May 20, 2014

From The Springfield Bar Association

To continue fighting for equal access to justice and to support projects that reflect the legal profession, Legal Services of Southern Missouri (LSSM) and the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Foundation (SMBF) have joined forces launching the “Legacy Campaign” to raise $500,000. Funds raised will help LSSM meet the escalating demand for free legal services, and help SMBF to support the needs of the legal community and to educate the public on their legal rights and the system of justice.

A strong foundation was established in the campaign when local attorney and business owner Sam F. Hamra challenged area law firms to meet his commitment of $30,000. The challenge was accepted by
Polsinelli and Strong-Garner-Bauer law firms.

“We in the legal community recognize the important role Legal Services of Southern Missouri and the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Foundation play in giving access to the judicial system,” said Polsinelli’s Thomas J. O’Neal, who is the Managing Partner of the Springfield office. “Public service is a core value of our firm and its lawyers. And it translates into hundreds of hours of volunteer legal service, as well as financial support. We are proud to step forward with a contribution of $50,000 to the Legacy Campaign to help make equal access to justice a reality,” added O’Neal.

“We realize that we have the greatest system of justice in the world, but oftentimes, we do not stop and think that people without funds often have no access to the justice system,” said Steve Garner of Strong-Garner-Bauer. “We are pleased to commit $30,000.00 toward the Legacy Campaign to ensure the system of justice does not fail” added Garner.

“I’m honored to partner with Polsinelli and Strong-Garner-Bauer in supporting LSSM and SMBF,” said Sam F. Hamra. “We are privileged to live in a country whose world-wide reputation is ‘equal justice for all.’ Because of the growing need of the unfortunate who do not have the funds to hire an attorney, the LSSM and SMBF have decided to raise monies through the ‘Legacy Campaign’ to help those in need. I am confident that the Southern Missouri attorneys will be generous with their contributions which will help the less fortunate who are faced daily with problems that need legal assistance. We continue to fight poverty and by ensuring legal problems are resolved families are able to move forward and contribute back to society,” added Mr. Hamra.

In southern Missouri, approximately one out of every four persons who request representation from Legal Services of Southern Missouri are turned away due to lack of resources.

Legal Services of Southern Missouri provides free legal assistance to people living at or below poverty level. The service area includes the counties of Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Cedar, Christian, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Gasconade, Greene, Howell, Iron, Laclede, Lawrence, Madison, Maries, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, St. Genevieve, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney, Texas, Wayne, Webster and Wright. Legal Services of Southern Missouri has offices located in Springfield, Rolla, Charleston, Cape Girardeau and Farmington.