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2011 Most Influential Women Honoree: Jennifer Mueller

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As an attorney at Baird, Lightner, Millsap & Harpool PC, Jennifer Mueller deals with all aspects of the litigation process, including guiding clients through unfamiliar territory.

“My clients rely on me to help them navigate whatever legal issue they are facing,” she says. “Regardless of the nature of their dilemma, most clients are unfamiliar with the legal process.”

Mueller, a graduate of Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Neb., counts it a privilege that she is able to lead others, not only professionally but also in the civic arena. She is particularly passionate about promoting literacy and has been involved with the Ozarks Literacy Council as a volunteer or board member since 1999, including a previous stint as board president. During that term, Mueller says she helped lead OLC through the search for an executive director. She initiated two new programs at OLC that enable the organization to work with other nonprofits, including Ozarks Food Harvest’s backpack program that feeds needy students on weekends.

“Often, homes without food are homes without books. OLC’s program provides some of the students with books in their backpacks on a monthly basis,” Mueller says. “The ultimate goal of the program is to improve the literacy level of the student and break the cycle of illiteracy.”

A graduate of Leadership Springfield Class XVII, Mueller doesn’t limit her support to literacy. She has served on the board of directors of Springfield Ballet Inc., the human resources committee of Springfield Little Theatre and Missouri State University’s College of Arts and Letters Advisory Council.

Mueller also has worked with the local Girl Scout council for several years, including the corporate merger of five Girl Scout councils, including Dogwood Trails.

“She has demonstrated her leadership skills and continues to support the development of youth in Springfield,” says Jennifer Durbin, CEO of the Missouri Heartland Council. “We all know that Girl Scouts exists for girls, but women like (Mueller) ensure that our mission to serve them is fulfilled.”

Mueller says she’s had many mentors during her career, and returning the favor is important to her, including ongoing efforts to help young attorneys learn technical and practical aspects of practicing law. She also works to be a role model throughout the community.

“I recently spoke to a group of students at Reed Middle School about the importance of education and the legal profession,” she says. “I (demonstrated) positive qualities that hopefully they will apply to their own lives.”

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Most Influential Women.
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