The final day of 2020 brings to a close a year that brought a lot of pain for many Americans. A lot of us today via op-eds and social media are looking back at the year that was and saying, “Good riddance.” Currently a lot of people in our local communities are hurting, whether that be in finances, in health, or in other ways.
Our attorneys and staff are proud of our efforts to try and pitch in to make our communities stay strong in the face of adversity. Most of our contributions will never make the 6 o’clock news, though some are quite significant. Some of our donations are financial in nature, while others in the firm give of their time. Looking back as we approach the end of 2020, here is a look at some of the ways we tried to do our part by answering the call to help others.
L&E Community Service/Pro Bono Highlights
- Holiday giving: L&E and its employees gave to Harvesters and the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry in the Northland this holiday season. According to Harvesters data, our combined donations to local charities would be equivalent to providing more than 20,000 meals, thanks in part to a “challenge campaign” issued by Peter and Veronica Mallouk of Creative Planning;
- Youth sports teams: the firm continued its ongoing support of nonprofit sports organizations that fund local teams, particularly for those identified as youths who otherwise might not have a chance to play competitive youth sports;
- Community clean-up days: Many of us have participated in 2020 in community clean-up days, either as part of a church or school group or Scouts, or just on our own helping clean up public spaces;
- Tutoring and test prep: L&E has had a long history of supporting test prep and tutoring for students in need, with both financial support of nonprofits where youth can get that assistance and also helping raise funds for college scholarships for local students, and then also with donations of time from our staff;
- Reading in classrooms: For many years L&E has had staff members who regularly go into the classrooms of Lafayette County and elsewhere, particularly as part of “Read Across America,” or guest lectures by our attorneys at high schools and events like “Career Day,” or just ad hoc volunteer visits to school children — admittedly not as much of this happened during the pandemic thanks to remote learning, but some of our staffers are looking forward to 2021 to do more of this;
- Pro bono and service to the profession: Our attorneys have continued our pro bono program; the most recent involvement in 2020 is the firm’s work in Politte, a wrongful conviction case that was featured previously as part of the MTV show “Unlocking the Truth.” Over the last couple years our attorneys have served on bar association committees including as President of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, and the American Association for Justice has honored the firm with awards for its service to the AAJ and for our pro bono work during this time, like the Distinguished Service Award and the AAJ Pro Bono Award. One of our Partners is also a board member for Legal Aid of Western Missouri, which provides pro bono legal representation to those who need it;
- Delivering food to shut-ins, and donating individually to families in need during the Christmas season: Some of us have delivered food to people who could not get out of their homes, especially during the early days of the pandemic shutdown, and some of us have individually made small donations of household items and toiletries to families in need; and,
- Resources for those organizations serving those in need: Staff members and attorneys have donated time at places like Harvesters and the “Breakfast at St. Paul’s” food ministry in Kansas City, or the Lexington House of Hope.
Our attorneys and staff wish you a Happy New Year. We plan to continue the above efforts and to see more folks “in-person” in 2021, when it is safer to be out and about.