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How Many Lawyers Are on the Ferguson Commission and Who Are They?

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 20, 2014 8:38 AM

On Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced 16 people would come together to form the Ferguson Commission, a panel appointed to help the community heal after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

According to The Associated Press, two attorneys will sit on the Ferguson commission, along with pastors, a community activist, a professor, and a detective, to name a few. And while some construction blogger is likely furiously typing about the owner of a Ferguson construction supply company's involvement, we're a bit more interested in the two lawyers.

So who are the lawyers on the Ferguson Commission?

Gabriel Gore: Partner at a St. Louis-Based Firm

Gabriel E. Gore, a partner at the St. Louis-based firm of Dowd Bennett LLP, is one of the two attorneys on the Ferguson Commission panel. According to his firm profile, Gore focuses on white-collar defense and complex civil litigation and has represented Fortune 500 companies and "high-ranking members of the executive and legislative branches of federal government."

Gore is licensed to practice in Washington, D.C., and Missouri, and he earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago. If like us, you're wondering how Gore might feel about the grand jury investigation in the Michael Brown shooting, consider this:

  • Gore's profile declares he was "successful in assisting companies in navigating the grand jury process and managing the risk associated with such investigations,"
  • Gore was previously employed as a federal prosecutor in St. Louis, and
  • He was part of the investigation into the feds' responsibility for the deaths of Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.

And the other "lawyer" is...

Felicia Pulliam: Adjunct Prof. at St. Louis Community College

Although the AP said there were two "lawyers" on the Ferguson Commission, the closest peer we could find to Gore is Felicia Pulliam, J.D. Her self-styled bio, quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, notes she was an adjunct professor at St. Louis Community College's Criminal Justice program for seven years. (It's not clear from reports, however, whether she has ever practiced.)

Pulliam also is the current Development Director for FOCUS, a leadership organization with a focus on civic engagement, community building, and connecting and developing diverse leaders. Pulliam graduated from Tulane Law School, but she isn't listed by either the Missouri or Louisiana bar associations. (We're all for leaders like Pulliam succeeding on a non-lawyer path with her J.D.; we're just uncertain about the AP calling her a lawyer.)

Pulliam was also the subject of a documentary film series called "The Truth About Trees," a look into trees' effect on the perceptions of poverty in a community. She seems like a good person to go to if a community needs to be revitalized.

So there you have them. Two members of the Ferguson Commission with law degrees and at least one with extensive practice experience. Hopefully this will prepare them well for the task ahead of them; the AP reports the Commission is expected to "make recommendations in a report due by September 2015."

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