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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Trusted Advisers Up-and-Comer: Cathryn McNary

Neale & Newman LLP

Posted online

Cathryn McNary realizes when people come to her for legal help, she has an opportunity to make them feel heard and cared for. Seizing that opportunity is what drives her to be an attorney.

“As we all know too well, a legal problem often involves far more than the law; it is personal and often invades many aspects of your life,” she says. “When a person comes to me for help, I listen, I sympathize, I understand, then I solve.”

McNary has worked at Neale & Newman LLP in Springfield for three years, but she became a licensed attorney in April 2020. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University and continued her education at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor.

In her first year practicing at Neale & Newman, McNary managed 175 clients. She practices agricultural law, estate planning, farm succession planning, elder law and probate.

“Often these small and family businesses, including small farms, have run independently without professional assistance or guidance, so business planning is essential to the success and sustainability of those businesses,” McNary says.

McNary’s passion lies in ensuring her clients understand that she is more than just their legal counsel. Her clients call her to tell her about their new grandbaby or their prize-winning horse because she emphasizes building personal relationships in her practice.

One of McNary’s biggest aspirations is to strengthen relationships between the legal community and rural communities.

“Many rural communities and their constituents have a distrust or distaste for those in the legal community, often leaving those communities to fend for themselves at a time when they need help the most,” McNary says. “As polarization is one of the greatest battles we face on a daily basis, a strengthening of relationships between others, especially those in vastly different communities, will only serve to benefit us all.”

Judson B. Poppen, a partner at Neale & Newman, says McNary quickly became a valuable asset to the firm.

“(Cathryn) has been developing an excellent reputation as a good decision maker,” Poppen says. “She advises clients on important trust and business issues. Moreover, she also advises more experienced attorneys in the office so that they can best assist the firm clients.”

Outside of practicing law, McNary recently joined the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and the Missouri Agribusiness Association. She also is a member of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ Young Professional Advisory Council, where she assists in planning and organizing fundraising events to benefit the nonprofit’s programs.

“My clients trust me on a personal level as well as an intellectual level,” McNary says. “My clients know that I will put in the work for them to achieve their goals.”

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