11:21 AM

MoveMakers & NewsMakers for Dec. 9, 2020


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

St. Louis

Gray, Ritter & Graham, PC lawyer Don Downing has been named a 2020 recipient of the Excellence in Agricultural Law Award from the American Agricultural Law Association. The AALA Awards Committee selected Downing for his outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the agricultural community.

A native of Kennett, Downing has represented farmers in Missouri and throughout the country in numerous cases. Earlier this year, he led negotiations of a $400 million settlement agreement on behalf of farmers in several states. In 2018, he and other co-lead counsel finalized a $1.51 billion settlement, believed to be the largest agriculture litigation settlement in U.S. history.

The mission of the Topeka-based AALA is informing and engaging the law and policy professionals who serve all facets of the agricultural and food communities.


Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, PC, is pleased to announce that Christopher Pickett, member of the board of directors and chief diversity officer at the firm, has been named one of Missouri Lawyers Media’s 2021 “Law Firm Leaders” in its annual Missouri Lawyers Awards.

The “Law Firm Leaders” category recognizes chairpersons, managing partners or other law firm executives who demonstrated extraordinary vision, innovation and leadership during the previous year. Missouri Lawyers Awards winners across multiple categories will be honored in a virtual ceremony on Feb. 11 and will be profiled in a special section of Missouri Lawyers Weekly

“We congratulate Chris on receiving a Missouri Lawyers Award in recognition of his longstanding commitment to and work promoting diversity and inclusion at Greensfelder, as well as in the larger legal industry and business community,” said Greensfelder President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin McLaughlin.

As chief diversity officer, Pickett leads Greensfelder’s efforts to foster an equitable and inclusive workplace, overseeing the firm’s diversity initiatives. He also is a frequent presenter to businesses, bar groups and other organizations on topics related to equity and inclusion, including dismantling assimilation and increasing diversity in the legal profession. As leader of Greensfelder’s Equity, Retention and Advancement Committee, Pickett focuses on growing, retaining and advancing a diverse group of employees, with a particular focus on groups that have been historically underrepresented in law firms. In 2013, Pickett was named a fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, participating in a national leadership program for high-performing attorneys with diverse backgrounds.

Pickett has received numerous other awards for his work on diversity issues and in business law, including: 

  • Diversity & Inclusion Award from Missouri Lawyers Media (2018);
  • Named one of “100 St. Louisans you should know” by St. Louis Small Business Monthly (2017);
  • Excellence in Business Performance Award from the St. Louis American Foundation of the St. Louis American newspaper serving the region’s African-American community (2017); and
  • St. Louis Business Journal Diverse Business Leader Award (2016).

In his practice, Pickett represents clients from across the country in an array of business litigation matters, particularly in the areas of securities and higher education.

A former public defender, Pickett received his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and his B.A. from Saint Louis University.


Armstrong Teasdale announces the addition of associate Brandon Hall to its corporate services practice group in the St. Louis office.

Hall provides counsel to both established corporations and emerging companies on general corporate and governance matters, and mergers and acquisitions. His work with emerging companies and entrepreneurs includes helping them navigate formation, ownership, financing, employment contracting, fiduciary duties, intellectual property issues and compliance, most recently related to COVID-19. He also utilizes his background and experience handling complex ERISA and Internal Revenue Code compliance to effectuate the seamless transition of employee benefit plan compliance, often within the context of transactions. Further, Hall represents clients in the health care and life sciences space, including counseling health care systems, hospitals and physicians on both state and federal health policy.


Thompson Coburn partner Steve Gorin has been elected to the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) Estate Planning Hall of Fame®. He is also a recipient of the Accredited Estate Planner® (Distinguished) designation for 2020. This award was presented on Dec. 2 by NAEPC leadership during a special virtual election ceremony.

Gorin is one of only seven estate planning professionals to receive this prestigious award in 2020, which is given annually in recognition of lifetime achievement and outstanding contributions to the practice and profession of estate planning within the professional disciplines of accounting, insurance and financial planning, law, philanthropy, trust services and academia.

Gorin, a Washington University alumnus, is a practitioner in the areas of estate planning and the structuring of privately held businesses. Lawyers, accountants and business owners regularly look to him for fresh, highly knowledgeable insights into the best possible tax and estate planning approaches to their transactions. In addition to serving Thompson Coburn clients, he consults with lawyers and other estate planning professionals throughout the country to help them use advanced tools to help their clients.

Before practicing law, Gorin practiced accounting for eight years, was a partner in a CPA firm, and still maintains his CPA license and CGMA designation. 

Gorin is a past chair of the Business Planning Group of committees of the ABA's Real Property, Probate, Trust & Estate Law Section (RPTE), a past chair of the Business Law Section of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and a member of the Business Planning Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), including a current Regent of ACTEC, chair of its Employee Benefits Committee and past chair of the Business Planning Committee’s subcommittee on pass-through entities.

Gorin led ACTEC’s task force that made comments to the government on IRC §§ 199A (20% deduction for passthrough entities) and 643(f) (multiple trust rules) and led an earlier task force on material participation of trusts in pass-through businesses. He has led task forces for RPTE commenting on issues affecting business owners and made personal comments on the transfer for value and reportable policy sale rules that were reflected in final regulations.

NAEPC President John P. Garniewski, Jr., CPA/PFS, CFP®, AEP®, said “We are honored to elect Steve Gorin as a member of the Estate Planning Hall of Fame® Class of 2020.  Each member has excelled, not only in his or her own professional discipline, but is also recognized as an elite professional by other members of the estate planning community. In addition to Steve Gorin's own practice expertise, this honoree shares his knowledge with others nationally through writings and speaking engagements. We are grateful to him for the exemplary leadership exhibited throughout his career.”


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