When Thompson Coburn Chairman Tom Minogue accepted a pro bono award from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri this week, he turned around and offered an award of his own: an early delivery of the firm’s $50,000 annual donation to the organization.
LSEM Executive Director Dan Glazier was bowled over by the surprise, which also spurred a spontaneous standing ovation from attendees of the 2013 For the Common Good Awards. The ceremony, held Aug. 28, celebrated 12 “equal justice champions” who have been supportive of LSEM's mission of providing civil legal services and equal access to justice for the low-income community. Thompson Coburn received the Gerald R. Ortbals Outstanding Law Firm Award, which honors a law firm that has truly distinguished itself with an exemplary commitment to pro bono service.
Thompson Coburn's annual donation to LSEM funds the William G. Guerri Chair, named for Thompson Coburn partner and longtime managing partner Bill Guerri. The donation allows for an LSEM attorney to work exclusively on educational access for disadvantaged children, a special cause for Mr. Guerri, and one that connects back to his own upbringing in Higbee, Mo. Thompson Coburn has contributed $320,000 over the years to support the position.
“We receive a number of awards at Thompson Coburn,” Minogue told the crowd. “I can tell you we treasure none more than the one you’ve given us tonight."
Thompson Coburn had another unique connection to LSEM’s event. It was held at the Randall Gallery in downtown St. Louis.