Legal Services Corporation Honors Missouri Attorneys for Pro Bono Service

January 14, 2019

ST. LOUIS – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Board of Directors will present Pro Bono Service Awards on Thursday, January 17, to two Missouri attorneys and two law firms in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to equal justice.

The LSC Pro Bono Service Award Reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the offices of Stinson Leonard Street LLP, 7700 Forsyth Boulevard, Suite 1100. The awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the LSC Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting.

The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis President John G. Simon and Missouri Bar President Ray Williams will deliver opening remarks.

Recipients of LSC’s Pro Bono Service Awards were nominated by LSC grantees Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, and Mid-Missouri Legal Services. The recipients are:

  • J. Michael Bridges, a Springfield attorney with the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP who has dedicated 40 hours of pro bono service to helping low-income Legal Services of Southern Missouri clients on issues of family law and contracts. 
  • Irene Karns, a retired public defender, who has worked with Mid-Missouri Legal Services for seven years assisting the organization in developing a divorce clinic for low-income litigants and helping 80 self-represented litigants file separations through the clinic. She is currently assisting the organization to develop a criminal record expungement project.
  • Stinson Leonard Street LLP, a Kansas City law firm that has partnered with Legal Aid of Western Missouri on 45 pro bono cases and dedicated 1,795 pro bono service hours. The firm is the leading participating firm in the organization’s Adopt a Neighborhood Project, working to resolve issues with abandoned housing, illegal dumping, and other issues affecting low-income communities. The award also recognizes the firm’s Pro Bono Coordinator Katie Cronin, who spearheads these efforts.
  • Thompson Coburn LLP, a St. Louis law firm that has partnered with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri for more than three decades. Since 2017, Thompson Coburn attorneys have devoted hundreds of hours of pro bono work on legal issues such as guardianship and tenants’ rights as well as assisting low-income entrepreneurs.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.