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WJA 2020: Lyrissa Lidsky named 2020 Woman of the Year

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.

Lyrissa Lidsky


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 2020 honorees and winner profiles:

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

Corporate Award

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 Krawczyk, 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 J. Jackson, Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council

Denyse L. Jones, Husch Blackwell

Darlene Parrigon, Parrigon Law Office

Jill Presley, Presley & Presley

Laura C. Robinson, Husch Blackwell

Jackie Olinger Rochelle, Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd

Juliane M. Rodriguez, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale

Melissa 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 N. Garrett, deputy county counselor, Jackson County

Kara Hofman-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 S. 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

Aimee Riederer Gromowsky, Aimee the Attorney

Jennifer M. McAdam, National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Jacqueline Redmond, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard

Victoria L. 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

2020 Women's Justice Awards

One comment

  1. Matzel tov. Congratulations on the well deserved honor. It has been a real

    knowing you and your family, Howard and the boys. They must be quite proud of you (I hope that you are proud, too.).

    Wishing you good health and continued fulfillment in your career.

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