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MoLawNow

Join us for a regular series of interviews with members of the legal community about important issues that shape practices and the communities they serve.

Episode 15: Freedom Suits Memorial

Efforts to establish a memorial in St. Louis honoring the hundreds of slaves in Missouri and other states who sued to gain their freedom prior to the Civil War, as well as their attorneys and the judges who freed them, have recently received a major boost in support from the St. Louis legal community.

Reporter Jessica Shumaker talks with St. Louis Circuit Judge David C. Mason and Paul Venker, of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, who is also a St. Louis Bar Foundation board member and chair of the memorial’s steering committee, about the memorial and the committee’s fundraising efforts.

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Episode 14: Bill Corrigan

Bill Corrigan has worn a lot of hats in the course of his legal career. He’s currently a partner with Armstrong Teasdale and has been president of The Missouri Bar, a delegate to the American Bar Association and a candidate for elected office. Now he’s taking on a new role.

On Nov. 6, Gov. Mike Parson appointed him as a circuit judge for the St. Louis County Circuit Court. Senior Reporter Scott Lauck talks with Bill about what he’s done as a lawyer and why he now wants to be a judge.

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Episode 13: Charles A. Weiss and Jonathan B. Potts

This week, MOLawNow welcomes Attorneys Charles A. Weiss and Jonathan B. Potts of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in St. Louis, both notable advocates for the wrongfully convicted.

Along with their BCLP colleague Stephen R. Snodgrass, they have worked for years to clear a Missouri man, Donald “Doc” Nash, following Nash’s conviction for murdering his girlfriend, Judy Spencer, near Salem in 1982. Nash spent 11 years in prison before the Missouri Supreme Court threw out his conviction earlier this year.

But Nash remained at risk for another trial until Dent County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Curley announced earlier this month that he would not retry Nash. Weiss and Potts join us to discuss how new DNA evidence, as well as the reversal of key expert testimony from Nash’s original trial, led to the dismissal of the case.

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Episode 12: Chuck Hatfield

Chuck Hatfield, a partner with Stinson in Jefferson City, is one of Missouri’s top lawyers on election law.

We talk with him about two recent court rulings concerning Missouri’s voting procedures and get his thoughts on what the Nov. 3 election might look like.

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Episode 11: Innocence Project and MacArthur Justice Center

In conjunction with the Seventh Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day Oct. 2, the Midwest Innocence Project and MacArthur Justice Center’s Missouri office announced plans to partner together on wrongful-conviction cases.

MIP Executive and Legal Director Tricia Rojo Bushnell and MJC Co-Director Megan Crane joined us to discuss the new partnership. They explained how the partnership will work, and why wrongful conviction work is important.

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Episode 10: Amanda J. Schneider and Hopey Fink, LSEM Education Justice Program

This week, we welcome two attorneys from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Education Justice Program: Amanda J. Schneider, managing attorney of the program’s Health Justice Initiative; and Hopey Fink, an education advocate for the program.

They join us to discuss how school districts across Missouri can reimagine their roles and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure they fulfill their mandate to provide a free public education for all children ‒ including the most vulnerable ‒ while balancing learning plans with public health concerns. 

They also discuss how Missouri attorneys can be crucial allies in advocating for individual students and shaping the conversation around reimagining education.

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Episode 9: Brittany Barrientos

This week, we welcome Brittany Barrientos, a partner at Stinson in Kansas City who practices environmental, health and safety law.

But for the August 4 primary, she and her law firm partnered with Election Protection, to field calls from voters in Missouri and Kansas who had questions about voting and election law.

We speak to Brittany about her experiences during the primary and what she expects to see in November.

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Episode 8: Robert Newmark and Wesley Fields

This week, we welcome Robert Newmark, managing partner of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s St. Louis office, and Wesley Fields, managing partner of BCLP’s Kansas City office.

BCLP is Missouri’s largest law firm by revenue as well as a global leader in law, with more than 1,400 attorneys who work in 31 offices around the world. Like many firms in our state and beyond, BCLP and its operations have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by weighing multiple factors — efficiency, office logistics, data management and, above all, the safety of their clients, attorneys and employees — while striving to provide impeccable service.

Bob and Wesley join us to talk with us about their plans for potentially reopening their Missouri offices while balancing those complicated priorities.

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Episode 7: Peter Goss

Peter Goss

This week, we welcome attorney Peter Goss, president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

He joins us to discuss The Student Law Academy, which the foundation launched in 2019 to expose diverse high school students to the legal profession and, in doing so, improve the justice system in and around Kansas City.

