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Diversity & Inclusion 2022: Honorees, Publisher’s letter

As humans, the differences among us are many. We come in different colors, shapes and sexual identities, with different origins, thoughts, preferences and convictions.

Liz Irwin

Liz Irwin

But there are core elements we all share. Call it our commonality, our sameness. We all have curiosity and the capacity to laugh, to love, to cry, to pursue freedom.

It’s what makes us, well, human.

Reveling in it all — our differences and our sameness — propels us to greater success, whether we’re talking about a macro view of society or a micro view of a profession.

Slip Missouri’s legal profession onto that slide, clip it under the lens and peer in. You’ll find imperfection, but you also will find hard work and momentum to broaden inclusion and celebrate diversity. The American Bar Association leads the profession nationally through its diversity and inclusion center resource, and The Missouri Bar follows suit with its committee on diversity, forums and training. Local bar associations do the same, from Springfield to St. Louis and Kansas City. A growing number of legal associations are devoted to diverse segments of attorneys doing remarkable work within the profession and the justice system.

The number of firms devoted to the work of diversity and inclusion continues to grow as their leaders recognize that excellence starts with a commitment from the top that builds from below. It’s the individuals of any association or firm who make sustainable change.

When diversity is celebrated and inclusion guaranteed in any endeavor, it’s surely our human essence leading the work.

And then there’s this: It’s the right thing to do.

The individuals we honor through the 2022 Diversity & Inclusion awards do the right thing. They are part of the bedrock that supports a growing foundation of work throughout Missouri’s legal profession.

The honorees we recognize on these pages were selected after considerable deliberation on many impressive nominations. Missouri Lawyers Media did so with the help of a selection committee of attorneys drawn from throughout the state’s legal community — all of whom have devoted much of their own careers to increasing diversity and inclusion in the profession.

Our honorees represent incredible work, often conducted outside of the spotlight.

They are remarkable humans.

And we are all better for it.

Liz Irwin

Publisher, Missouri Lawyers Media

Diversity & Inclusion 2022 honorees

Ashley Benoist, Stanton Barton LLC, Senior Associate

Willie J. Epps, Jr., Western District Federal Court, United States Magistrate Judge

Noah Garcia, Kansas City Southern Railway, Senior Corporate Counsel

Reginald Harris, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Partner

Robin Jefferson Higgins, Webster University, Associate Professor and Chair

Alexandra Johnson, AJ Legal Services, Managing Owner

Candace E. Johnson, Carmody MacDonald, Labor and Employment Attorney

Arindam Kar, Polsinelli, Shareholder

Kayla M. Loveless, Husch Blackwell, Associate

Grace Colato Martinez, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Associate Attorney

David C. Mason, 22nd Judicial Circuit, Circuit Judge

Sandra M. Moore, Advantage Capital, Managing Director and Chief Impact Officer

Ronald Alan Norwood, Lewis Rice, Member, DEI Committee Chair and Litigation Partner

Shoshanah Shanes, Lathrop GPM, Associate

Courtney Stirrat, Franke Schultz & Mullen, Partner

Mikah K. Thompson, UMKC School of Law, Associate Dean of DEI and Associate Professor of Law

Paul N. Venker, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, Senior Counsel

Firm award: Stueve Siegel Hanson

2022 Diversity & Inclusion Awards