Thomas M. Lang 0000-00-00 00:00:00
In 1931, as the nation was engulfed by the Great Depression and St. Louis became known for being the largest Hooverville in the country, two historic events happened. First, Esther M. Golly became the first female admitted to the Bar of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County and the first female member of the St. Louis County Bar Association.Secondly, Amandus Brackman, a St. Louis County Circuit Judge had the distinct privilege of being elected the first President of the St. Louis County Bar Association. Upon being incorporated in 1941, the young association headed by E. McDonald Stevens, its President, a highly respected Missouri attorney, spearheaded the campaign for the creation of a county law library. On July 12, 1941, upon motion of the St. Louis County Bar Association, the Circuit Court of St. Louis County sitting En Banc approved a contract entered into between the bar association and West Publishing Company for the purchase of law books for the newly established St. Louis County Law Library. By 1954, public indignation over the inability of the Sheriff ’s Office to provide law enforcement service prompted a citizens committee, along with the St. Louis County Bar Association, to recommend the creation of the St. Louis County Police Department through Charter amendment. Voters overwhelmingly approved the Police Charter amendment. In 1962, William Shaw, the First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of St. Louis County was appointed to the newly created position of County Public Defender. The establishment of the County Public Defender’s Office, the first in the history of the State of Missouri, had been created through the diligent efforts of the St. Louis County Bar Association. The County Bar Association achieved its long time goal for a nonpartisan court plan in 1970. After a lawsuit contesting the wording of the ballot by opponents of the plan had been defeated, voters overwhelmingly approved the Missouri Plan for St. Louis County. Three weeks after his election, Governor Warren E. Hearnes formally proclaimed the nonpartisan court plan to be in effect in St. Louis County. Had it not been for a civic-minded County Bar Association, the judiciary in St. Louis County would not have been freed from the bonds of partisan politics. By 1965, the need for adequate County government facilities posed an acute problem and in 1967 the County electorate passed the bond issue for a new St. Louis County Government Center. In January of 1970, the new St. Louis County Government Administration Building was dedicated. Taking part in turning over the symbolic key was Paul Brackman, President of the St. Louis County Bar Association who was chief lobbyist for the government center. Through the relentless efforts of the County Bar Association, the St. Louis County Government Center became a reality. The present Courthouse was dedicated on November 23, 1971 and the County Bar Association continues to maintain a lawyer’s room on the third floor. Over the years, the Bar has always provided Continuing Legal Education for its members and has supported the St. Louis County Judiciary and the court’s staff. In 1968, the St. Louis County Bar Association received the ABA Award of Merit. The County Bar was one of the founders of the Justice For All Ball which is now approaching its 22nd year. The Judicial Evaluation by Jurors was commenced and implemented through the efforts of the County Bar and is now being implemented state wide. The Bar has sponsored debates of political candidates for County Executive and Prosecuting Attorney, has held Law Day programs, presented mock trials, offered a Lawyers Referral Program, sponsored explorer posts, scholarships, supported many charitable cases, and has held many outstanding social events and gatherings for its members, the Judges, and court personnel. During the past 80 years, the St. Louis County Bar Association has become a prestigious public oriented organization committed to improving the standards of the legal profession and the lives of the lawyers in this community and the people they serve. On October 11, 2011, the St. Louis County Bar Association’s Officers and Executive Committee voted to support a bond issue to finance the construction of a new Family Court Building, significant system improvements and renovations for the existing court’s building at 7900 Carondelet Avenue in the City of Clayton. The St. Louis County Bar Association, with the cooperation of the St. Louis County officials have been organizing an effort to place this bond issue on the April 2012 ballot.
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