Category: Business News

Feb 20

Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications, Presents at March 19 St. Louis Society of Association Executives Lunch & Program

Program topic is about how to use data to improve member communications

Feb. 20, 2020 (St. Louis) – Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications LLC, the St. Louis-based strategic communications and public relations firm, will present “The Data Dive: Understand How to Improve Your Member Communications,” at the March 19, 2020 St. Louis Society of Association Executives (SLSAE) Lunch & Program.

The presentation is for SLSAE members and not-for-profit association executives who want to learn how to leverage current and prospective member data. This information can help not-for-profit executives understand and make strategic decisions on how to improve member communications and build a strong communications plan. During this presentation, attendees will learn the following:

  • How to use data to develop and drive a stronger communications program that will help attract and retain members.
  • Understand what the PESO model is and how to use it to improve communications. (Note: Gini Dietrich, Founder of SpinSucks.com, is the creator of the PESO model, https://spinsucks.com/communication/pr-pros-must-embrace-the-peso-model/)
  • Learn how to develop and build an ongoing communications campaign to improve an organization’s online presence.


The program will be held at the Missouri Society of CPAs located at 540 Maryville Centre Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63141, from 11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $40.00 for SLSAE members and $60.00 for non-members. To register, please click on the following link, https://slsae.org/event-3694482.

Since its founding in 2008, AMM Communications has served the leading companies in their industry sectors providing them with support ranging from media relations and crisis communications to content marketing, and executive communications skills training.  The company, co-founded by Ed and Ann Marie Mayuga, focuses on serving financial institutions, professional services firms, manufacturing and distribution companies, healthcare, government entities and not-for-profits throughout the Midwest.

About AMM Communications
Founded in 2008, AMM Communications LLC, the leading St. Louis-based strategic communications and public relations firm, provides media relations, digital marketing, business development, crisis communications, content marketing, internal communications, communications skills training, reputation management, social media consulting, and executive communication skills training. AMM Communications is a nationally certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and certified by State of Missouri, St. Louis County and St. Louis City.  The company is federally certified as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) by the SBA and is certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). AMM Communications has been voted one of the “Best PR Firms in St. Louis” by Small Business Monthly from 2010-2019. For more information, please visit, http://ammcommunications.com or call 314.485.9499.

Feb 18

Tom Dunn, CPA, Featured in Small Business Monthly February 2020 “Time with the Boss”

St. Louis (February 18, 2020) – Tom Dunn, CPA, founder and president of Tom Dunn, CPA Firm, was profiled in the February 2020 issue of Small Business Monthly’s regular column, “Time with the Boss.”

The monthly column features leading St. Louis business owners and not-for-profit executives on their life philosophies, how they spend their day, and how they started their careers.

Dunn’s February “Time with the Boss” profile can be read by clicking on the following link, https://www.sbmon.com/Articles/Article/1618.

Over the past three years, Dunn and the Tom Dunn CPA Firm has also been selected by the Small Business Monthly readers as “One of the Best Companies in Customer Service in St. Louis” in 2018, “One of the Most Innovative Companies in St. Louis,” in 2019, 100 People to Know in Business in St. Louis in 2017,” and “One of the Best Accounting Firms in St. Louis ” for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Tom Dunn, CPA, founder and CEO of St. Louis-based Tom Dunn, CPA Firm, is an accountant, business advisor and CFO who serves small business owners and their families. As a serial entrepreneur, Tom understands the challenges that business owners face each day. After launching several successful businesses, Tom decided to focus on his passion of accounting and helping entrepreneurs for 20 years ago when he opened his firm. Tom and his team manage the business and personal financial, accounting and tax needs of their business owner clients by partnering with them so they have life changing results and peace of mind. To learn more, please visit, http://tomdunncpa.com.

Feb 10

Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter Honors Members for Individual Contributions at 2020 Annual Meeting

(L) Vikas Sunkari, Senior Attorney, Transactions, SSM Healthcare; (R) 2019 ACC STL President, Chrissy Teske, Senior Attorney, Commerce Bancshares, Inc.

