The St. Louis County Bar Association was founded in 1931 and is a public-oriented organization of attorneys and judges committed to improving the standards of the legal profession and the lives of the lawyers in this community and the people they serve.
In 1931 the Honorable Amandus Brackman had the distinct privilege of being elected the first President. The Association was officially incorporated In 1941.
During the tenure of Hal B. Coleman as President of the Bar Association, the Executive Committee established the Roy F. Essen Award, given annually to the Outstanding Young Lawyer. Roy F. Essen was the owner and publisher of the Watchman Advocate. At the annual banquet of the Bar Association in 1959, Hal Coleman presented the first annual Roy F. Essen Award to J. Leonard Walther.
Nine years later, during the tenure of Thomas P. Howe as President of the Bar Association, the Distinguished Service Award was established. The award is given each year to the person who has given distinguished and unselfish service to the Organized Bar and the community. Receiving the first Distinguished Service Award was Carl J. Teichman, the then publisher emeritus of the St. Louis Countian and St. Louis Daily Record. He is the only non-lawyer to receive the Distinguished Service Award. In 2004, the name of the award was changed to the Dudley C. Dunlop Distinguished Service Award in honor of a lawyer who personified the essence of the award.
When first incorporated, the Association spearheaded a campaign for the creation of a law library for St. Louis County. The Court En Banc approved a contract between the County Bar Association and West Publishing for the purchase of law books for the newly established law library.
The St. Louis County Bar Association has contributed greatly through the years to support the local Bar and the public in a number of ways. In 1954 the Association along with a citizens committee supported the establishment of St. Louis County Police Department through 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.
In 1967 the Association pushed for a new County Courthouse and Government Center and the county electorate passed the bond issue for a new St. Louis County Government Center. On the weekend of January 1-2, 1970, the new St. Louis County Government Administration Building was dedicated. Taking part in turning over the symbolic key to Supervisor Roos and County Council Chairman Maurice Stewart were Paul Brackman, President of the St. Louis County Bar Association, and the Honorable Ninian Edwards who were 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.
The County Bar Association, which saw its efforts for a nonpartisan court plan go down to defeat in the summer of 1968, achieved its long time goal in 1970 when the voters approved the Missouri Non-Partisan Court plan for St. Louis County.
In 1990 Thomas M. Lang president of the association wrote the other local bar presidents suggesting that all local bar associations join in hosting a black tie event, with no speeches or awards and to raise money for legal related charities. Richard Teitelman, then President of BAMSL and Executive Director of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and Gerald Ortbals, President Elect of BAMSL followed up with Tom and under their joint leadership the Justice For All Ball was founded. It has become the premier legal event in the area raising significant funds for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.
In 2011 a campaign was organized, under the leadership of the Honorable Douglas R. Beach (President 1984) and Thomas M. Lang (President 1990/2011), to place a One Hundred Million Dollar bond issue on the ballot that would finance the construction of a new Family Court building and renovate and upgrade the existing Civil Courts building and once that was accomplished to then educate and convince voters of the need to support the passage. On April 3, 2012, in the midst of difficult economic times, the voters of St. Louis County approved the bond issue. Plans for construction are underway.
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
The Bar has sponsored debates of political candidates for County Executive and Prosecuting Attorney, has held Law Day programs, presented mock trials, participated in Habitat For Humanity, offered a Lawyers Referral Program, sponsored an Explorer Post, law student scholarships, supported many charitable causes, and has held many outstanding social events and gatherings for its members, the Judges, and court personnel.
For decades the Association held an annual picnic for its members at Tilles Park and then moved the event to Shaw Park in Clayton. In recent years in an effort to show appreciation and gratitude to the Judges, court clerks, staff and personal in the courthouse the Association has invited them all to attend the annual picnic free of charge as our guests. Through the support and donations of its members and sponsors and the tireless efforts of Jill Lang, Executive Director the event now includes barbeque, adult beverages, gifts, attendance prizes, softball, karaoke and expressions of thanks and gratitude.
In 1968, The St. Louis County Bar Association received the ABA Award of Merit and most recently, the judges and staff of the 21st Judicial Circuit Court presented the Association and Thomas M. Lang an Award of Appreciation “For Their Tireless Dedication of Time, Commitment and Effort Toward the Passage of Proposition S April 3, 2012." Proposition S provides the funding for the Family Court addition and improvements to the current courthouse which is currently under construction which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016.
The St. Louis County Bar Association is recognized as 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.
Timothy J. Reichardt / President
Jamie L. Boock / President - Elect
Matthew Reh / Secretary
Matthew Radefeld / Treasurer
Mark J. Gaertner / Past - President 2016