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BCLP Named 2020 Top Legal Innovations Award Winner by Missouri Lawyers Media

BCLP-designed solution to connect children to volunteer guardians during legal actions
November 20, 2020

A BCLP innovation team has been selected as a winner in the 2020 Top Legal Innovations Awards, from Missouri Lawyers Media. The firm’s winning proposal simplifies the process of serving as a guardian ad litem and links volunteers to BCLP attorneys when further pro bono advice is needed.

The annual Top Legal Innovations Awards recognize honorees in three categories: emerging practice areas, law firm business changes, and new services or products that benefit Missouri’s legal community. All honorees are chosen from peer nominations submitted by other Missouri legal and business professionals, as well as by members of the Missouri Lawyers Weekly editorial team. 

Extending a successful model across the state

For years, BCLP has run a program in which firm attorneys serve as guardians ad litem on a pro bono basis for matters in the St. Louis Probate Court. While the program with the city has been a success, the need in Missouri far outstretches the firm’s reach. Over the course of a three-day hackathon event, a team including Mark Bourisaw, Sophia Diamond, Jason Johnson, Susan Pittman, Dion Rodriquez and Christian Zust from BCLP, alongside students from Southwestern Illinois College’s paralegal program and other community entrepreneurs, looked to extend the program beyond the city and firm’s walls. 

The team’s prototype demonstrated how to take BCLP attorneys’ collective experience and make it available to others around the state to benefit other children in need. The prototype takes the time-tested training materials and accompanying best practices and reworks them to accommodate external use. Those materials are centralized in a technology tool that helps allocate matters to attorneys wanting to volunteer in their hometowns and paralegal professionals wishing to assist with certain background research and information aggregation critical to the guardian’s eventual recommendation. Importantly, the prototype technology tool also offers a gateway to BCLP’s attorneys to help outside volunteer attorneys navigate complex issues that arise from time to time in such matters. 

This idea was presented by BCLP earlier this year during the Global Legal Hackathon competition in St. Louis. BCLP sponsored the St. Louis segment of the global competition.

Missouri Lawyers Media will celebrate this winning initiative and all of this year’s 2020 Top Legal Innovations Award honorees in an upcoming special section, scheduled to publish in the Dec. 21 issue of Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

This document provides a general summary and is for information/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought before taking or refraining from taking any action.