The new leader of the Missouri Bar has outlined an aggressive agenda for his one-year term.
Kansas City lawyer Charlie Harris is the new president of the Missouri Bar, which represents 28,000 lawyers. He steps into the role as the Bar defends the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan against what Harris calls unfair attacks. Harris says the Plan has served Missourians well for three-quarters of a century.
Defending the plan is the first of three goals Harris has. Harris also wants to promote diversity in Bar governance, which he says extends far beyond race. Harris says he wants lawyers from all backgrounds to have a seat at the table. Harris is the first black lawyer to be elected Bar president.
Harris also wants to start a college loan forgiveness program for lawyers entering public service, such as those who become public defenders or prosecutors, jobs that pay less than lawyers in private practice.
Harris is a defense counsel, specializing in commercial litigation. He is a partner in the law firm of Berkowitz, Oliver, Williams, Shaw & Eisenbrandt, L.L.P and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He succeeds C. Ronald Baird of Springfield as Bar president.