February 6, 2020 (St. Louis) – The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, held its 2020 Annual Meeting recognizing members for their individual contributions.

The 2020 ACC STL award recipients include:

  • Member of the Year: Vikas Sunkari, Senior Attorney, Transactions, SSM Healthcare. Sunkari volunteered to lead the 2019 ACC STL Summer Diversity Internship Program, which paired six, first-year law students with host corporations in the St. Louis region. He managed the entire process that included the interview and selection process, recruited mentors to pair with the interns, and developed educational and training programs to supplement the students’ internship experience. Through participation in the program, several 2019 Summer Interns obtained employment for the summer of 2020.
  • 2019 Pro-Bono Committee, (L) Co-Chair Patricia Duft, Vice President, Legal, Medtronic; (C ) Chrissy Teske; (R ) Paula Finlay, Assistant Vice President, Senior legal Counsel, Labor & Employment, AT&T.

    Committee of the Year: 2019 Pro-Bono Committee led by Co-Chairpersons Patricia Duft, Vice President, Legal, Medtronic; and Paula Finlay, Assistant Vice President, Senior legal Counsel, Labor & Employment, AT&T. Under the leadership of Duft and Finlay, the committee engaged members to volunteer in a variety of projects and pro bono opportunities including: National Health Care Decisions Clinic, Veterans Wills Clinics; Partnered with Loaves & Fishes; Legal Services of Eastern Missouri micro-Enterprise Entrepreneur Seminars and Clinics; and Backpacks for St. Louis City Schools

  • William E. Jaudes Service Award: Renee Schenk, Senior Assistant General Counsel, Bayer, received the award. The William E. Jaudes Service award was named after Bill Jaudes, one of the original founders of the ACC STL. This honor, which is not awarded annually is given to members who exemplify dedication, leadership and service. Schenk served ACC STL leadership roles including president and membership chairperson where the Chapter was recognized by the national Association of Corporate Counsel as Outstanding Chapter of the Year and achieved a milestone of surpassing 500 members for the first time in the Chapter’s history.

(L) Chrissy Teske; (R) Renee Schenk, Senior Assistant General Counsel, Bayer.


Brian Parsons, 2020 ACC STL President, and Senior Counsel, Macy’s Inc., said, “Each member recognized has contributed significantly to the growth of the St. Louis chapter. Their leadership and dedication have helped make the St. Louis chapter one of the strongest in the country, and one that continues to evolve to serve our members.”

In 2019, ACC STL received the Gold Chapter of Distinction by the national Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). The award recognizes the Chapter’s accomplishments in areas including programming, membership recruitment, and governance / operations.  In 2018, ACC STL received the Gold Level Award, and the Innovation Award for Best Membership / Recruitment.

Contact:

Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications

314.485.9499

annmarie@ammcommunications.com

 

About the ACC STL:

The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 550 members who represent more than 100 organizations. During its 30-year-history, the ACC STL has been recognized as one of the leading chapters in the country by the national Association of Corporate Counsel with having received the 2017 and 2019 Gold Level Award and selected for the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit,https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.

Jan 30

BAYER FUND GRANTS $25,000 TO LEGAL SERVICES OF EASTERN MISSOURI

Funding for expansion of legal advocacy for children’s educational needs

ST. LOUIS –Bayer Fund has made a one-year grant of $25,000 to Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Children’s Legal Alliance to fund important educational advocacy work for low-income children, with an emphasis on serving children enrolled in schools in north St. Louis County.

This generous grant from Bayer Fund will support attorneys who work closely with families who have children at risk of failure in school because of lack of access to special educational needs and/or individual education plans.

Each year, the Children’s Legal Alliance serves more than 200 families with children struggling in school because of lack of access to special educational services. The program also represents children at high risk of suspension and/or unfair discipline and helps educate parents so they can become more effective advocates for their own child’s educational rights.

