SPRINGFIELD - Sidney Pearson was awarded the Philip S. Huffman Memorial Award by Legal Services of Southern Missouri during its board retreat.
The Philip S. Huffman Memorial Award recognizes the commitment of volunteer time to Legal Services of Southern Missouri clients by a private attorney in its rural service area. The award was established in memory of Philip S. Huffman who served as a board member of Legal Services of Southern Missouri from 1996 until his death in 2005. Mr. Huffman was involved in the development of Legal Aid of Southwest Missouri in the mid-1970s. He practiced law in Hartville, Missouri for over 37 years, and had a strong commitment to Legal Services and helping low-income persons in Southern Missouri.
Pearson began his legal career in 1982 and enrolled in the Meramec Area Legal Aid Corporation judicare and pro bono programs. The attorneys serving on the judicare and pro bono panels ensure equal access to justice for vulnerable families and individuals who would not otherwise be able to obtain legal assistance.
Pearson accepted an average of 25 cases per year, until the mid-1980s at which time he served as a part-time attorney of Meramec Area Legal Aid. In 1995, Pearson was hired as the executive director of Meramec Area Legal Aid, and served in that position until 1998 when he was appointed as the prosecuting attorney of Crawford County. In January 2001, Meramec Legal Aid, Southeast Missouri Legal Services and Legal Aid of Southwest Missouri merged creating Legal Services of Southern Missouri. During the past six years, Pearson has handled 115 bankruptcy cases for low-income people living in rural Missouri on behalf of Legal Services of Southern Missouri.
Legal Services of Southern Missouri provides free legal assistance to people living at or below poverty level. The service area includes the counties of Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Cedar, Christian, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Gasconade, Greene, Howell, Iron, Laclede, Lawrence, Madison, Maries, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, St. Genevieve, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney, Texas, Wayne, Webster, and Wright. Legal Services of Southern Missouri has offices located in Springfield, Rolla, Charleston, Cape Girardeau, and West Plains.