Missouri Lawyers Media has chosen Lyrissa Lidsky, dean of the University of Missouri School of Law and its Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law, as its 2020 Woman of the Year.
Lidsky, who joined the university in July 2017, is the first woman to be named dean of the law school. During her relatively short tenure at Mizzou Law, she has been widely lauded for her legal scholarship, enthusiasm for the law, mentorship of students and talent for generating and sustaining engagement within the school’s critical constituencies.
“Within a very short time after her selection [as dean], she consistently demonstrates the ability to toggle back and forth between various factions — faculty, students, alumni and donors,” a nominator said. “The poise and grace with which she moves through the complexity of her job is amazing.”
Acclaimed as a First Amendment scholar, Lidsky is a co-author of a well-known media law casebook and has published on issues including defamation, privacy, cyberbullying, and online incitement and threats. Supreme Courts in several states as well as courts in other nations have cited her work on anonymous speech.
She speaks frequently to audiences around the state and beyond, and her nominators praise her accessibility and the unflagging energy she devotes to her role and its demands — particularly notable during 2019, when she underwent chemotherapy, surgery and radiation for an aggressive form of breast cancer. During that period, she shared frequent updates as well as personal reflections about her experience on her 4,500-follower Twitter account.
“She’s been so open and inclusive, and without skipping a beat,” a nominator said of Lidsky, who now is cancer-free. “The way she’s managed her health care situation exemplifies leadership.”
Lidsky leads this year’s list of 53 honorees, which includes judges, in-house counsel, legal scholars and private practitioners from around the state, as well as outstanding students at Missouri law schools.
The 22nd annual Women’s Justice Awards event is set for June 26 at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. In prior years, Missouri Lawyers Media has presented the awards event in late April, but due to the coronavirus public health emergency, the event date has moved to ensure the safety of honorees and guests. Winners also will be profiled in June in a special section of Missouri Lawyers Weekly.
Since 1999, the Women’s Justice Awards have celebrated extraordinary women lawyers, law students, rising stars, public officials and others in recognition of the standards of professional excellence they’ve set for their peers. For information on the event or to purchase tickets, click here.
The 2020 honorees are:
Woman of the Year
This woman truly stands out in making an extraordinary difference to improve the quality of justice or exemplify the highest ideals of the legal profession.
Lyrissa Lidsky, dean and Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
These women serve as general or in-house counsel, advising businesses on complex legal matters.
Jami L. Boyles, Lewis Rice
Leslie A. Greathouse, Spencer Fane
Leilani R. Leighton, Henderson Engineers
Debbie Rush, Thompson Coburn
Sara Yang Bosco, Emerson Electric Co.
Jamie Zveitel Kwiatek, Polsinelli
General Practitioner Award
These are the women who, as attorneys, do it all. They handle multiple practice areas with skill.
Denise L. Childress, Childress Legal
Cynthia Garnholz, Garnholz Sparks Family Lawyers
Laura H. Kriebs, Kriebs Law Firm
Linda T. McKinney, Linda T. McKinney, Attorney at Law
Litigation Practitioner Award
These litigators have made their careers in the courtroom — criminal or civil, representing plaintiff or defense
Jessica Agnelly, Wendt Law Firm
Maureen Brady, McShane & Brady
Robyn M. Butler, Wallace Saunders
Martha Charepoo, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice
Megan N. Creson, Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law
Athena M. Dickson, Siro Smith Dickson
Kathryn L. Dudley, Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal
Julianne O’Bannon Germinder, TGH Litigation
Jennifer M. Hannah, Lathrop GPM
Jessica R. Hill, Ellis, Ellis, Hammons & Johnson
Katie Hubbard, Brown & Crouppen
Kalila Jackson, Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council
Denyse L. Jones, Husch Blackwell
Stacey L. Murphy, Norton Rose Fulbright
Jackie Olinger Rochelle, Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd
Darlene Parrigon, Parrigon Law Office
Jill Presley, Presley & Presley
Laura C. Robinson, Husch Blackwell
Juliane M. Rodriguez, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale
Melissa Crowe Schopfer, Simmons Hanly Conroy
Ida S. Shafaie, Armstrong Teasdale
Rachel Stahle, Dollar, Burns & Becker
Public Service Award
These women work on behalf of a nonprofit organization, government agency or the judiciary; or have made their mark in education.
Cecilia Abbott, city attorney, City of Kansas City
Sandra Farragut-Hemphill, circuit judge, St. Louis County
Ashley Garrett, deputy county counselor, Jackson County
Kara Johnson, counsel, 30th Judicial Circuit, juvenile division
Sarah Kerner, economic development director, City of Springfield
Zoe W. Linza, executive director, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Kathy Lloyd, state courts administrator, Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator
Kelly J.H. Murrie, Dowd Bennett
Rebecca L. Spencer, associate circuit judge, Andrew and Buchanan counties
Stephanie Wan, chief assistant prosecuting attorney, Greene County Prosecutor’s Office
Pro Bono Award
These awards honor the women attorneys who have contributed significant effort and time to pro bono work.
Danielle Atchison, Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm
Amanda E. Colvin, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Jennifer M. McAdam, National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Jacqueline Redmond, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard
Aimee Riederer Gromowsky, Aimee the Attorney
Vicki Smith, Stinson
Leaders of Tomorrow Award
These law students demonstrate leadership, professionalism and a passion for making a difference in the justice system or legal profession.
Maysa Daoud, Saint Louis University School of Law
Carley Johansson, University of Missouri
Fluffy Kilburn, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Madison Wiegand-Brown, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law