Additional information about the work of the Children’s Legal Alliance can be found at:www.lsem.org/childrens-legal-alliance-program/

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About Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has provided free civil legal help for low-income families for 64 years. In 2018, 30,000 people in

21 counties of eastern Missouri received services from four regional offices. For more information, please visit www.lsem.org.

About Bayer Fund: The mission of Bayer Fund is to make philanthropic investments that contribute to the quality of life in the areas of food and nutrition security, STEM education, health and wellness and community development. Our primary focus is to assist families in under-resourced and rural communities where our customers and employees live and work. Learn more about Bayer Fund at https://www.fund.bayer.us/

Jan 28

Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter Elects 2020 Board of Directors

January 27, 2020 (St. Louis) – The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, elected its 2020 officers and board of directors.

The 2020 ACC STL officers include:

  • President: Brian Parsons, Senior Counsel, Macy’s Inc.
  • Vice President / President-Election: Sven Fickeler, Senior Corporate Counsel, Bunzl Distribution USA, LLC
  • Secretary: Jennifer Herner, Associate General Counsel, MiTek
  • Treasurer: Kate Krebel, Corporate Counsel, DRS Technologies, Inc.
  • Immediate Past President: Chrissy Teske, Senior Attorney, Commerce Bancshares, Inc.

At-Large Directors: Geoffrey Grammer, Assistant Corporate Counsel, Ameren; and Erika Schenk, General Counsel & Vice President of Compliance, World Wide Technology.

ACC STL 2020 president, Brian Parsons, shared that the priorities for the Chapter this year are to strengthen member retention and engagement, utilize social media platforms to improve communications, and expand networking opportunities that are specific to members’ practice areas.

“This year is exciting for the ACC STL chapter. Last year, the chapter was selected as one of the best chapters in the country at our national meeting. Previous boards have laid a strong foundation, and the board is looking forward to making contributions to better serve our membership,” said Parsons.

The board of directors include:

  • Advocacy: Jennifer Feldhaus, Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Maritz
  • Corporate Counsel Institute (CCI): Ty Ulmer, Chief Counsel, The Boeing Company
  • Communications: Danielle Langeneckert, Director, Contract Design, The Resource Group
  • Diversity: Tamee Reese, Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel, AT&T Mobility & Entertainment
  • General Counsel Forum: Kate Molamphy, General Counsel, ICL Americas; and Erika Schenk
  • Annual Golf / Spa Event: Jay Repaso, Manager, Legal Services, Mastercard
  • Law School Relations: Paula Finlay, Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel – Labor & Employment, AT&T
  • Membership: Beverly Garner, Associate General Counsel, Bunge North America
  • Practice Area Networking (PAN) – Labor & Employment: Toni Douaihy, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Macy’s Inc.
  • Past President Council Chair: Chrissy Teske
  • Pro Bono: Patricia Duft, Vice President, Legal, Medtronics
  • Professional Development: Geoffrey Grammer
  • Programs: John Farmer, Vice President, Litigation, Charter Communications
  • Social: Margy Weisman, Assistant General Counsel, ESCO Technologies
  • Sponsorship: Denise Whitener, Managing Counsel, Wells Fargo Law Department

In 2019, the ACC STL received the Gold Chapter of Distinction by the national Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). The award recognizes the Chapter’s accomplishments in areas including programming, membership recruitment, and governance / operations.

In 2018, ACC STL received the Gold Level Award, and the Innovation Award for Best Membership / Recruitment.

Contact:

Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications

314.485.9499

annmarie@ammcommunications.com

About the ACC STL:

The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 550 members who represent more than 100 organizations. During its 30-year-history, the ACC STL has been recognized as one of the leading chapters in the country by the national Association of Corporate Counsel with having received the 2017 and 2019 Gold Level Award and selected for the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit,https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.

Nov 25

The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter Receives 2019 Gold Chapter of Distinction

ACC STL is recognized as one of the best chapters in the country at national association meeting

November 25, 2019 (St. Louis) – The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter (ACC STL) received the 2019 Gold Chapter of Distinction at the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting in October held in Phoenix.

