Shook Partner to Lead Kansas Legal Services
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Longtime Shook Partner Matthew Keenan will serve as Executive Director of Kansas Legal Services (KLS) effective January 1, 2023. Keenan, who advocated for global clients as part of the firm’s renowned Product Liability Litigation Practice, will lead the nonprofit organization that provides equal access to justice for low-income Kansans across the state’s 105 counties.
“I have benefitted from a firm culture and history of a strong commitment to social justice and civil legal aid,” said Keenan. “Our managing partner, Madeleine McDonough, has always supported firm partners devoting significant time to these efforts, and this was certainly the case with me.”
Shook has a long history of handling highly visible pro bono cases including representing the family of Nancy Cruzan in a “right to die” case which went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. More recently, Shook reached an important milestone as part of its commitment to serve children and families. The Kansas Foster and Adoptive Children Scholarship Fund, founded by Shook, reached $1 million in scholarships awarded since the program began in 2001. Kansas high school students formerly in the foster care system are able to receive scholarships for university, college and trade schools. The program continues to this day.
Keenan has been active in pro bono causes for much of his legal career including serving on the board of directors for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) since 2019. The LSC is the single largest provider of civil legal assistance for low-income people in the nation. Keenan acted as chair of Shook’s Pro Bono Committee for eight years with a particular focus on adoptions in Kansas and veterans’ issues. Twice he has earned Shook’s William G. Zimmerman Pro Bono Award as well as the Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar.
While his new role will be as administrator overseeing 50 attorneys, 135 staff and 11 offices, he will handle his own pro bono cases while encouraging private law firms and lawyers to get involved with helping those who need legal services the most.
“When I got involved taking cases for those who can’t afford an attorney, and certainly not a BigLaw attorney, I never realized that the life I would be changing would be my own,” said Keenan.
Keenan earned his law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas. His colleague Jennifer Stevenson served as president on the board of Kansas Legal Services. Current Executive Director Marilyn Harp has served in that capacity for 17 years and is retiring.
“I have a vision for KLS,” said Keenan. “They have a very dedicated and talented team, and I look forward to helping them carry out their mission. It’s my next chapter of what has been a very rewarding career.”
To speak to a Shook attorney, contact Shook Director of Communications Heather McMichael, 816.389.0419, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Founded in 1889, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. has 18 offices in the United States and London, with attorneys and professional staff serving clients in the health, science and technology sectors in areas ranging from product liability defense and business litigation to intellectual property prosecution and litigation, environmental and toxic tort, privacy and data security and regulatory counseling.
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SOURCE Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.