Shook Joins Missouri Firms in Private-Public Defender Partnership

Shook, Hardy & Bacon will host a statewide training session for the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel (MCRC) April 20-21, 2017. MCRC is a nonprofit collaboration created by the members of the Missouri Bar and the state’s public defender system to provide courtroom training to early-career private practice attorneys by encouraging the attorneys to represent public defender clients. The program results in a “win-win” for attorneys in both the private and public sectors: private practice attorneys receive real-time trial experience while “easing the system’s difficult caseload.”

Shook has the largest Kansas City office of any firm in the coalition, which already boasts more than 20 members in Missouri and shows no signs of slowing down. Partner Charlie Eblen, who is spearheading Shook’s efforts in the program, noted that, “the MCRC will give early-career attorneys not only the opportunity to gain courtroom experience, but provide services to public defense clients who may not otherwise have options for legal counsel. It is a phenomenal organization and is sure to be successful.”

“There is enormous potential for the Coalition to make an impact,” said Michael Barrett, director of the Missouri State Public Defender System. “There’s a constitutional guarantee that must be upheld and I am absolutely humbled by how the bar has stepped up in a major way.”

The coalition plans to officially launch by May 1, 2017.