The academy was one of 21 honorees featured Friday, July 31 during our 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Awards. Learn more about the awards and honorees here.

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Episode 6: Kevin Jamison

Kevin JamisonThis week, MOLaw Now welcomes Kevin Jamison of Jamison Associates in Gladstone, and Missouri Lawyers Media Senior Reporter Scott Lauck.

Kevin’s practice focuses on self-defense and weapons-related issues — a hot topic these days in St. Louis, where the circuit attorney recently charged two local attorneys who had an armed confrontation with a group of protestors walking down the privately maintained street in front of their home. Mark and Patricia McCloskey say they were acting in self-defense. The circuit attorney says the couple unlawfully threatened the protestors.

Kevin and Scott spoke before the charges were filed. Drawing on his expertise in Missouri’s self-defense laws, Kevin walked through the facts that will be relevant in a case like this and discussed what the prosecutor will need to prove for the charges to stick.]

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Episode 5: Don Quinn

Don QuinnThis week, MOLaw Now welcomes Don Quinn, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, and Missouri Lawyers Media Staff Reporter Jessica Shumaker.

The Missouri Supreme Court has said the state’s in-person bar exam will take place as scheduled later this month at hotels in Columbia and Osage Beach, despite calls from students and the deans of all four of Missouri’s law schools to cancel it as COVID-19 cases rise.

Don is among those students, and he’s a signatory to a letter asking the court to consider the alternatives of diploma privilege or an online exam.

Jessica has been covering this issue in recent weeks, detailing the objections raised by hundreds of students and the proposal crafted by Missouri’s four law school deans, who also support diploma privilege.

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Episode 4: Don M. Downing

This week, MOLaw Now welcomes attorney Don M. Downing, managing partner of the St. Louis office of Gray, Ritter & Graham and a frequent advocate for farmers in agriculture-related litigation.

Downing served as chair of the plaintiffs’ executive committee in federal multidistrict litigation that recently resulted in Bayer agreeing to pay up to $400 million to settle claims against Monsanto for crop damage farmers in Missouri and elsewhere say was caused by its dicamba herbicide.

The settlement is part of a sweeping series of agreements valued at up to $12.1 billion, the bulk of which involves Monsanto’s well-known Roundup weed killer. Downing updates us on the complex negotiations behind the settlement, which is among the largest ever reached in U.S. civil litigation.

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Episode 3: Charles A. Weiss

Editor’s Note: Since this video was recorded, the court has set aside Donald Nash’s conviction and Nash has been released from custody. In October 2020, the case was dismissed after the Dent County Prosecuting Attorney announced he would not retry Nash.

This week, MOLawNow welcomes Attorney Charles A. Weiss, a partner with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in St. Louis, one of Missouri’s elite litigators — and a notable advocate for the wrongfully convicted.

Through pro bono work with colleagues at BCLP, Weiss has suceeded in freeing three Missouri men who’d spent decades in prison after they’d been wrongfully convicted of murder.

Now he would appear to be well on their way to doing so for Donald Nash, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1982. Weiss updates us on a special master’s report, recommending that the Missouri Supreme Court throw out Nash’s conviction, as well as ongoing efforts to free Nash from prison.

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Episode 2: St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger

This week, MOLaw Now welcomes representatives from St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger, an initiative of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and supported by the Saint Louis Bar Foundation.

St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger enables lawyers and legal professionals to volunteer and otherwise assist agencies and programs that work to reduce hunger and homelessness in the metro region. Since the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year, they’ve responded to a far greater demand for prepared meals, food supplies and other services.

Joining us to discuss their response to these needs are: Zoe W. Linza, BAMSL Executive Director; Beth C. Boggs, managing partner of Boggs, Avellino, Lach & Boggs and founder of Step It Up Inc.; and Sarah Bardol, a judicial law clerk with the Missouri Court of Appeals and a board member of BAMSL’s Young Lawyers Division.

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Episode 1: Patrick J. Steuve

As businesses across the country try to recover their losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have filed suit against insurance companies, alleging their insurers wrongly denied their claims for business interruption.

This week, we speak with attorney Patrick J. Stueve, a founding partner of the Stueve Siegel Hanson law firm in Kansas City, who has long been recognized by his peers as one of the top commercial trial lawyers in the Midwest and the nation.

He’s part of a team of lawyers who have undertaken litigation against insurers on behalf of businesses in Missouri, Kansas and other states. Those suits are among the first of what lawyers locally and nationally anticipate will be a wave of litigation regarding business interruption claims.

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