Debbie S. Champion is a founding partner at Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, but she’s left her legal mark on St. Louis in many other ways. She has also been named one of the top 50 attorneys in St. Louis, and has been a leader in numerous legal and charitable organizations.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
I am most proud of the associates and partners who have worked under my guidance. It is wonderful to realize they are all so much better than I am! They are smarter, more well-read, better writers, and altogether better lawyers that I ever have been. I know that is true, in part, because I forced them to be. So my proudest of my career accomplishments are the attorneys I have helped “create.” There is no better feeling than having a protege out-perform my capabilities!
What inspired you to get involved in the public service or justice system?
When I was 5, I was a very quiet and shy child. I was a people-pleaser. I recall that a little girl I did not know was caught on a merry-go-round by a bunch of older boys who had control over it and would not let her off. She was scared and helpless and she had no one there to help her at all. Despite my youth and reticence, I recall the feeling I had when this little girl was being mistreated, and I intervened and stopped it. I did not know that I wanted to be part of the justice system, I just knew that I did not want to be one who allowed others to be mistreated. I strongly believe those who hold a law degree are obligated to fight those fights for people who cannot otherwise do it on their own.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
Most people would probably be surprised that I have photo albums and scrapbooks dating back over 50 years retaining those very important things like my certificates from my first piano lesson book and Winn-Dixie cashier training, as well as hundreds of thank-you notes and letters I have received from people through the years. I keep those things because they remind me where I came from, and they remind me why I chose a life of service to others.