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Hillary Bean- Armstrong Teasdale

beanHillary Bean did not read Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 national bestseller, “Lean In.” She devoured it.

“I had just assumed I was the only one who felt this way,” said Bean, a partner in Armstrong Teasdale’s Financial and Real Estate Services practice. “I was enthralled.”

In the book — the subtitle of which is “Women, Work and the Will to Lead” — the author advocates that women be more professionally assertive and ambitious, despite societal pressures not to be. Bean highlighted and dog-eared pages of her own copy. Then she bought more copies and gave them to some male partners at Armstrong Teasdale to raise awareness among them.

She even organized a book-club discussion for the firm’s Women’s Inclusion Network, an internal group founded in 1998 to elevate women lawyers through coaching and networking. Bean’s enthusiasm propelled her in 2014 to be selected as the director of WIN.

From that perch, she has organized lunch-and-learn events at Armstrong Teasdale. In July, for example, there was a panel discussion on the firm’s new four-month paid maternity-leave policy (a cause that Bean and others had championed). She also instituted a quarterly newsletter in which a new employee is highlighted each month.

In her real estate practice, Bean handles leasing, financing and large transactions; she was heavily involved in the $290 million redevelopment of a Fortune 100 company’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis. She also has experience in transactions that include environmental risk, and she has used innovative environmental and excess-indemnity insurance and escrow in such matters. In addition, she has expertise in leasing issues related to build-to-suit and design-build projects.

Aside from her legal practice and her leadership role in WIN, Bean also has been a proponent of the Michael C. Tramble Foundation Scholarship Campaign. Tramble was an African American associate at Armstrong Teasdale who was murdered in 1998 along with his wife and two children. The campaign began holding a chili cook-off to raise funds for the scholarship at the University of Missouri the firm set up in his name; the scholarship aims to create opportunities for minorities to succeed in the legal profession. In the past five years, the foundation has raised more than $50,000. When Bean chaired the committee several years ago, she added a soup competition to the cook-off, as well as a dessert challenge. She admitted she cannot compete with her colleagues’ cake-baking talents, but she did once get plaudits for her chili.

Asked why she involved herself in all of these side activities at the firm, Bean gave a simple answer.

“You probably won’t want to include this,” she said, “but the truth is, I love it here, and I just want it to be the best place it can be.”