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WJA 2021: L. Annette Griggs

“A real leader is a servant to others,” says Annette Griggs. As an attorney, she exemplifies this every day in her practice as well as in her professional and community activities.

griggsGriggs began her career in the law as a paralegal. Later, she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. When her daughter was three months old, she began her studies at UMKC School of Law. Her daughter was three years old when she received her J.D.

“Right out of law school, I started my own practice,” Griggs says. “I had the paralegal experience, and I always knew I wanted to do personal injury cases. That was 20 years ago.”

Today, Griggs is passionate about representing people with traumatic brain injuries. She recalls one case in which the client had already gone through three attorneys before she came to Griggs Injury Law. “That’s typically a red flag,” Griggs says. “Often it’s because the person’s injuries are misunderstood. They are angry because they’re different than they were before and can’t get back to where they were.”

Griggs took on this case. She admits that she had to think outside the box a lot to handle it. She took extra time to go to the client for their meetings. In the end, she got a life-changing result for this client.

Appointed by the Governor of Missouri and confirmed by the Missouri Senate, Griggs is a voting member of the Brain Injury Advisory Council for the State of Missouri. She is also a board member of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri and a member of the Board of Governors with the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

In addition, Griggs serves as a volunteer attorney with Legal Aid of Western Missouri and also does pro bono work. She serves as a mentor for younger female attorneys in the Denise Henning Connections Program with the Association for Women Lawyers Foundation.

One of Griggs’s most memorable career successes came in 2016 when she represented a woman whose husband was shot and killed by her adult daughter. “Other attorneys had turned down this case,” she recalls. “I took it because I really connected with the client.”

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence partnered with Griggs and her client on this case, which ultimately went to the Missouri Supreme Court. The result was favorable for the client. They also were able to get the tort of negligent entrustment broadened to include a cause of action against gun shops who knowingly sell guns to dangerously ill persons. “This case made a positive difference in Missouri,” she says. “Attorneys and courts have used it in other states also.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021