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Rhonda Thomas to receive the University of Missouri School of Law Citation of Merit Award

April 10, 2017

Chicago partner Rhonda Thomas will receive the “Citation of Merit Award” from the University of Missouri School of Law as part of Mizzou’s 2017 Law Day celebration the weekend of April 21, 2017. The Citation of Merit Award is the highest award the Law School bestows on its graduates and is given in recognition of an attorney’s outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the community. 

Former Thompson Coburn partner and client Jan Robey Alonzo will present Rhonda with the “Citation of Merit” at the Law Day Awards Ceremony. Past recipients of the honor include Thompson Coburn namesake Richmond Coburn, Missouri Governors Mel Carnahan and Jay Nixon (Rhonda’s former law student) and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.  

Rhonda graduated from Mizzou Law school in 1973, having completed her third year of legal studies at Yale. Her legal career began as the first woman to clerk for the Missouri Supreme Court. Rhonda’s law practice was launched in the City of Columbia’s municipal attorney’s office, where she was named as City Counselor in 1976. While working for the city, Rhonda taught at Mizzou law school part-time and was appointed as a full-time law professor in 1979. Many former and current Thompson Coburn attorneys were law students of Rhonda’s, taking classes in federal income taxation, federal administrative law, legislation, state and local government law, and state and local government taxation. 

Rhonda left teaching to enter private practice in 1982 and joined the firm in 1985. In her 27-year career with Thompson Coburn, Rhonda has:

  • Been at the forefront of substantial public finance deals across the Midwest; 
  • Structured transactions for major urban development projects including the St. Louis convention center, Edward Jones Dome and Metro rail and projects for the City of Chicago, Chicago Transit Agency and Chicago Public Schools;
  • Led complex, large-scale projects for public- and private-sector clients across the country; and
  • Represented the University of Missouri as a client on a wide range of matters. 

Continued support for Mizzou has been an ongoing passion for Rhonda. She currently serves on Mizzou’s Cabinet for its $1.3 billion capital campaign, is a member of Mizzou Women Give, the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women, the Jefferson Club and the MU Alumni Association, and was past president of the Mizzou Law School Foundation.  

The Mizzou Law Day weekend includes the Tim Heinsz 5K/10K Run/Walk, Jim Devine Dog Walk & Kids’ Fun Run, named in memory of two beloved law professors; Rhonda worked alongside both of them when she started teaching at the law school. Proceeds from these events support law school scholarships.