11:14 AM

The Missouri Bar welcomes new government relations counsel

Translation and humanization are two keys Deirdre “DK” Hirner is excited to bring to the table as The Missouri Bar’s new government relations counsel.  

With the 2021 legislative session starting next week, Hirner said she is eager to work with legislators and members of The Missouri Bar. Serving at The Missouri Bar combines Hirner’s two passions: legal work and the legislative process. Translating the law and legislation is one of her favorite aspects of the job. 

“There are people who don’t like the legislative process, (but) I love it and I enjoy being around it,” Hirner said.  “… You have to be able to explain in plain language what (a) bill does. That’s kind of what we do – we take it from lawyer speak to plain English.” 

She is also excited about opportunities to show legislators how legislation connects to the experiences and lives of Missourians.  

“We can bring some real stories to the table, and that’s what gets people’s attention,” Hirner said.  

Hirner started at The Missouri Bar Dec. 1, 2020, and joins The Missouri Bar’s general counsel, Eric Jennings, who has been with the government relations team since 2015. As government relations counsel, she works with The Missouri Bar committees to draft and propose bar-endorsed legislation designed to improve the law. During the legislative session, she reviews thousands of bills introduced in the Missouri General Assembly and helps identify bills of interest to lawyers. Information about these bills is available online through The Missouri Bar’s Legislative Engagement Center. Government relations staff also assist the Board of Governors and its Executive Committee in reviewing legislation arising outside the bar and communicating positions taken on behalf of The Missouri Bar on specific bills.  

Hirner is a member of the Missouri and Illinois bars and a graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law. Prior to joining Missouri Bar staff, she was the Midwest regional director for the American Wind Energy Association, where she worked with more than a dozen state legislatures to draft legislation relating to wind energy. Previously, Hirner worked for two Missouri governors and an Illinois lieutenant governor. She also founded her own law firm, Hirner Law Associates, and practiced in the areas of ethics compliance, administrative law, contract law, and regulatory compliance.  

Outside of work, Hirner enjoys bicycling; walking her Jack Russell terrier, Georgie; going to the gym; and tap dancing.  

The public interacts with the legal system on a daily basis, so the effective and efficient administration of justice in the state matters greatly in the lives of Missourians. Working with elected officials, The Missouri Bar constantly seeks to improve the law, the administration of justice, and the quality of legal services available to the public. For more information on this work, go to mobar.org and visit the Government Relations page