It’s easy for Julianne O’Bannon Germinder to remember when she formed her current firm: Jan. 9, 2017, when former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster left office and Attorney General Josh Hawley’s term began.
“Basically, on the day the office transitioned over, we all left and formed the firm,” Germander said, referring to her partners and AG’s office alumni Joanna Trachtenberg and Andrew Hirth.
TGH Litigation, a combination of the three partners’ last-name initials, focuses on an array of discrimination and civil rights practices, skills that Germinder has been honing since she earned her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 2008. She began her career doing employment defense work for Spencer Fane. But when she and her husband, a state employee, relocated to Columbia, the attorney general’s office offered a similar environment.
“I liked the idea of working for General Koster,” said Germinder, who had interned under his predecessor, Jay Nixon. “I thought the people he chose in his administration were top-caliber, and I liked the direction of the office at the time.”
Other than a short stint at the education law firm Guin Mundorf, Germinder remained with the attorney general’s office through the end of Koster’s term. She garnered broad experience in discrimination law, ranging from actions against private and governmental entities to the educational setting. It’s the kind of fact-specific trial work she enjoys, coupled with occasional forays into civil rights and constitutional law.
“To do the sort of work you learn about in law school, not a lot of attorneys get to do that in real life,” she said. “Getting to do that at an early point in your career, I think, is pretty great.”
Among Germinder’s notable jury trials was that of Deborah Hervey, a former probation and parole officer who won a $2.6 million verdict against the state. The verdict, however was reversed on appeal when the Missouri Supreme Court found a problem with the way a jury instruction was used. The ruling resulted in the creation of a new Missouri Approved Instruction for discrimination cases in which the existence of a disability is contested.
Germinder also represented the state in a suit brought by Stacy Skiles Minze, a Missouri Capitol Police officer who alleged retaliation for complaining about sex discrimination. Minze’s $500,000 judgment was reversed on appeal and ended in a defense verdict on retrial.
Germinder worked on both the trials in those cases and the resulting appeals.
“I actually didn’t end up arguing hardly any of the appeals that I got involved in, but they all ended up being pretty interesting,” she said.
Among the things Germinder likes about having her own law firm is that, as it has grown, she’s been able to provide mentoring for her associates, paralegals and law clerks, much as she did with younger attorneys when she led the employment litigation team at the attorney general’s office.
“The thing that I missed the most was the mentoring aspect,” she said. “Now we’re almost back to feeling like a team and getting that mentoring aspect as part of my job.”