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WJA 2021: Marian V. “Bo” Mehan

Marian “Bo” Mehan started her career not as a lawyer, but as a nurse. The 69-year-old native St. Louisan says it prepared her well for what she does now.

mehan_marian_v“I was an ICU nurse mostly and when I had to go out and tell somebody that their mother just died, it is pretty easy to breach difficult subjects,” she said.

That’s an ability that comes in handy as co-chair of the Estate Planning Department at Lewis Rice, where she also served on the management committee for at least 25 years. Her specialty ranges between family issues, drug problems, and marital conflicts.

“People have to trust you when they talk about those things,” she said. “You get to be really close to people because you’ve been working with them for a long, long time.”

Inducted into the Fleur de Lis Hall of Fame by her alma mater, Saint Louis University, Mehan has an extensive list of community activities. This includes seats on the boards of the Pershing, Edward Mallinckrodt and Lesley Waldheim Foundations as well as the SLU, Academy of the Visitation and Chaminade boards. Part of the board of governors for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Foundation, she’s also been involved with ACCESS Academies, the St. Louis Art Museum Foundation and the local Girl Scout council.

Coming to her firm directly out of law school, Mehan said that her nearly 40 years at Lewis Rice have allowed her the chance to help people do more than simply disburse possessions to family.

“As some of the more high net worth people evaluate their lives as they age, they realize that their children have enough money and they decide to give significant amounts to philanthropy,” she said. “They, of course, ask me what’s the right tax way to do it but they also invite me to help them ascertain their dispositive wishes on specific charities and help them pick charities.

She said these clients ask her for the most tax-friendly methods, but they also ask her to help them choose charities.

“Never in a million years did I think that I would get that joy of helping people,” she said.

She sees her job as being more than simply filling out documents and carrying out instructions. She also sees it as an opportunity to advise people of charitable opportunities.

“I think we have a responsibility to the community,” she said. “We want to improve our community and we have the ability to do it. We have contacts. People look to us for advice.”

Her nominator said Mehan’s skill and professionalism make her a role model for others to follow.

“She demonstrates compassion, confidentiality and competence as she guides her clients and their families through the complex estate planning process,” her nominator wrote, “and Bo’s decades of experience and profound understanding of the tax code have cemented her reputation and legacy as a leader in her field.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021