Langdon & Emison attorney Phyllis Norman has volunteered to help steer the new “Freedom Friday” initiative of the Midwest Innocence Project, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to the innocent in prison. On June 24, the diverse cross-section of attorneys from a variety of firms will convene for a work session dedicated to recruiting pro bono attorneys from the region.
In addition to Phyllis’ leadership on the committee whose goal is to recruit other attorneys to work pro bono on MIP matters, Langdon & Emison is sponsoring the lunches that will be served for these day-long work sessions that occur on Fridays, most likely every two months throughout the year. Other firms taking a lead sponsor role in this project include Davis, Bethune & Jones, Warden Grier, and Stinson Morrison Hecker.
While fighting for those wrongfully convicted, the MIP has effectively educated many in the profession as to problems in the criminal justice system. This includes eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, “snitch testimony,” and junk science used in the courtroom by the prosecution.
“The Midwest Innocence Project has had an enormous impact on the lives of those that they’ve successfully advocated for, but also on the criminal justice process itself,” said Phyllis, who plans to be particularly focusing her MIP recruitment efforts on younger members of the bar. “There’s arguably no better organization in this part of the country for a firm to collaborate with on cases like the ones the MIP handles.”
Currently president-elect of the Greater Kansas City chapter of the Association of Women Lawyers, Phyllis is regularly a contributor to nonprofit organizations dedicated to the legal profession. Early in her career she was elected as a District 3 representative of the Missouri Bar Young Lawyers Section and is currently serving a 2-year term as the District 4 representative of the Missouri Bar Young Lawyers Section.
Phyllis' practice focuses on product liability litigation, specifically in the areas of class action suits, auto product defects and mass tort litigation. She has litigated cases at both the trial court and appellate court levels, in Federal and State Court, and before the National Association of Securities Dealers and the American Arbitration Association. She is a graduate of UMKC School of Law and Oklahoma State University.