard for our world-class corporate practice at Lewis Rice,” said Walsh. “His steady leadership saw the firm through tremendous growth and prosperity. His client-centric approach to service continues to be the gold standard.”

Capes Sokol is pleased to welcome Danielle M. Durban back to the firm’s business and corporate transactions, entertainment and media, intellectual property, and real estate groups. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Dani back to Capes Sokol. Our colleagues and her clients all agree that she is a joy to work with and her positive energy is infectious,” said Sarah Luem, chair of the firm's business and real estate practice groups. “She is a brilliant lawyer who provides creative, but practical, advice to her clients. We feel very fortunate to have her back at Capes Sokol.” 

Durban began her professional journey at Capes Sokol in 2017 as a summer associate and continued working with the firm as a law clerk throughout her 3L year. In 2018, she graduated with her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law and joined Capes Sokol as an associate. Durban also serves as an adjunct professor at Washington University Olin Business School and has been a freelance graphic designer for over a decade. 

In 2021, Durban left the firm to pursue an in-house counsel role at an international advertising conglomerate. After over a year in such a role, she realized she missed the diversity of work and collaboration a firm of Capes Sokol’s size provides. 

“After learning that I would be rejoining Capes Sokol, a client texted me: ‘I hear you’re returning home.’ And that’s truly what it feels like,” said Durban regarding her return. “Being back at the firm where I started my career is not only exciting because of all the incredible people — attorneys and clients — I get to work with again, but also because of all the brilliant new attorneys and clients that have become part of the Capes Sokol family since I left. As Dorothy from Wizard of Oz so wisely realized: ‘There’s no place like home.’ And that’s precisely where I am now.” 

As a lawyer, Durban regards herself as a creative problem-solver. She gets excited about building solutions that are tailored to her client’s business, making sure that they get exactly what they need for their business to thrive. 

Having experience as a graphic artist and web designer, Durban knows how important it is to understand her client’s vision and translate it into reality. That’s why she takes the time to understand their business goals, mission, and values before offering any solutions. It’s not enough for her just to know how the law works; she wants to make sure it works for her client’s business, too. Durban has been able to apply this approach in both the legal world and the design world—and she loves seeing how happy clients are with their legal outcomes when they feel like they’ve gotten exactly what they need from their lawyer.

Kansas City

Evans & Dixon, LLC announces the addition of Marc N. Middleton. He joins the firm as a member in the civil litigation practice group, and he brings with him 16 years of experience as a trial attorney. Middleton's experience includes claims relating to personal injury, labor and employment disputes, construction defect, and workers' compensation.

Middleton earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and his B.A. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

McDowell Rice welcomes Debbie Moeller to the firm. 

Moeller has over 30 years of litigation experience in several practice areas including products liability, toxic tort, commercial litigation, and premises liability. She provides pre-litigation and other business counseling for her clients. Moeller clerked for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and does appellate work as well. Through her mass tort and MDL experience, she has resolved thousands of cases in mediation. 

Moeller earned her Juris Doctor from University of Kansas School of Law and is an undergraduate of Kansas State University. 

Thomas Whittaker was appointed by Gov. Mike Parson to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

Whittaker is executive vice president and chief legal officer for J.E. Dunn Construction Company. He has been with the company for more than 29 years. 

Whittaker has served as labor management council co-chair of the Greater Kansas City Board of Directors, is past president of the Associated General Contractors Kansas City Chapter, and serves on the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission Board of Directors. 

Whittaker earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his B.S. in construction science from Kansas State University.


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