Three Shook Attorneys Receive National Pro Bono Award

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has recognized the “Jackson County Pro Bono Attorneys,” which includes three Shook attorneys, with its 2021 Impact of the Year Award for excellence in pro bono work.  

Shook Kansas City Attorneys Anna Maria Merritt, Megan Roth and David Suroff are being recognized with nine of their fellow attorneys from other firms as part of the Jackson County Pro Bono Attorneys group. The group consists of law professionals who practice within or work for law firms or legal departments and represent family members in Jackson County Family Court. The attorneys have an individual average of 10 years’ experience in the juvenile justice field, and bring to their clients the resources and skills necessary to best serve the children and families they represent.

“This group of attorneys does an amazing job in working with clients who often are found to be in a challenging or crisis situation regarding their children,” said Lori Stipp, juvenile officer for the Jackson County Family Court. “We are extremely fortunate to have such dedicated advocates in these difficult cases.”

The Impact of the Year Award recognizes an individual, state/local court, law firm, advocacy group, or service provider who has been instrumental in leading or implementing significant improvements or innovations which advance the mission of the NCJFCJ, including, in this case, “extraordinary efforts in pro bono work.” 

“We are proud to honor the work and dedication of this unique group of lawyers who provide skilled representation to children and families who seek justice,” said Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo, NCJFCJ president. “The COVID-19 pandemic year created many obstacles. Not only did the Jackson County Pro Bono Attorneys continue to offer the necessary right to counsel in juvenile proceedings and in actions for the termination of parental rights, but they also continued to compassionately advocate for their clients by helping them receive much-needed resources and services through a challenging time.”

Merritt, Roth and Suroff will be honored as recipients of the 2021 Impact of the Year Award during the NCJFCJ’s 84th Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, Tuesday evening, July 20. The attorneys will also be honored by the Family Court of Jackson County in a second reception in recognition of the award.

Founded in 1937, the Nevada-based NCJFCJ is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization focused on improving the effectiveness of the nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the NCJFCJ serves an estimated 30,000 juvenile and family court professionals and is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.