Ask her about any big cases she’s had lately, and Amy Collignon Gunn will give only one answer.
“All of my cases are big to my clients,” she said.
That ethos underlies all of the work by Gunn, a recipient of both the Lon O. Hocker Trial Attorney Award from The Missouri Bar Foundation and the John C. Shepherd Professionalism Award from The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. The Saint Louis University graduate was even named an honorary Kentucky Colonel by officials in her home state.
Gunn has brought accolades to Missouri as well, becoming only the sixth woman in the state invited to become part of the American College of Trial Attorneys. She’s also on the executive committee of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.
Gunn said she considered entering medicine, business or policework. But the law eventually won.
“I can’t put my finger on any particular event,” Gunn said. “I just knew that I wanted to pick a profession . . . to be able to take on a cause, to every day be met with a challenge.”
That challenge turned out to be plaintiff’s personal-injury work — largely medical-malpractice matters along with product-liability mass torts.
“I think that one of my goals [for] every client I represent is being able to explain the legal process and make them believe that one person can be seen on a level playing field with corporations and hospitals and physicians,” she said. “I feel like providing that opportunity to have an individual who is injured and has been harmed . . . to make that person feel like they can have a fair fight is very compelling.”
Her nominator said Gunn strives to be both a good person and a top-notch lawyer who possesses genuine feelings for those she represents.
“Amy has the marked ability to channel the emotion of sadness into ambition and determination for her clients,” her nominator wrote. “She doesn’t repress the emotion; she redirects it, and her ability to do so sets her apart from others.”
Gunn notes that she isn’t frightened to be outnumbered.
“I do not mind being one person in the room with 10 adversaries,” she said. “I actually enjoy that.”
She is also a passionate opponent against efforts to limit jury trials, a topic on which she advocates in the state capitol.
“I consider it an important part of a trial attorney’s job — whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant . . . if you are truly committed to the Seventh Amendment’s right to trial by jury, we all should be in Jefferson City paying attention to the bills that are being introduced and passed to limit that,” she said.
In addition, Gunn is active in the legal community, having helped raise more than a quarter of a million dollars to support Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.
“Every day, I have an opportunity to do something that I enjoy,” she said.
She notes how much satisfaction she feels from representing those who have been injured due to the carelessness of others.
“I wouldn’t take the case unless that was the scenario,” she said.