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Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and Bryan Cave are known throughout the St. Louis legal community for their commitment to providing pro bono help. Our client Monsanto Company shares in this commitment. In fact, Reuben Shelton, senior counsel at Monsanto, serves as president of the Board of Directors of Legal Services. These connections led to a pro bono partnership between Bryan Cave, Monsanto and Legal Services starting in 2009.

With Shelton’s guidance, Legal Services, Bryan Cave and Monsanto have begun a special pro bono initiative to provide free legal services to underprivileged persons in the St. Louis area. Jim Guest and Ruth Mullins of Legal Services and Bryan Cave Partners Ellen Bonacorsi and Ketrina Bakewell have worked with Shelton to launch the initiative.

In July 2009, lawyers from Monsanto, Bryan Cave and Legal Services met and decided the program would focus on child welfare issues, including orders of protection, guardianship and the development of educational programs for disabled children. In August 2009, the partnership conducted a comprehensive continuing legal education program at Monsanto that covered each of these areas. The program was attended by a large number of Monsanto lawyers and legal assistants and included presentations by lawyers from Bryan Cave and Legal Services.

In January of this year, Monsanto and Bryan Cave lawyers handled several guardianship matters in the Circuit Courts of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. The lawyers involved in these efforts include Joy Holley, Christan Shelton and Heather Boelens Rucker of Bryan Cave and Kristin Zimmerman and Barbara Bunning-Stevens of Monsanto. Their efforts included acting as guardians ad litem for a 10-year-old child suffering from muscular dystrophy whose mother died of the same disease. Boelens Rucker and Bunning-Stevens are now handling a matter in which a maternal grandmother seeks guardianship of her 2-year-old granddaughter.

Further matters will be handled throughout the year and will involve additional lawyers from Bryan Cave, Monsanto and Legal Services.

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.