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MoveMakers & NewsMakers for May 11, 2021


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

St. Louis | Kansas City

St. Louis

Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, PC is pleased to announce that Dee Harleston has joined the firm as an associate in the business services and health care practice groups.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dee to our firm in St. Louis,” said Greensfelder President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin T. McLaughlin. “Dee has valuable industry experience and insights that will help our health care provider clients manage their complex legal and administrative challenges.”

Harleston assists organizations, including hospital systems and other health care providers, with corporate and regulatory matters. His practice includes ensuring compliance with federal and state laws, drafting and reviewing agreements, and all aspects of health care transactions.

Previously, Harleston worked in-house at several large health care systems. His experience also includes public relations work for business, government and health care clients, as well as roles in state and congressional politics, including work on Medicaid expansion and telehealth issues.

In 2018, Harleston was the first participant in Greensfelder’s Diversity Fellowship program for first-year law students who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity. 

Harleston received his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law. He also holds a Master of Public Health degree from Saint Louis University and a B.S. from Belmont University.

St. Louis-based team IdeaFlight took home two of the three top awards at the Global Legal Hackathon (GLH) this month. GLH is a global competition in which teams of coders and legal professionals from over 40 different cities across the world set out to solve legal problems using technology. Missouri Bar member Brooke Bishop is president of the organization.

The team initially formed to compete in the St. Louis regional branch of the competition. Together, the IdeaFlight team developed the idea of a web-based platform to connect underrepresented entrepreneurs to a variety of resources: legal services, financial advice, mentorship, investment opportunities, and more. The team is comprised of five law students, one software developer, and two graphic designers rallying around a shared desire to even the playing field for diverse entrepreneurs. Gathering support around this mission, IdeaFlight has developed relationships with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Venture Cafe, and Welcome Neighbor to work together to solve the unique problems faced by underrepresented entrepreneurs. 

“Most of the team members did not know each other prior to the first weekend of GLH,” said Brooke Bishop. “However, we quickly formed a bond over the common goal to impact change in adversities diverse entrepreneurs face.”  

After winning the St. Louis regional round of the competition, the team advanced through the semifinal round with a video submission before ultimately competing in the virtual finals. With Bishop presenting on behalf of IdeaFlight in the finals, the organization took home two top awards. IdeaFlight won both the Inclusivity Challenge, awarded to the solution which best champions the goal of increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the legal industry; as well as the Access to Justice Challenge, awarded to the solution which best serves to expand access to legal aid for those who have historically lacked it. The IdeaFlight team has been invited to London in September to present IdeaFlight to the GLH 2021 competitors and network with potential investors and partners.   

Although IdeaFlight may have begun as a submission for the Global Legal Hackathon, the team is committed to working towards a real-life solution that will help connect diverse entrepreneurs with the resources needed to succeed. The group is currently in the process of starting a non-profit organization to expand the solution and recruit users.  

IdeaFlight is a 501c(3) organization that was created during the 2020 Global Legal Hackathon by a team of local law students and software developers. IdeaFlight aims to level a historically uneven playing field in the venture capital funding sector by providing an online platform to connect underrepresented entrepreneurs with legal aid, business advice, mentorship, and funding opportunities.

Affinity Law Group, a leading St. Louis-based boutique business, estate planning and employment law firm, recently announced that Valerie “Missy” Shands Manning joined the firm as principal where she will focus on estate planning, elder law, and trust and probate administration.

Prior to joining the firm, Manning was a senior attorney with TuckerAllen and an associate with Miller & Roberts, LLC.

“We are thrilled to have Missy join Affinity Law Group. She brings strong legal experiences and business acumen to the firm,” said Kathleen Bilderback, J.D., LL.M., and founding member of the firm.

Manning earned a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Missouri School of Law - Columbia and a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Manning serves on the board of the Kirkwood – Des Peres Chamber of Commerce and is a member and past president of the Gateway Young Professionals Group and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Group. She is a member of the Kirkwood Rotary Club and currently serves as the Sergeant of Arms.

Manning and her standard poodle Tort are a certified Therapy Dog Team through CHAMP Assistance Dogs. They participate in regular visits to the Kirkwood Public Library and to various local schools and organizations as part of the education program.

Constangy, Brooks, Smith and Prophete, LLP is pleased to welcome new partner Dean Kpere-Daibo to the firm’s St. Louis office.

Kpere-Daibo comes to Constangy from the local firm of McMahon Berger PC. He brings particular experience in traditional labor relations, including providing advice to employers during organizing efforts, counseling in arbitrations and negotiations, and representing clients before the National Labor Relations Board. Kpere-Daibo was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Professionals in St. Louis by Delux magazine in 2017. He serves on the boards of local organizations including Epworth Children & Family Services and Safe Connections.

“I am extremely excited to join the Constangy family and assist in expanding our presence in the Midwest,” said Kpere-Daibo. “I look forward to being a part of this talented team of lawyers who use their diversity as their strength to provide exceptional legal services to clients, and who are thought leaders nationally in the legal industry.”

Tamar Hodges has joined Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals as associate general counsel. She was formerly an associate with Husch Blackwell.

Hodges is a healthcare lawyer and registered nurse with a 360-degree view of healthcare regulation. In addition to complex healthcare regulatory matters, her experience includes nursing on medical-surgical and intensive care units at Level 1 trauma centers, coordinating risk management for a pediatric academic medical center, and serving on hospital ethics committees. 

