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WJA 2021: Mary Bozarth

Mary Bozarth’s relationship with the law started early on.

bozarth“I wanted to be an attorney since I was about four years old,” said Bozarth. “I was watching LA Law and I told my mom I wanted to do that. She chuckled.”

But it was no laughing matter. Bozarth, 40, has put together an impressive career. After getting her law degree from the University of Florida, she spent a year as an Equal Justice Works fellow before stints with three firms in the Sunshine State doing employment and consumer class action law.

“I still enjoy both of those fields to this day and there are certain things I advise on with the city that connect to those areas as well,” she said.

Eventually she returned to her native Springfield to help her parents as they dealt with health challenges.

After that came three years in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and a period in-house for a preschool childcare center with nearly 1,000 employees. She assumed her present role, in the Springfield city attorney’s office, in May.

Given the unique challenges of the times, Bozarth noted that a great deal of her schedule is spent interacting with the health department.

“There are so many different legal issues that come up in relation to COVID and vaccination,” she said. “There are constitutional issues. There are employment law issues. It is really fascinating the different things I get to do on a daily basis.”

In a sense, the city attorney’s office is something of a return to her roots. She originally studied public interest law.

“How it should be is that attorneys are there to help things be fair and just and to advocate for people and provide a voice for people that may not ordinarily have a voice in society or at least not the amplified one that an attorney can give them,” she said.

Bozarth sees herself as having every citizen of her hometown as her client.

“It is not that I’m doing something just to accomplish a goal for a specific department but to ensure that we’re doing the best thing … for the residents of Springfield,” she said. “I was born and raised in this town. That means a lot to me.”

Regardless, Bozarth feels it is important to do what’s best for the community. That’s why she became a lawyer in the first place.

“The legal profession is a great way to make a difference in the world and do something greater than yourself to make an impact for generations to follow,” she said. “That’s something that really excites me to leave a legacy like that.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021