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Lindsey Phoenix, 33

Attorney, Whiteaker & Wilson, Springfield

Practice area: Criminal defense

Law school: Saint Louis University

Lindsey Phoenix remembers well her best moment as an attorney. She was defending a client whom she believed was innocent of a child molestation charge.

The jury found him not guilty.

“As soon as the judge read the verdict, he gave me the biggest hug and started weeping,” she recalled. “I worked hard to show the jury the truth and it was an amazing feeling to watch someone be vindicated.”

After interning for the St. Louis City Public Defender’s Office, Phoenix went to work as an assistant prosecutor in Greene County where she was named Lawyer of the Month before moving back to the other side of the aisle as a Missouri state public defender. In 2015, this winner of Milton F. Napier Trial Advocacy Award took a position at Whiteaker & Wilson before a recent change to her new job in the public defender’s office in Columbia.

In the words of her nominator, Phoenix has “a true passion for both the law and justice.”

What is your biggest accomplishment this year?

I was working on a case where my client had been wrongfully convicted of murder. The government had hidden evidence of his innocence and I found it. Several attorneys had the case before me and never discovered it. Now the client is set for a hearing next month to determine whether he gets a new trial.

What inspired you to get involved in the legal profession?

I wanted to fight for the underdog. It amazed me that, as a country, we value our constitution so much – except for when it comes to people accused of crimes. I truly believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and it saddened me to see that American ideal being wiped away.

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