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MoveMakers & NewsMakers March 6, 2019


Mar. 6, 2019 - See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."


Mar. 6, 2019 - See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."

St. Louis Area

Don Downing, vice president of the St. Louis plaintiff law firm Gray, Ritter & Graham PC, has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.Downing practices in the areas of class actions, mass torts and complex commercial litigation.Founded in 1950, the American College of Trial Lawyers is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only, and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.Lawyers must have a minimum of 15 years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship. Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province.

HeplerBroom is proud to announce that Gerard (Jerry) Noce has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Award of Honor presented by the Lawyers Association of St. Louis.

This award is given annually by the association to an outstanding trial lawyer selected from a small group of attorneys nominated by peers in recognition of honorable service to the legal profession and community. Noce will be recognized at a reception and dinner to be held at the St. Louis Marriott Grand Hotel on April 27.

Noce is a partner in the firm’s St. Louis office and focuses his practice on trials involving complex business litigation matters. He has been chosen as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is also a previous recipient of the Ben Ely Jr. Defense Lawyers Award of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers.

Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, PC is pleased to announce that firm officer David J. Simmons and lawyer Rachel M. Hirshberg have been selected to participate in 2019 programs with the national Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Simmons was chosen for the LCLD’s Fellows Program and Hirshberg joins the organization’s Pathfinder Program.

“We are very proud that David and Rachel have been selected to continue their growth as diversity leaders through participation in key Leadership Council on Legal Diversity programs,” said Christopher A. Pickett, chief diversity officer at Greensfelder.

The LCLD’s Fellows Program aims to identify, train and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession through a year-long, in-depth experience that provides opportunities for relationship-building and training. Currently in its fourth year, the organization’s Pathfinder Program assists early-career lawyers with critical career development strategies including leadership and building of professional networks.

A member of Greensfelder’s litigation practice group, Simmons frequently represents clients in franchise, trusts and estates and general civil and complex litigation, as well as antitrust, premises liability/personal injury, securities and class action matters. His clients include major financial and energy companies.

An associate in the firm’s business services practice group, Hirshberg assists businesses with a variety of corporate transactions. She also handles matters including tax controversies and advising on the tax aspects of mergers and acquisitions. In addition, her experience includes estate and gift tax planning.

United States Arbitration & Mediation (USA&M) has hired Kim L. Kirn as director. She will be responsible for expanding USA&M’s arbitration and mediation services, as well as managing training programs for lawyers, business personnel and arbitrators.

Kirn has served on USA&M’s mediator and senior arbitrator panels for over ten years. She previously worked as legal counsel for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, as well as practiced law in the St. Louis and Chicago regions.

Rob Litz, president of USA&M said he and the staff of USA&M are very excited about Kirn joining the company. “Kim is an attorney who has practiced from all sides—defense, plaintiff, in-house and as a mediator and arbitrator. She brings over 30 years of legal experience to USA&M. She also has a breadth of experience as a professional in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in many states across the Midwest. She has mediated for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission throughout Missouri and Illinois and is a frequent speaker on ADR topics around the country.”

“Kim will be a valued member of the USA&M team, which is dedicated to providing exceptional service in administering arbitration and mediation cases, as well as maintaining an outstanding and experienced panel of mediators and arbitrators,” added Litz.

Kirn stated, “I am thrilled to be joining Rob Litz, Mike Geigerman and the team they have put together at USA&M. They truly have the best, most experienced and effective group of ADR professionals in the Midwest. I look forward to working with these men and women and meeting with other leaders in the legal and business communities to assist them in resolving disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Kansas City Area

Scharnhorst Ast Kennard Griffin PC (SAKG) is pleased to welcome three experienced lawyers to the firm: Collin B. Altieri, Sean P. Hamer, and Craig M. Leff.

Altieri joins the firm from Polsinelli PC and will serve as partner in the firm’s health care litigation group. For nearly 20 years, he has defended hospital systems, physicians and other health care professionals in malpractice and death actions, contract disputes, and False Claims Act litigation. He brings with him an extensive background in representing individuals and corporations in business litigation, professional negligence, products liability and personal injury matters.

