Stinson and Association of Corporate Counsel Hold Virtual Nonprofit and Small Business Pro Bono Legal Clinic
Stinson LLP and the Mid-America Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) teamed up this morning to host a second legal clinic for 14 local nonprofit organizations and small businesses from throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area, following an inaugural event in 2019. Stinson and the ACC, working with community partners at UMKC School of Law's Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic, the United Way of Greater Kansas City, and Kansas Legal Services developed the clinic as an opportunity for corporate and transactional attorneys to give back to the local community by sharing their knowledge of corporate governance and operational matters such as bylaws, contracts, employee manual reviews or advice on intellectual property or risk management.
The 2019 clinic brought together 40 attorneys and 20 or more client representatives to tackle legal questions. With COVID-19, a 2020 clinic was not possible. With large gatherings restricted in early 2021, the planners organized an all virtual model that would allow for client meetings via breakout rooms, rather than small conference tables.
Stinson attorneys were paired with ACC-member attorneys who serve as in-house counsel at local corporations. This year, the clinic accepted applications from both nonprofit organizations and local small businesses. Each legal team was matched with a client with legal needs in their areas of expertise, including questions regarding governance and board policies, fundraising, employee policies and contracts, general contracts, trademark and copyright, risk management, and HIPAA.
The 14 participating nonprofits and small businesses included: Amethyst Place; Circle M Films, LLC; fightGLOBESITY; Global Montessori Academy; HappyBottoms; Lee's Summit CARES; LevelUp Kids, Inc.; Missing Peace Technologies LLC; Samaritans Wingz; Shepherd's Center of Raytown; Shirley's Kitchen Cabinet; Smart Steps LLC; and Teachers Like Me.
Clinic clients provide:
- Services to women seeking to overcome trauma and substance use
- Programming to help solve childhood obesity and close the health inequity gap
- Diapers and potty-training education to low-income families
- Services to prevent teens from abusing drugs and engaging in violence
- School-based dental and vision care for low-income children
- Resettlement services for families who are recent immigrants and refugees
- Strategies to recruit, develop and retain quality Black teachers in Kansas City
- Food, home improvement services, and educational opportunities for the elderly
- Technology solutions for individuals with special needs
Patrick Courtney of Terracon Consultants, Inc. and the chair of the ACC's Pro Bono Committee noted, "We’re very grateful to be working again with local nonprofits and small businesses to assist them with their needs. We feel like this is a great opportunity for the attorneys who participate to engage in meaningful pro bono work.”
The Stinson attorneys who participated represent a variety of practice areas and industries, including Intellectual Property and Technology, Corporate Finance, Employment and Real Estate) and Kansas City, St. Louis and Wichita offices. Participating attorneys included: Jeannie Boettler, Steve Cosentino, Madison Connolly, James Cronin, Michael Donohue, Kyle Ferden, Gerry Griffith, Scot Hill, Charley Jensen, Martha Nweke, Pat Konopka, Stephanie Scheck, Jim Selle, Andrea Sellers, Tessa Trelz, Kenda Tomes and Sara Welch. In addition, five summer associates joined attorney teams to learn more about the firm's transactional pro bono practice.
The following ACC-member attorneys participated: Patrick Courtney, Terracon Consultants, Inc.; James Craft, Community of Christ Church; David Davis, Community of Christ Church; Alison Erickson, Hallmark Cards, Inc.; Daniel Hodes, CrowdStrike; Jennifer McAdam, National Association of Insurance Commissioners; Karen McConnell, GE Capital; Casey McGraw, National Association of Insurance Commissioners; Jennifer Neuerburg, National Association of Insurance Commissioners; Mark Reiter, Community of Christ Church; Dillon Strohm, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City; Tessa Wendling, Orion Industries; Charlene Wilson, H&R Block; and Andrew Wimmer, Jack Henry & Associates.
Members of the event planning committee included: Patrick Courtney, Jennifer McAdam, Danielle Merrick, UMKC School of Law and Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, Christy Campbell, Kansas Legal Services, Karen Gettinger, United Way of Greater Kansas City; and Katie Cronin, Stinson LLP.
Stinson LLP served as financial sponsor for the clinic.