From Growing Up on a Hog Farm to Becoming One of America’s Best Trial Lawyers, Craig S. O’Dear

One of the most stressful jobs is that of a lawyer. These professionals have to spend extended hours on critical cases to become successful and stand out in the competitive market. Despite their hard work and efforts, lawyers still encounter widespread distrust of their profession. Regardless, there are lawyers who have earned the respect of the public with their dynamic portfolio and exceptional skills. These lawyers acquire top rank in their profession, not just because of their top-notch judgment or analytical skills, negotiation power, or research skills. They gain attention due to their perseverance, attitude, and determination.

Craig Steven O’Dear, an American lawyer, consistently recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers since 2006, is one that has achieved top ranking in the law industry. He is a corporate litigator and legal advisor who has established himself as one of the best corporate trial lawyers in the country.

Stepping into the World of Law

Craig’s father, H.C. O’Dear, was a farmer and owned a hog farm south of Lewistown. Craig was born on June 26, 1957, in northeast Missouri to H.C. O’Dear and Martha Lou O’Dear, who was an English teacher. Craig attended Highland High School in Ewing, Missouri. After completing his high school education, he attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology on an athletic scholarship. In 1979, Craig graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He developed an interest in law and earned a degree in law from Vanderbilt University in 1982.

Upon graduating from law school, Craig moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and started practicing law. He joined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in 1988, launching the firm’s Kansas City office, and became a partner in 1988. The law firm has its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. His expertise ranges from intellectual property litigation, product liability litigation to class action lawsuits, commercial litigation, and other corporate legal matters. He was recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal as “Best of the Bar” in business and product liability litigation multiple times. In addition, Lawdragon magazine named O’Dear one of the Top 500 Leading Litigators in America in 2006.

Establishing a Reputation for Public Service

Besides being one of the best trial lawyers in the United States, Craig S. O’Dear also stepped into politics. In January 2018, Craig announced a campaign for the United States Senate. He ran against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill. Unlike, McCaskill, O’Dear was running as an independent candidate as a part of a Denver-based national movement of independents called Unite America. Moreover, O’Dear rejected the idea of caucusing with either party if he got elected to the Senate. He stated, “We need innovation in politics. This caucus system that the United States Senate has used for decades… it has brought gridlock to the United States Senate, which used to be known as the world’s greatest deliberative body.” His approach in politics was unique, and in recent history, no member of the Senate has used this approach. To get his name on the ballot, he submitted more than 20,000 signatures from the citizens of Missouri. The effort was unsuccessful, but Craig won nearly 35,000 votes in support of his innovative ideas and built a reputation as a leader in the independent movement.

Raising a Voice Against Injustice

While helping corporate entities handle their legal matters effectively, and trying to change the face of politics in the country, Craig is raising a voice against a greater issue. He has served as a member of the advisory board of the Midwest Innocence Project. It is a non-profit organization that works to free the innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted for crimes they did not commit. There are more than 20,000 prisoners in the United States who are serving a punishment for a crime for which they were wrongfully convicted.

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