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W. Bradley Risby, 36

Partner, Neale & Newman, Springfield

Practice areas: Mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, probate administration, real estate, commercial, franchise and corporate law

Law school: University of Missouri

Making the dean’s list in law school is always impressive but for W. Bradley Risby, it might have seemed a foregone conclusion. He maintained a 4.0 GPA in earning his master’s of health administration and a 3.97 in attaining his bachelor’s.

This year, his biggest accomplishment is making partner at his firm where he deals with everything from drafting estate planning documents to analyzing legal issues in corporate law to negotiating commercial transaction paperwork.

His nominator calls him an exceptional talent in the specialized world of mergers and acquisitions. “He has the expertise to handle multi-million dollar transactions,” reads his letter of recommendation. “He is truly a star in the making.”

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

There is much more to being a lawyer than what you see on TV. Our profession needs individuals who not only litigate, but have the desire to specialize in business and estate planning. These are vital services that can provide you with a fulfilling career.

What is the best career advice you have received?

In negotiations with other attorneys, I try to always be respectful and courteous, even when advocating opposite positions. It is easy to take your client’s position personally, which could result in a scenario where things can become heated between the attorneys. Although difficult in some situations, I am always encouraged that, no matter how the other attorney is reacting, we are both just trying to do what is best for our client.