John G. Simon
BAMSL President, 2018-19
Managing Partner, The Simon Law Firm, P.C.
Originally published in the January 2019 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
There is a lot of good news here at BAMSL and membership has increased substantially. Even better, those two things are related. Membership is up because there are so many good reasons to join BAMSL. We now have 6,575 members (as of Dec. 1, 2018), including several hundred new attorney members as well as hundreds of new law student members.
Why is BAMSL attracting such attention? Because there are so many new opportunities for attorneys to get involved in the St. Louis community. My predecessor, Ed Dowd, and I have made community service a priority. These new community-based programs are growing and attracting the attention of attorneys who want to give back to our community.
I have been told that the BAMSL staff is getting calls from attorneys interested in such things as the St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger initiative and the Pro Bono initiatives. More than $60,000 has been donated to the St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger initiative over the past couple of months as a result of the Managing Partner Roundtable Meetings Challenge. Also, more than $40,000 was donated through the Share the Love Campaign, which sought donations from BAMSL members last spring. In all, more than $165,000 has been raised since the inception of the St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger program.
The Pro Bono Challenge has been a great success. As part of the challenge, BAMSL suggests pro bono targets on a per-attorney basis to level the playing field for firms of all sizes. All firms have ample time to meet the 2018 Challenge goal of 10 pro bono hours on average per St. Louis area full-time attorney, and most already have surpassed that goal. The firms participating in this challenge reported 29,836 hours of pro bono work for the benefit of the St. Louis community for the first nine months of 2018. This is an outstanding result.
We have long known that BAMSL is an organization that provides excellent resources for attorneys. The Pro Bono Challenge is a perfect case in point that BAMSL also is excellent for the surrounding community. And even better news is that participation in the program is growing. We can do even better in coming months and years. For more information, visit www.bamsl.org/probono.
We must not forget that every hour of pro bono helps those most in need of our help. We are making a difference. For all these reasons, I remind you to save the date for the 2019 Annual Pro Bono Challenge awards luncheon, scheduled for Feb. 28, 2019, to honor our 2018 participants.
On Nov. 2, 2018, more than 30 BAMSL members and staff volunteered to package food for the hungry. These BAMSL members joined more than 2,000 St. Louisans from all over the region for STL World Food Day 2018 at John Burroughs School in St. Louis County to assemble 470,664 meals to feed the hungry. The meals are distributed locally and internationally through the St. Louis Area Foodbank and the Outreach Program. BAMSL's St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger Committee has set a goal to fill one hour of next year's STL World Food Day with legal professionals. We would urge each firm to purchase a table or two and bring your legal professionals out for an inspiring hour helping others in need.
In addition, BAMSL members also have participated in sponsoring and packing weekend meals for students in the region through the Operation Food Search Rap 'N Pack events.
On Dec. 15, 2018, approximately 2,500 kids were served during the Motion for Kids Holiday Party. Each child received a gift bought specifically for him/her and each child had the opportunity to visit with Santa. The Young Lawyers Division Trivia Night in October raised more than $8,000 for the Motion for Kids Holiday Party. The Cardinals and Blues continued their financial sponsorship and Saint Louis University provided the venue. For more information about Motion for Kids, visit www.bamsl.org/mfk.
BAMSL offers many other opportunities for members to get involved to help the St. Louis Community. These include the Call-A-Lawyer program on Fox 2 News, the BAMSL Speaker's Bureau and Read Across America (on March 1 this year). For more information about any of these, call BAMSL or visit the website at www.bamsl.org/community-service.
I want to offer a whole-hearted thank you to the BAMSL members and staff who have made all of these things possible. I love this display of energy and excitement. Thank you all for your generosity and for making a difference in our community.