As it nears its one-year anniversary, the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel (MCRC) adds Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner Charles Eblen to its board of directors. MCRC is a nonprofit collaboration with private attorneys and the Missouri State Public Defender (MSPD) to provide courtroom training to early-career private practice attorneys by encouraging the attorneys to represent public defender clients. Founded by a small group of Missouri attorneys, the MCRC is unique in its handling of criminal cases, working with the public defender office.
“There are many pro bono programs but MCRC is unique in that it has two equally important missions,” stated Eblen. “The volunteers from private practice represent indigent persons accused of a crime and, in return, they gain invaluable courtroom experience. I’m honored to serve on the board.”
Shook has a strong commitment to pro bono causes and commits a full-time director, attorneys and staff. Eblen currently chairs Shook’s Pro Bono Committee and is leading efforts at the firm to enlist the help of his colleagues. When MCRC was launched in 2017, Shook, at its expense, hosted two training sessions for private attorneys to gain a better understanding of the public defender’s role and criminal work.
The next training session will be held May 11, 2018, in St. Louis and will focus on trying criminal cases. The one day program is open for those who already have some trial experience. For questions please contact Richard Scherrer via email at Richard.Scherrer@mspd.mo.gov or log into www.bamsl.org.