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Law startup opens, others welcome new partners

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Law firms across the Queen City are experiencing changes in names, management, partners and location. While one firm saw a partner retire, others are promoting from within and one, in particular, opened shop just in time for the new year.

Lydia Seifner, a graduate of Drury University and Ozark High School, opened the doors Dec. 28, 2017, to Springfield Family Law LLC. After completing law school and earning her master’s degree in psychology at Valparaiso University, Seifner worked for Wyatt Law and Associates LLC and Stange Law Firm PC before starting her own company in Springfield. Seifner said she wanted to return to Greene County because of the high rates of domestic and child abuse. The number of reported child abuse incidents in Missouri rose from 62,460 reports in 2012 to 72,388 in 2016, according to a report from the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Children’s Division. The report showed Greene County had 5,012 reports of child abuse in 2016, which was the most of any county in the state.

“Becoming a guardian ad litem was the whole goal,” Seifner said.

A guardian ad litem is an individual appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a minor child in legal proceedings, including divorce, child abuse, custody and neglect, according to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary.

Seifner said she used $3,000 of her own capital to fund the startup, in addition to about $2,000 from a store credit card for office supplies. Currently, Seifner is the only employee at Springfield Family Law.

“I do what every law office does, but I do it all myself,” she said. “I am the office manager, paralegal, bookkeeper and lawyer.”

She declined to disclose her number of clients, saying there are “a few.”

Seifner said the biggest reason for starting the firm was to put people first.

“Springfield Family Law is focused on putting people before profits,” she said. “I’m actually interested in helping people. People will get a unique experience when they walk into this office.”

Ushering in the new
Two Springfield lawyers played a role in Andereck, Evans, Lewis, Figg & Battagler LLC’s name change. Rod Widger retired from Andereck, Evans, Widger, Lewis & Figg LLC after 35 years at the firm. Shawn Battagler, a 1999 University of Missouri graduate, is now the firm’s managing partner while working out of Springfield as the branch manager.

“Maintaining this client base for as long as we have, I wouldn’t have this practice without the people before me,” Battagler said. “My hope is to grow the firm, the client base and develop lawyers who clients can trust.”

On Jan. 1, 2018, Hamburg, Lyons & Clouse LLC officially made Holly Clouse a partner, changing the firm’s name to include her. Brian Hamburg said Clouse, who started working for the firm in January 2013, became a partner after the firm mulled the decision for a couple of years.

“We are very fortunate to have her established expertise and for her to be able to continue her practice,” Hamburg said of Clouse.

Clouse is the firm’s primary probate and trust administration attorney and also works in estate planning, probate and trust litigation, business succession planning and business law and litigation.

“I am in my 50s. So, looking at someone tied to the community and who is successful, it ensures the continuity of this law firm and for the benefits of its clients,” Hamburg said. “We prepare wills and trusts, stuff that takes decades, so continuity is big for our clients.”

Hamburg declined to release the firm’s current revenue, however he said Clouse has more than 190 active files for the firm, and that in 2017 alone, she was responsible for over 80 new matters.

“She continues to see an increase in referrals from her existing clients, which we take as a strong showing of client satisfaction,” he said.

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