The ACC STL Chapter is one of 10 chapters selected this year for the Gold Chapter Distinction. The award recognizes the Chapter’s accomplishments in areas including programming, membership recruitment, and governance / operations.

“This is an incredible honor for the St. Louis chapter and a reflection of the support, commitment and involvement from the ACC STL board, committees, members, and sponsors. Everyone contributed to making this happen,” said Chrissy Teske, 2019 ACC STL President, and Senior Attorney with Commerce Bancshares, Inc.

In 2018, ACC STL received the Gold Level Award, and the Chapter received the Innovation Award for Best Membership / Recruitment.

Other 2019 Gold Chapter of Distinction Award winners include: Austin, Chicago, Greater Philadelphia, Houston, Nevada, San Diego, Southern California, South / Central Texas, and Tampa Bay.

Contact:

Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications
314.485.9499
annmarie@ammcommunications.com

About the ACC STL:

The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 550 members who represent more than 100 organizations. During its 30-year-history, the ACC STL has been recognized as one of the leading chapters in the country by the national Association of Corporate Counsel with having received the 2017 and 2019 Gold Level Award and selected for the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit, https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.

Nov 19

YOUNG FRIENDS OF LEGAL SERVICES ELECTS FIVE NEW BOARD MEMBERS

representing young legal professionals with an interest in public service

St. Louis (Nov. 19, 2019) — The Young Friends of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri have elected five new members to their Board of Directors. Joining the Board are Mackenzie Allan, Luke Jackson, J. Thomas Mihalczo, Dr. Kara Moskowitz and Vannah Shaw.

Board President, Michael Cherba (Danna McKitrick, P.C.) says “We are excited to welcome these new members to our Board. The enthusiasm and professionalism they bring will help increase our sup

port of Legal Services’ mission to provide access to justice and free legal representation to the marginalized

and under-served in our community.”

Mackenzie Allan joins the board as the Washington University Board Representative on a two year term. She is currently a JD Candidate at Washington University School of Law and holds a B.A. in Political Science from California Polytechnic State University. She has completed internships with Danna McKitrick, P.C. in St. Louis and with the Superior Court of California in San Luis Obispo.

Luke Jackson is an associate attorney in litigation practice at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. He is a 2018 graduate of Saint Louis University Law School and also holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College. He has served in the US Air Force Reserves since 2012. During his time in law school, he also worked with the Civil Litigation Clinic and served as a faculty fellow researcher.

Thomas Mihalczo is an attorney with Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC. He is a 2017 graduate of St. Louis University Law School and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He previously served with the Federal Public Defenders Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, and as a Research Fellow for Prof. John Ammann at Saint Louis University. He currently also serves as Board Secretary for MindsEye Radio, which serves people with vision loss.

Dr. Kara Moskowitz is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of History. She is 2014 PhD graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and also holds a M.A. in History from Emory University and a B.A. in History from Grinnell College in Iowa. She has authored four publications on the subject of African Decolonization and is a volunteer tutor at the International institute of St. Louis.

Vannah Shaw is a legal clerk with St. Louis County Pretrial Release. She is a 2013 graduate of Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, VA, and also holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She is currently also a volunteer lawyer with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and served 2014-2017 as an Assistant Circuit Attorney with the St. Louis Circuit Attorneys Office.

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About Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has provided free civil legal help for low-income families for 62 years. In 2018, 30,000 people in

21 counties of eastern Missouri received services from four regional offices. For more information, please visit www.lsem.org.

Oct 23

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Receives $316,361 Grant for Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative

Partners for program include leading law firms and community organizations

October 22, 2019 (St. Louis) – Legal Services of Eastern Missouri announced at an October 21 press conference that it received a two-year, $316,361 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

The grant gives Legal Services the opportunity to expand volunteer lawyer involvement in its Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative (NVI) to better serve four high-vacancy City neighborhoods – The West End, Academy/Sherman Park, Old North St. Louis, and Hyde Park.

This month, four of St. Louis’ largest law firms, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Husch Blackwell, Stinson, and Thompson Coburn, began work with Legal Services and the four neighborhoods to provide direct assistance to resident-led community groups.

