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MoveMakers & NewsMakers April 4, 2019


Apr. 4, 2019 - See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."


Apr. 4, 2019 - See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."

St. Louis Area

Anne Brockland recently joined the adjunct faculty at Saint Louis University School of Law, where she co-teaches Competition Based Advocacy. She is honored to serve her alma mater and give back to the local law community. In February, SLU Law sent two teams to the National Trial Competition regional in Indianapolis, where both teams advanced to the semi-finals. In early April, Brockland will travel with a third SLU Law team to Kansas City for the Show Me Challenge – a national jury selection tournament. Anne Brockland is a partner with Casey, Devoti & Brockland, a St. Louis-based firm focused exclusively on personal injury litigation.

Mary E. Nelson and Mark C. Darrell were honored on Mar. 8 at the annual Mound City Bar Association Legal Legends Reception. Each year the association honors African American attorneys who have devoted more than 30 years to the highest standards of the practice of law and exemplary service to the community, and Nelson and Darrell were selected for 2019 recognition.

Nelson currently serves as general counsel and chief legal officer at St. Louis Community College, the largest community college district in Missouri. Nelson led the City of St. Louis' Office of Minority and Small Business Development; served as general counsel of St. Louis Development Corporation; was general counsel and legislative director to Speaker of the House Steve Gaw, and served as Governor Jay Nixon’s Director of Boards and Commissions. Nelson’s career includes a number of notable "firsts:" first African American elected to partnership at Lashley & Baer; first African American woman officer in the corporation and business department at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale; first African American woman appointed to Missouri's Administrative Hearing Commission; and the first African-American woman to serve on the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. She has played a critical role in the appointment of minorities and women to the bench, and she worked to increase the diversity of governor-appointed boards and commissions.

Active in civic affairs, Nelson served as president of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners; on the Missouri House of Representatives Reapportionment and Redistricting Commission; on the board of trustees of the University of Missouri Law School Foundation; and on the board of curators of the University of Missouri System. Nelson is a past president of the Mound City Bar Association, and she currently serves on the board of directors of the St. Louis Art Museum and the Nine Network of Public Media. She holds an A.B. in political philosophy from Princeton University (1977) and a J.D. from University of Missouri School of Law (1981).

Darrell is senior vice president, chief legal and compliance officer of Spire Inc. and also chairs Spire's charitable foundation. Darrell has distinguished himself as one of the leading energy lawyers in the country. He has been recognized as one of the "Nation’s Most Influential Minority Attorneys" on the Lawyer of Color's Power List and a "Diverse Business Leader" by the St. Louis Business Journal. He is chair of the ABA's Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section, past chair of the American Gas Association’s Legal Committee, a member of the Energy Bar Association, and serves on the advisory board of the Corporate Counsel Institute at Georgetown Law. He also serves on the boards of Webster University, Mercy Hospital Saint Louis, Hospital Saint Louis, United Way of Greater Saint Louis, FOCUS St. Louis, Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. He holds a B.A. in political science from Syracuse University (1979) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

The awards reception was sponsored by the Dowd Bennett LLP law firm. Sheena Hamilton with the firm served as chair of the planning committee, and Polsinelli shareholder Elton Dean served as chair of the awardee selection committee.

Past Legal Legends awardees include, among others, Keith Williamson, Judge Jimmie Edwards and Frankie Muse Freeman.

Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP is very pleased to announce that on Mar. 24 the board of regents of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel ("ACTEC") elected John M. Challis as a Fellow. Challis is a partner in the new St. Louis office of the firm and concentrates his practice in estate and trust litigation and administration.

Mid-Missouri Area

Helping individuals with disabilities and their families plan for their financial futures, Midwest Special Needs Trust (MSNT) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. A nonprofit organization, MSNT provides unique support for families, particularly moderate and low-income, by administering special needs trusts for people with disabilities and protecting important public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

Based in Columbia and establishing trusts in nine states, MSNT assists families in gaining peace of mind when seeking financial planning for themselves and their loved ones with disabilities.

"For 30 years, Midwest Special Needs Trust has provided a vehicle for families to protect their loved ones' futures," says Kathy Birkes, MSNT executive director. "It’s a milestone we’re excited to celebrate, and it’s a great opportunity to thank those who have worked so hard with us to ensure this much-needed service remains available."

Born from the efforts of Jerry Zafft to provide financial security for his son and others with disabilities, MSNT was established in 1989 by action of the Missouri legislature and later incorporated as a nonprofit pooled trust.

According to the United States Census Bureau, one in five people in the U.S. has a disability, and half of all working-age American adults experiencing poverty have a disability.

"Many banking institutions won’t open a trust for less than $250,000, some even $500,000, but MSNT will open a trust for as little as $1,000," Birkes adds. "Without a resource like MSNT, many moderate and low-income families would be left without options for establishing a trust to care for family members who need it."

Despite the ebb and flow of the market, MSNT has experienced consistent, steady growth, averaging 9 percent over the past 13 years. MSNT opens trusts for individuals with disabilities who live in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa (third-party trusts only) and will continue to administer the trust wherever the life beneficiary may reside.

In honor of the 30th anniversary milestone, MSNT will hold a special celebration for friends and supporters on Aug. 1 at the MSNT offices in Columbia.

Submit your news and moves here.