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2011 Most Influential Women Honoree: Deborah Dodge

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Deborah Dodge says her efforts as a trial attorney require her to be a leader as she works to make sure everyone has access to the courts system.

“All of us, no matter what our economic or social circumstance, have a right to a jury trial,” she says. “I … can shepherd any citizen through that process based on the Seventh Amendment of our constitution.”

Dodge earned a bachelor’s in communications from Central Methodist College and a juris doctor from Washburn University School of Law. After nearly a year as a law clerk in the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern Division, she joined Hall, Ansley, Rodgers & Sweeney PC in June 1994 and is now a shareholder with the firm.

“I make it a goal to encourage a concept of teamwork among the staff so that everyone in the office is invested with our clients and their futures,” she says.
David Ansley, a partner with the firm, says Dodge is the practice’s go-to source for most appellate issues.

“Not only does she participate with appellate issues in cases she has tried, she also formally handles appeals for other lawyers in the office and, from time to time, has accepted appellate referrals from attorneys outside our office,” he says.

Dodge says she was honored in 2010 to be nominated to fill a vacancy on the Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission, left by the Hon. John Parrish who served as a judge for nearly two decades. She says the nomination was personal, as she began her legal career under Parrish’s direction, serving as his law clerk.

“While I was not ultimately appointed for the position, I was proud of my effort during the application process and humbled by the experience,” she says.

Dodge is a member of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association and The Missouri Bar, as well as the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys. She was recently chosen to serve on MATA’s Women’s Caucus, which encourages female attorneys to represent the interests and protect the rights of individual plaintiffs.

“As a female attorney litigating cases before juries and arguing legal issues before courts of appeals, my hope is that those who observe me would encourage their daughters, nieces and acquaintances to pursue legal careers, if that is a dream,” Dodge says.

She volunteers her services through Legal Services of Southern Missouri. She also recently worked at the Joplin Relief Center to provide immediate assistance to those with pressing legal needs after the May 22 tornado.

“I believe it is crucial to volunteer and provide free legal services to those who cannot afford assistance,” she says.

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