Attorneys in Missouri Attorney General’s Office Receive Spate of Awards

Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) – Recently, some of the talented attorneys in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office have been awarded for their hard work and dedication to serving the people of Missouri.  Assistant Attorneys General Nathan Aquino and Jennifer Szczucinski were both nominated for awards from the Missouri Bar Foundation, and members of the Solicitor General team were award the “Best Brief” award from the National Association of Attorneys General.

Nathan Aquino, an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Section, was awarded the David J. Dixon Appellate Advocacy Award by the Missouri Bar Foundation.  The David J. Dixon Appellate Advocacy Award was created by The Missouri Bar Foundation to recognize outstanding achievement in appellate practice by young lawyer members of The Missouri Bar.  The award is named after the late Judge Dixon, whose tenacity, professionalism and judicial skills epitomize outstanding appellate practice.

Jennifer Szczucinski, an Assistant Attorney General in the Public Safety Section and newly minted Special Assistant U.S. Attorney with the Safer Streets Initiative in St. Louis, was awarded the Lon O. Hocker award by the Missouri Bar Foundation.  According to the Missouri Bar Foundation, this award is given to three young lawyer members of The Missouri Bar, who are under the age of 40 on September 30 of the year the award is to be presented, from the three areas of St. Louis, Kansas City, and all other remaining counties.  The recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated balance between zealousness and honor, strength and courtesy, and confidence and respect.  They must possess a quick wit in the courtroom that is supported by meticulous preparation in the pursuit of truth. The award is named for Lon O. Hocker, who practiced in St. Louis for more than 50 years.  Born in November of 1873, he became one of the leading trial lawyers in Missouri.  In a letter to the Foundation, his wife Mary wrote that Mr. Hocker believed trial lawyers can and should fearlessly uphold justice by searching for truth and fighting for fairness for all.

Last but not least, for their work in Bucklew v. Precythe, Solicitor General John Sauer, Deputy Solicitors Joshua Divine, Julie Marie Blake, and Peter Reed, and Assistant Attorneys General Mike Spillane and Caroline Coulter were awarded the Best Brief Award by the National Association of Attorneys General.  The Best Brief Awards honor the appellate practitioners from state attorneys general offices who have exhibited superb work in representing their states before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Thirty-seven briefs were submitted for consideration this year.  A panel of 10 independent Supreme Court experts, each of whom is a leading member of the Supreme Court bar, reviewed all submissions and selected three winners.

“The brief reflected a true team effort of many attorneys in our Public Safety and Solicitor groups.  The Office proudly commends Mike Spillane, in particular, for his diligent efforts in litigating at every stage of this case,” said Solicitor General John Sauer.

“It’s an incredible privilege to be able to work with such talented lawyers, and I’m proud of the hard work and dedication that they bring to the Attorney General’s Office,” said Attorney General Schmitt.  “Congratulations to Nathan, Jennifer, and the Solicitor General team for demonstrating what it means to work in the Attorney General’s Office – professionalism, dedication, and service.”