Firm Shareholder Melissa Schopfer was recently named to the 2016 class of Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s Up & Coming lawyers. Schopfer was among 58 attorneys who received the honor based on their professional excellence and ability to make a difference in the legal world and their communities.
An asbestos team leader at Simmons Hanly Conroy, Schopfer manages her own team of attorneys and legal staff. She and her team have litigated on behalf of hundreds of families over the last 10 years, recovering millions in settlements and verdicts.
“In addition to recovering compensation for my clients, my job is to make the legal process as easy as possible so they can focus on their medical treatment and the time they have left with their families,” Schopfer said in an interview with Missouri Lawyers Weekly announcing the recipients of the award.
Over the years, Schopfer has had the opportunity to help hundreds of mesothelioma patients nationwide. As an asbestos lawyer, Melissa develops strong relationships with her clients. She recounted one such time to the Missouri Lawyers Weekly.
“I traveled to Idaho for a client visit, and after talking with my client and his family for hours about his life and sharing stories, they invited me to stay for a home cooked dinner and to meet the extended family,” Schopfer said in the article.
This specific client was Bob Guinn, a mesothelioma warrior and rancher from Idaho with a close-knit family who loved him greatly. Bob was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 at 53-years-old. The doctors told him he had less than a year to live. Bob refused to accept that. With his family as his motivation, Bob fought the illness for four years.
In those four years, Schopfer and Bob became like family. They stayed in touch, even after his case resolved, and visited each other through the years. Together, they supported each other through the exciting moments of life, including when Schopfer’s children were born.
Sadly, Bob passed away in April 2014, leaving behind his wife, three children, grandchildren and friends like Schopfer. For Schopfer, clients like Bob keep her moving forward, fighting on behalf of her friends and clients so that one day, no one has to lose a friend or family member to an asbestos-related illness ever again.