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MoveMakers & NewsMakers April 25, 2019


Apr. 25, 2019 - See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."


Apr. 25, 2019 - See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."

St. Louis | Kansas City | Springfield | Elsewhere in Missouri | Other States

St. Louis Area

Liz Heller, a partner at the Edwardsville firm of Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, PC, broke the Union Cycliste International (UCI) world record for women over 50 at the velodrome in Aguascalientes, Mexico. In the individual two-kilometer pursuit, she posted a time of 2 minutes and 34 seconds; in the one-hour, she also broke the record with a total distance of 42 kilometers and 118 meters. The hour record is one of the most prestigious records in cycling with roots dating back to 1893. Heller was one of nine Americans, mostly from California, who competed in the event held Apr. 6-7.

Heller, whose successful legal practice includes real estate, business and commercial, class action and employment law, is a serial medalist. She holds over 18 USA Cycling Masters National Championship titles and is a 12-time UCI Masters World Track Champion (2014-2018). She has raced competitively all across the nation and was on a pro team for a short time. Her background also includes having trained full-time in the late 1980s for a place on the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team.

Gray, Ritter & Graham, PC Chairman Robert Ritter has been named a recipient of a 2019 Missouri Lawyers Weekly ICON Award. The ICON Awards recognize distinguished men and women over the age of 60 for their notable sustained success and strong leadership within and outside the field of law.

Ritter's leadership positions include serving as president of The Lawyers Association of St. Louis; on the board of governors of The Missouri Bar and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys; and as a board member of the Missouri Institute for Justice, the National Judicial College, and the Center for Perinatal Medicine and Law at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine. He is an honorary founder of Saint Louis University and is a member of the dean's advisory council of the Saint Louis University School of Law.

Ritter is the 2003 recipient of The Lawyers Association of St. Louis Award of Honor. His numerous other professional awards include the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Award of Achievement and the Award of Merit, and The National Conference of Metropolitan Courts Award of Merit. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, and a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Ritter will receive the ICON Award at a luncheon May 31 at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

David Corwin announces the opening of Corwin Law Group LLC. After 15 years practicing law with the late Richard P. Sher, Corwin has formed a new firm to continue his plaintiff's personal injury and commercial litigation practice. CLG's office is located at 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., Suite 1490, St. Louis, MO 63117.

The Missouri State Public Defender System announces the following personnel actions:

Mark Timmerman and Erika Sams have joined the Clayton office, and Steven Kratky has joined the St. Louis appellate/post-conviction relief "B" office.

Travis Martin has joined the St. Louis City office. He was formerly with the Clayton office.

Kansas City Area

Husch Blackwell is pleased to announce that Crystal Howard has joined the firm's Kansas City office as a partner in its tax practice group and its financial services and capital markets industry team. Howard advises a variety of business types on all aspects of federal income taxation and at all stages of the business life cycle, including formations, reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, and dissolutions. She develops tax approaches and solutions for businesses and individuals and in representing clients embroiled in tax controversies before the IRS and state tax authorities. She also counsels tax-exempt organizations in connection with qualification for exempt status, state tax exemption matters, and with general legal and governance concerns."We are thrilled to have Crystal join the Husch Blackwell tax team," said Joseph Pickart, head of Husch Blackwell's tax practice. "Substantively, she is an excellent lawyer with a wide-ranging knowledge of tax law, and just as important to us, she shares our client-focused, practical approach to the law. Crystal's arrival definitely enhances our tax team's ability to advise clients on just about any federal or state tax issue that is of importance in today's ever-changing business environment."Howard received her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, and her Master of Laws in taxation from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, where she served as a case note and review editor for The Urban Lawyer and was a member of the UMKC Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree from William Jewell College.

Polsinelli is pleased to announce it has earned a perfect score on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), recently released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. The Corporate Equality Index rates workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality.

Polsinelli is among the 572 businesses in 2019 that earned a 100 percent rating and the designation of being a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality."

"I am extremely proud of our firm's perfect score on this year's Corporate Equality Index rating," said Polsinelli chairman and CEO Chase Simmons. "It demonstrates our prioritization, pursuit and promotion of diversity and inclusion as a core value of our firm."

The Corporate Equality Index's rating criteria is based on three key pillars: non-discrimination policies across business entities; equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families; and supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility. Polsinelli's 100 percent score demonstrates the firm's commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, including: ensuring full spousal and partner health care coverage parity; affirming coverage for transition-related care; and eliminating all so-called "transgender exclusions" from plans.

"We firmly believe that diversity is critical to providing unique and creative solutions for our clients' greatest challenges," said Shareholder Dan Cranshaw, who serves as chair of the firm's diversity and inclusion committee. "Through our deliberate and conscious efforts, Polsinelli's policies and procedures ensure that our company is diverse and inclusive of all of our employees."

