Matthew Russell knows most people come to him because they have to, not because they want to, and he views his job as an opportunity to serve.
“In my role as an attorney, I come into contact with people who are going through some of the most difficult times of their lives,” Russell says. “I am not there just to shuffle the client through the system. My goal is to help them see that they will make it through.
“These are opportunities for my clients to grow stronger, and I get to assist them with that every single day. That assistance is an opportunity that few get to take part in and one I cherish about my career.”
Russell began his law career helping people in a different way: prosecuting those who committed crimes. Russell joined the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in 2003, where he worked almost nine years. He dealt with major crimes, including burglary, robberies, assaults and homicides and monitored child-support enforcement. When Russell was promoted to first assistant attorney of general crimes in 2010, he was responsible for training all new prosecutors.
“I was charged with teaching each of these young attorneys directly out of law school that they, in fact, did not already know everything,” Russell says. “I had the opportunity to mold them into good prosecutors but, more importantly, start down the road to being great attorneys.”
In June 2012, Russell left his office with Greene County to open a law firm focusing on family and criminal law in nine counties across southwest Missouri.
“Leaving a steady paycheck and taking the leap into private practice is one some have the courage to take. Leaving without a single client to take with you is a leap some might even call crazy,” Russell says.
But he says the leap paid off. He’s helped hundreds of individuals with legals problems and considers his practice to be thriving.
“It is a leap that I have not regretted for a moment,” he says.
Russell’s desire to advocate for his clients to the best of his ability extends to his beliefs about serving his community. He is a graduate of Leadership Springfield and has served on the board since 2009, including as president and several co-chairs. Russell also has been involved with multiple organizations, including serving as a family law volunteer for Harmony House.
One of his favorite activities is teaching character education to fifth-graders at Wilson’s Creek School.
“This is my longest-running volunteer activity, because I simply have come to love doing this,” Russell says. “I get to talk with these students about how their actions can have consequences to their friends, their family and their own future.”[[In-content Ad]]