Alumni Profile: Crista Hogan (JD’88)
Monday, December 21, 2009
When Greene County, Missouri, needed lawyers to step up for the good of its people, the plea for help did not fall on deaf ears. Leading the way in an effort to provide justice for all was Crista Hogan (JD ’88), executive director of the Springfield Metropolitan Association and Foundation.
In fall 2008, Greene County Presiding Judge Dan Conklin was notified that within a month the public defenders’ office would be forced to begin declining cases. The bar association leadership, including Hogan, launched a volunteer project to help solve the problem by taking probation violations off the public defenders’ hands.
“The program allowed the bar to efficiently conduct training for all of our volunteer attorneys,” Hogan said. “The program was launched in November 2008, and we currently have 55 volunteer attorneys.”
The program has already helped more than 100 indigent defendants and was commended by Laura Stith, Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, in her 2009 State of the Judiciary address to the Missouri General Assembly.
Under Hogan’s leadership, the Springfield Metropolitan Bar also established a project known as “Sus Derechos: Your Rights.” The free program reached out to the burgeoning Hispanic immigrant population in Missouri to provide education in the existing laws and legal system and to try to overcome the language and cultural barriers that may exist.
“I think there is an especially significant impact when lawyers are doing service work that makes the highest and greatest use of their legal education and training,” Hogan said. “Most importantly, I think the impact of these projects is significant because in many cases, they serve a population that lacks the resources and connections to get assistance.”
Before joining the bar association, Hogan was president of the Junior League of Springfield. She has also been involved with Parents and Advocates of Gifted Education (PAGE), National Association of Mental Illness, the Kitchen Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Ozarks Literacy Counsel, Junior Achievement, and Campfire Boys and Girls.