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Polsinelli, used to inform, enlighten and shape strategy and actions that define the firm's business. Polsinelli defines diversity to include people from various ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and socio-economic backgrounds. The firm defines inclusion as the comprehensive, coordinated and complete integration of all persons across the various sectors of its business enterprise as contributors, leaders and agents of change.

"The 100 percent rating is something that our entire firm can embrace and be proud of as we continue to expand Polsinelli's already-diverse workplace and culture," said Shareholder Spencer Wood, who serves as chair of Polsinelli's LGBTQ resource group. "We are excited to earn a perfect score on the CEI 2019 scorecard, and look forward to continuing our momentum in the years to come." The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Springfield Area

Kristie Pierce, Samuel Reed, Jacob Bedsaul and Michael Stanfield have joined the Springfield office of the Missouri State Public Defender (MSPD). Stanfield was formerly with the MSPD Commitment Defense Unit.

Elsewhere in Missouri

The Missouri State Public Defender System announces the following personnel actions:

Gina Savoie has been promoted to district defender in the Hillsboro office. She formerly served as assistant public defender in the St. Louis City office.

Susan Rinne has joined the Maryville office. She formerly served as district defender in the St. Joseph office.

John Grobmyer has been promoted to district defender in the Portageville office. He formerly served as assistant public defender in the same office.

Stacy Patterson has been promoted to district defender in the Lebanon office. She formerly served as assistant public defender in the same office.

The following lawyers have joined these trial offices:John Lutman (Bolivar)Sheena Hart (Kennett)Zachary Armfield (Rolla)Kennae Grigsby (St. Joseph)Thomas Flack (West Plains)

Other States

Shook, Hardy & Bacon has announced that John Lewis, Jr. joined the firm as partner in the Houston office as of Jan. 28.

Lewis is a former chief litigation counsel for The Coca-Cola Company and was most recently in private practice in Atlanta. He brings more than 25 years of litigation experience to Houston's business litigation group.

"Shook prides itself on the long-term relationships we build with our clients," stated Shook Chair Madeleine McDonough. "John understands the importance of the partnership necessary between in-house and outside counsel to achieve the best possible outcome. His impeccable trial credentials will bring additional depth to Shook's national roster of commercial litigators."

Lewis will focus his practice on product liability, patent and intellectual property, and pharmaceutical and medical device matters. He has extensive experience in internal and government investigations, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations, corporate compliance, business litigation, class action and complex litigation, bankruptcy and creditors' rights, receiverships and workplace fairness and inclusion consulting.

"John's background complements our team of commercial litigators who are willing to try the most contentious cases," said Michael Cargnel, partner and co-chair of the firm's business litigation practice. "He also has some familiarity with the firm and our attorneys, having gained his trial experience as a younger lawyer in Kansas City."

Lewis was managing counsel for The Coca-Cola Company in its global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, for 13 years, and was head of litigation for five of those years. In this role, he defended company directors in shareholder derivative cases and advised senior management on all aspects of legal-risk management strategy. In addition, he led the single largest potential litigation exposure in the history of the company: a putative securities class action lawsuit that touched four continents.

He led internal and governmental investigations into some of the earliest Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower claims. Lewis was tapped to serve as Coca-Cola's first global anti-bribery counsel responsible for the company's compliance with FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and similar anti-corruption laws worldwide. He led in-person training, audits and investigations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, including compliance-related due diligence in international M&A transactions.

As Coca-Cola's global chief diversity officer, Lewis had board-level accountability for all aspects of workplace fairness, including responses to EEOC charges and OFCCP inquiries, as well as related media and reputational concerns. John served as the voice and face of diversity and inclusion at Coca-Cola, interacting with external constituents, community leaders, insurance carriers, institutional investors and the landscape of workplace, marketplace, customers and partners.

Because of the breadth and depth of his experience, Lewis brings a unique perspective to confidential litigation assessments, corporate diversity compliance reviews, internal legal vulnerability assessments, and helping clients develop best-practice benchmarking.

"I think my differentiator is my depth of experience in the C-suite, where I have advised business leaders, as well as my time in the courtroom overseeing high-stakes litigation," Lewis said. "It is rewarding to come full circle to a premiere trial firm like Shook with its high caliber of clients. I look forward to serving companies across the country from my hometown, Houston."

Lewis will continue to serve as a bankruptcy trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. He plans to remain active in the Atlanta community, where he serves as an advisory board member for both the National Commerce Corporation and the Anti-Defamation League (Southeast Region), and as a trustee for the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

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