Building on the long history of Legal Services’ pro bono support, the press conference was announced during the American Bar Association (ABA) National Pro Bono week, Oct. 20-26, 2019.

Speaking at the press conference were City of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson; Sundy Whiteside, St. Louis Association of Communication Organizations (SLACO) Board President; Dan Glazier, Legal Services’ Executive Director and General Counsel; and Peter Hoffman, Legal Services’ Managing Attorney of the Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative.

Also in attendance at the press conference were more than forty participating law firm representatives, neighborhood association partners, members of the St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative, and Otis Williams, St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director. 

Services provided to neighborhoods through the grant include litigation support to hold absentee owners of vacant property accountable and assistance on matters relating to corporate governance and compliance. Legal Services plans to expand services to vulnerable residents to prevent displacement through estate planning and help resolve land title issues that prevent people from obtaining home repair services.

At the press conference, Hoffman, who previously directed a similar neighborhood vacancy effort in Kansas City, said, “It’s easy to see the physical blight: broken windows, illegal dumping, weeds. What is less obvious is the legal blight. Fractured land titles, unreleased mortgages, liens – all of these result in a blight that requires legal assistance before anyone can even think about getting a house fixed up.”

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri is one of 14 recipients of grants from LSC’s $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive program that invests in projects intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

“These grants stimulate more participation by pro bono volunteers. They enhance public-private partnerships, leverage the federal investment in civil legal aid, and allow our grantees to reach more people in need of civil legal assistance,” said LSC President, Jim Sandman.

“Thanks to this federal grant, we can expand legal services to economically challenged City neighborhoods to build upon the hope and promise of neighborhoods that have long been underserved, and provide resources for growth and opportunity to areas struggling with disinvestment,” stated Glazier. “We are excited for this opportunity to expand, and we are so grateful for our community partners, funders, volunteers, and the City of St. Louis, all of whom are committed with us to improve the quality of life in our communities.”

About Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has provided free civil legal help for low-income families for 62 years. In 2018, 30,000 people in 21 counties of eastern Missouri received services from four regional offices. For more information, please visit www.lsem.org.

Oct 22

ACC STL Chapter Participates in 2019 National Pro Bono Month

Members provide year-round volunteer support throughout the St. Louis region

St. Louis (Oct. 22, 2019) – October is National Pro Bono Month to highlight the volunteer legal counsel attorneys provide. Member of the Association of Corporate Counsel St. Louis Chapter (ACC-STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, provide pro bono legal assistance and volunteer for community services projects not just this month but throughout the year.

The 2019 ACC STL Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairpersons are Patricia Duft, Sr. Legal Director, Medtronic; and Paula Finlay, Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel, Labor & Employment, AT&T.

“Each October, we’re reminded of the impact as attorneys we make in the St. Louis community. As a chapter, our involvement is not for one month but throughout the year,” said Finlay.

The Pro Bono Committee identifies pro bono and community services opportunities where members can become involved in a variety of projects ranging from helping entrepreneurs with legal matters to volunteering at a local food pantry providing groceries to its clients.

“Our chapter members, for example, volunteer each month for the monthly Nonprofit Legal Clinics at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Members meet with prospective Legal Service clients for brief one-on-one sessions to respond to questions they may have on legal issues they experience in the formation or management of a business or non-profit. This work is gratifying because we are involved with helping someone launch a new business,” said Duft.

Provided are highlights of where the ACC-STL members provided free legal counsel and volunteered for community services projects: 

·         Throughout the year, ACC-STL volunteers work with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Community Economic Development Program (LSEM-CED), whichprovides free business legal assistance to entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding small businesses that provide a benefit to lower-income communities that Legal Services servs and to non-profit entities that promote community development to benefit lower-income individuals. On Oct. 17, the ACC-STL and LSEM-CED partnered to hold a workshop, “How to Start a Small Business,” at St Louis County Library.

