Doreen D. Dodson, the first woman to serve as president of The Missouri Bar and a national leader in the field of employment and immigration law has joined the St. Louis office of Polsinelli. In her new role, she will serve as a senior partner in the firm’s labor and employment law practice group.
“Polsinelli is thrilled to welcome Doreen to our practice and to the St. Louis office,” Randy S. Gerber, managing director of the St. Louis office said. “She is truly an exemplary role model, known equally throughout the industry for both her knowledge of employment and immigration law, as well as her dedication and determination to the field of law. Throughout her career, she has served in leadership roles for numerous legal organizations and is continually advancing the profession, particularly for women attorneys who’ve followed in her footsteps.”
Dodson represents employers in a variety of employment law issues, including securing non-immigrant status and temporary work authorization for foreign national employees through H1Bs, religious worker authorization, J-1 waivers, and L-1 transfers. She also assists clients in obtaining permanent residence status through labor certification.
“Polsinelli’s reputation for its commitment to supporting the communities in which it does business, as well as the firm’s on-going dedication to the legal profession made my decision to join its ranks very easy,” Dodson said. “Polsinelli attorneys are an engaged group, dedicated to growing their firm and serving their clients needs. They are exactly the type of attorneys with whom I want to work on a day-to-day basis.”
Prior to joining the firm, Dodson had been a partner at The Stolar Partnership since 1986. She has previously served as an assistant professor at Saint Louis University’s School of Law and was the managing attorney of the elderly law unit at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri from 1976 to 1983. She began her legal career in 1974. Before working as an attorney, Dodson was a special education teacher.
Dodson was elected president of The Missouri Bar in 1990. At the time, her election was groundbreaking, as she was the first woman to assume the post in the organization’s 100-year history. Under Dodson’s leadership, the Missouri bar successfully advocated for the Missouri Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Act.
She represents Missouri in the House of Delegates of the ABA, and was the 8th U.S. Circuit representative to the ABA’s standing committee on the Federal Judiciary from 2001 to 2004. She is the immediate past chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. She was Missouri State Chair for the ABA from 2003 to 2009.
In addition, Dodson has chaired numerous ABA committees throughout the years including the American Bar Association’s standing committee for the Judicial Independence, as well as the ABA’s Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants standing committee.
She is chair of the Missouri Bar Foundation, and is a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Advisory Committee, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, Lawyers’ Association of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Women Lawyers’ Association.
She is currently secretary of the Friends’ board of KWMU – St. Louis Public Radio, past president of the board of directors of the Friends of the Sheldon Theater, a member of the administrative committee of Salem Methodist Church in Ladue, a past trustee of the Deaconess Foundation, a past member of the Board of Visitors of Southern Illinois University Law School, and a member and past president of the Dean’s Council at Saint Louis University School of Law.
She was named “Outstanding Fellows State Chair” by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation in 2005, received the “President’s Award” from the Missouri Bar in 2005, received the Legislative Advocacy award from the ABA in 2007, and received the Burnham “Hod” Greeley Award from the ABA Coalition for Justice in 2009. Dodson has been listed in Best Lawyers in America® for her immigration work.
In April 2012, Dodson was honored by Missouri Lawyers Media as their “Woman of the Year,” part of the publication’s annual “Women’s Justice Awards” celebration. She was given this accolade to commemorate her lifetime achievements in the field of law and her extraordinary service to legal industry organizations.
Dodson received her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law. She also holds a master’s degree, cum laude, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University.
Dodson is admitted to practice before all state courts in Missouri, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th and 7th Circuits, and the U.S. District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Missouri. She and her husband, Dana Spitzer, reside in Kirkwood, Mo. Dodson has three children and three stepchildren, as well as 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Attorneys in the St. Louis office of Polsinelli are committed to the vitality, economic development and sustainability of St. Louis’s business and legal communities. The firm’s St. Louis attorneys are involved with and serve in leadership roles in a variety of civic organizations including the Regional Business Council, St. Louis Regional Chamber, Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, Civic Pride Foundation and Missouri Growth Association, among others.
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*Inc. Magazine, September 2012