Hamer brings 20 years of civil defense experience to his role as partner in SAKG’s transportation practice group. He joins the firm from Yeretsky & Maher with a record of success in jury verdicts and pre-trial motion practice, and he regularly represents national transportation companies in cases involving personal injury, Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), grade crossing accidents, property damage, cumulative trauma exposure and other accident investigation and defense.

Leff will serve as partner in the firm’s commercial litigation group with continued focus in transportation and employment litigation. He joins the firm from Yeretsky & Maher and brings more than 25 years of experience in civil litigation, ranging from railroad defense and complex commercial litigation to products liability and employment law. He has accumulated an extensive working knowledge of the railroad industry through his defense of railroad clients in actions arising from workplace injuries and railroad crossing accidents. He has tried multiple cases to verdict, and his appellate experience enables him to continue representing his clients after judgment.

“We collaborate across practice areas and allow partners to expand their interests so they can practice the type of law they’re passionate about to better serve our clients,” said Scott Ast, shareholder with the firm. “We’re thrilled to have these three accomplished attorneys join our firm to continue our winning legacy. We look forward to their contributions to our commercial, health care and transportation practice groups.”

Sandberg Phoenix & Von Gontard PC welcomes Stacey Janssen to the firm. She joins the firm from Dysart Taylor.

Janssen brings more than 25 years of experience in elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, trust litigation, social security disability, patient’s rights, Medicaid, Medicare on behalf of families, senior citizens and special needs clients. She takes a consultative approach to her practice and makes a point of investing time in her clients, ensuring she has a complete knowledge of their unique circumstances, their immediate concerns and long-term goals.

Prior to going into legal practice, Janssen dedicated 11 years to Kansas Legal Services, where she served as a senior citizen law project coordinator and elder law hotline administrator. In these roles Janssen assisted senior citizens with a full range of legal matters, including Medicare, Medicaid, patient’s rights, estate planning and probate services. This direct, “hands on” experience has since proven invaluable to Stacey and her clients.

Swanson Midgley LLC and Slagle, Bernard & Gorman LLC merged on January 1 to become Swanson Bernard LLC. The newly unified practice leverages the strengths of two highly-respected Kansas-City based firms to offer an even greater scope, scale and depth of expertise to both new and longtime clients.

In 1886, Swanson Midgley was founded with a deep commitment to excellence and forward progress. In 1919, Slagle, Bernard & Gorman was born with a similar ambitious spirit. More than 130 years later, the unified firm of Swanson Bernard brings even greater bench strength, versatility and diversity of thought to market.

“In a constantly changing market, it’s important for firms to stay ahead of the curve and be agile while having the bench strength to address any opportunity,” said James Freeman, Swanson Bernard member. “This strategic decision to merge enables both firms to maintain core values while empowering us to meet clients’ goals and exceed expectations.”

“Our clients can be confident knowing they’ll be able to continue their preexisting relationships with their attorneys and staff while now gaining access to new attorneys and associates,” said Vince Gualtier, Swanson Bernard member. “As a unified firm, we look forward to being able to provide an even wider range of practice areas, disciplines and expertise.”

Other Areas

The St. Louis firm of HesseMartone welcomes Matt Simmons as head of the firm's new Atlanta office and special counsel to the firm. Simmons' primary practice area is employment and commercial litigation. He has significant experience as in-house counsel and in private practice.

Prior to joining HesseMartone, Simmons was the head of litigation and associate general counsel at one of the nation’s largest staffing companies. In this role, he managed the company’s entire litigation docket, primarily consisting of non-compete and trade secret litigation, breach of contract actions, federal and state wage and hour laws, and class actions. He also served as the company’s liaison to its human resources department and participated in the management of its day-to-day corporate functions. Prior to this corporate role, Simmons was in private practice, where he successfully tried or otherwise resolved dozens of cases in both federal and state courts across the nation.

Simmons received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. He is a member of the Georgia Bar and the American Bar Association, the Atlanta Bar, and the Atlanta Council for Younger Lawyers.

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