Hodges serves as a diversity seat representative for the Eastern Appellate District on the Young Lawyers' Section Council of The Missouri Bar. She was a 2019-2020 member of The Missouri Bar's Leadership Academy.

Hodges earned her J.D. from the University of Missouri - Columbia School of Law. She earned her B.S. in nursing at the University of Missouri - Saint Louis.

The Shriver Center on Poverty Law recently announced 47 Fellows, including Legal Services of Eastern Missouri lawyers Katherine Holley and Amanda Schneider, and staff member Earlene Bolton. They have been selected to take part in its 2021 Racial Justice Institute (RJI), a leadership program that equips and coordinates anti-poverty advocates to affirmatively advance racial equity.

“The past year has laid bare systemic inequities that many members of our community face daily,” said Dan Glazier, LSEM Executive Director and General Counsel.  “We are gratified that Earlene, Katherine and Amanda have all been selected for this incredible opportunity to bolster our advocacy with the core principles of race equity.”

This year’s RJI Fellows include a diverse group of public interest lawyers, legal aid attorneys, community advocates, executive leaders, and even a judge. They come from 16 organizations advancing justice in 10 states, including 11 organizations new to the RJI.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, combined with the racial reckoning during the past year, have exposed racial disparities experienced daily in the communities that anti-poverty advocates serve,” said Kimberly Merchant, director of the Racial Justice Institute and Network. “The Racial Justice Institute equips these advocates to take a strategic, direct approach to eliminating racial disparities, dismantling barriers to opportunity, and strengthening communities of color.”

A staff attorney in Legal Services’ public benefits program, Katherine Holley has developed important community partnerships while conducting food stamp outreach.  Amanda Schneider manages the Health Justice Initiative/Education Justice Project, which works to address the root causes of inequities in health and education, and doing community outreach with a racial equity lens. Earlene Bolton is the outreach coordinator for the Connecting Kids to Coverage program, and sje has expertise in Medicaid outreach and enrollment.

Together, Holley, Schneider and Bolton, with the support of the RJI program, hope to advance health equity in Missouri by increasing the enrollment of Black men—a group with historically low rates of health coverage—in Missouri’s Medicaid program.

Kansas City

Kutak Rock is pleased to announce Larry D. Fields has been elected managing partner of the firm’s Kansas City regional office effective Apr. 1. Fields oversees a region that includes the firm’s offices in Kansas City, Springfield and Wichita, Kansas. He succeeds Eric Johnson, who has served in the position since 2017.

Jay Selanders, chair of Kutak Rock, comments, “Larry Fields is a proven leader and is respected across the firm for his intellect, strategic vision and sense of fairness. He represents who we are as practitioners and as a firm. With his commitment to developing our people, providing exceptional service to our clients and making a difference in the community, I am confident he will be highly successful in his new role.”

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve the Kansas City regional office as managing partner and grateful for the trust my colleagues have placed in me,” remarked Fields. “Over the last 30 years I have honed my skills as an advocate, and I look forward to supporting the careers and goals of our lawyers and staff in Kansas City, Springfield and Wichita. I also embrace the challenges of helping Kutak Rock continue its mission of fostering a diverse workforce of engaged professionals who provide exceptional value and service to our clients.”

Fields joined Kutak Rock in 2005. His primary area of practice is litigating insurance coverage disputes and bad faith claims. He also educates and counsels some of the nation’s largest insurance companies in methods and practices to help them avoid being sued for bad faith or set-up for coverage. Fields has tried more than 35 jury trials to conclusion< and he is is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the American College of Coverage Counsel, both prestigious, invite-only organizations.

Fields earned a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

Dysart Taylor Cotter McMonigle & Brumitt, PC is pleased to announce that it has named Anne Lindner Saghir as Of Counsel after three years at the firm.

“Anne is such a tremendous asset to our team and we’re thrilled to recognize her in this way,” said Amanda Pennington Ketchum, managing partner of the firm. “During her time at Dysart Taylor, she has demonstrated an impressive drive and commitment to our clients and our firm.”

Saghir focuses on personal injury litigation and insurance matters, guiding businesses through all aspects of litigation and dispute resolution. Clients routinely turn to her for help at trial and during appeals. Her experience includes jury trials and appellate arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Prior to joining the firm, Saghir worked for well-respected firms in St. Louis, Missouri; Tampa, Florida; and Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her J.D. from the Saint Louis University School of Law and her undergraduate degrees in journalism and political science from Northwestern University.

Graves Garrett LLC is pleased to announce the addition of associate Chandler Carr to the firm. His practice includes a focus on general business and commercial litigation.

Prior to joining the firm, Carr gained valuable experience in insurance coverage litigation in courts across the country, representing corporate and individual policyholders in a wide range of industries and involving all types of coverage. This included litigating bad faith claims.

Carr also has litigated ERISA matters and employee benefit disputes, in addition to advising public and private hospitals, physician groups, home health organizations and other healthcare entities on corporate, transactional and regulatory issues. Specifically, he has counseled clients on a variety of complex healthcare issues, including fraud and abuse laws and labor and employment matters. He also has proven experience in contract drafting and negotiation.

“Graves Garrett continues to seek ways to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said Todd Graves, partner at Graves Garrett. “Chandler’s variety and breadth of experience not only gives us a valuable asset to meet current demand but also provides us with an opportunity to grow in the future, especially as the firm continues to seek opportunities to grow our work in healthcare.”

Carr completed his undergraduate studies at Calvin University and has completed one year toward his Master of Divinity degree. He obtained his J.D. from the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University, where he participated in the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth in the Bluhm Legal Clinic. 


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