11:23 AM

Springfield lawyer recognized for pro bono efforts

Chris Weiss is no stranger to pro bono work. His father, lawyer Charles, has a history of fighting for justice, and that work has inspired Weiss to do the same.

Over the last several years, Weiss, a partner with Husch Blackwell in Springfield, has counseled several local charities in his community and has additionally formed two charitable foundations, supporting both Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and the Springfield Art Museum. He also volunteers with Harmony House, a domestic violence shelter.

Still, Weiss maintains that his hardest and most meaningful work involves international parental kidnapping cases, also referred to as Hague Convention cases. To date, Weiss has handled three of them, helping a mother in Germany and two Honduran fathers reunite with their respective children.

“These cases can be quite complicated,” Weiss said. “International law and the laws of foreign countries are often involved. Language barriers usually exist. Immigration issues and costs of international travel make it difficult for clients to attend hearings and sometimes they cannot obtain Visas to travel to the U.S. to take custody of their children.

But, for Weiss, the myriad challenges are worth it.

“When you see the children reunited with their parents, left-behind families, and friends, and see pictures of the smiles on all of their faces, there is no question you have done the right thing,” said Weiss.

Weiss encourages other lawyers to take the time to get involved in pro bono work, noting, “There is no greater feeling and no greater reward than the sense of purpose you feel when you are able to use your knowledge of the law and skills as an attorney to help someone achieve justice when it matters most.”

Weiss was recently honored with a 2020 Pro Bono Publico Award. These Missouri Bar awards acknowledge lawyers, firms or organizations for outstanding pro bono activities.

Learn about the inspiring service of more Missouri lawyers on social media with #MOLawyersHelp and join the national week using #CelebrateProBono.