  • In March, ACC-STL volunteers in coordination with Legal Services and Thompson Coburn held a Business Legal Clinic for small business owners and entrepreneurs at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Roundtable discussions were held with volunteer attorneys and followed by legal clinic sessions with clients who had questions on individual small business matters.

·         In April, ACC-STL members collaborated with Legal Services, Husch Blackwell and the Family Care Health for National Healthcare Decisions Day where volunteers offered a free legal clinic to assist low-income individuals in Missouri with Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Healthcare Directive forms.

·         In May, the ACC-STL partnered with the Veteran Justice Outreach Program, the VA St. Louis Healthcare System, and Missouri Attorney General’s Office Military Assistance for the Veterans Wills Clinic where 40 veterans and their spouses received free legal counsel on wills, living wills and power of attorney valued at $35,000 or less.

·         In late October, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) held, “Celebrate Pro Bono 2019,” a workshop that offered training to local attorneys to support the ACC-STL clinic at Legal Services and to enable members to take on other representations.

“Our committee identifies pro bono opportunities and community service opportunities throughout the St. Louis region because we want to offer our members a well-rounded volunteer experience. From our recent survey results, we learned that a variety of volunteer opportunities is a key draw for members to become active with the Chapter,” said Duft. 

Contact:

Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications

314.485.9499

annmarie@ammcommunications.com

About the ACC STL:

The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 550 members who represent more than 100 organizations. During its 30-year-history, the ACC STL has grown to become one of the leading chapters in the country having been selected as a 2017 Gold Level Award recipient and winning the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit, https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.

Oct 21

Legal Services Receives Grant to Help Neighborhoods

Funds Expand Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative

October 17, 2019 (ST. LOUIS) – Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has been awarded a two-year, $316,361 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

Legal Services will use these funds to expand volunteer lawyer involvement in its Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative (NVI) to better serve four high-vacancy City neighborhoods – The West End, Academy/Sherman Park, Old North St. Louis, and Hyde Park.

Beginning this month, four of St. Louis’ largest law firms, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Husch Blackwell, Stinson, and Thompson Coburn, will begin working with Legal Services and the above neighborhoods to provide direct assistance to resident-led community groups. Services provided to neighborhood associations through the grant include litigation support to hold absentee owners of vacant property accountable and assistance on matters relating to corporate governance and compliance.

Legal Services will also expand services to vulnerable residents to prevent displacement through estate planning and help resolve land title issues that prevent people from obtaining home repair services.

“It’s easy to see the physical blight: broken windows, illegal dumping, weeds. What is less obvious is the legal blight. Fractured land titles, unreleased mortgages, liens – all of these result in a blight that requires legal assistance before anyone can even think about getting a house fixed up,” explained Peter Hoffman, managing Attorney of the Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative, who recently directed a similar effort in Kansas City.

Building on the long history of Legal Services’ pro bono support, the organization is hosting a formal grant announcement with community and civic partners Mon., Oct. 21, at 8:00 a.m. at Deaconess Center, 1000 North Vandeventer Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63113 – the start of national Pro Bono week. Legal Services of Eastern Missouri is one of 14 recipients of grants from LSC’s $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive program that invests in projects intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

“These grants stimulate more participation by pro bono volunteers. They enhance public-private partnerships, leverage the federal investment in civil legal aid, and allow our grantees to reach more people in need of civil legal assistance,” said LSC President, Jim Sandman.

“Thanks to this federal grant, we can expand legal services to economically challenged City neighborhoods to build upon the hope and promise of neighborhoods that have long been underserved, and provide resources for growth and opportunity to areas struggling with disinvestment,” stated Dan Glazier, Legal Services’ Executive Director and General Counsel. “We are excited for this opportunity to expand, and we are so grateful for our community partners, funders, volunteers, and the City of St. Louis, all of whom are committed with us to improve the quality of life in our communities.”

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About Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has provided free civil legal help for low-income families for 63 years. Last year nearly 30,000 people in 21 counties of eastern Missouri received services from four regional offices. For more information, please visit www.lsem.org.