Steven N. Cousins, an Armstrong Teasdale partner and a nationally-recognized bankruptcy practitioner, will receive the Dr. Jerome Williams Leadership Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion from the Royal Vagabonds Foundation. One of the foundation’s highest and most coveted awards, it is presented annually to two people who have made an impact in the St. Louis community.
Cousins will be among those honored at the 2016 Celebration of Leadership Luncheon on Feb. 13, 2016. In 2014, he received the Extraordinary African American Trailblazer of St. Louis award from the Royal Vagabonds Foundation.
“Steve is very active in the St. Louis community, and is especially passionate about education and healthcare initiatives, and organizations that drive diversity,” said Jovita Foster, partner and chair of Armstrong Teasdale’s Diversity Committee. “I commend him on receiving this great honor from the Royal Vagabonds Foundation. We at the firm are all so appreciative of his continued leadership and partnership.”
Royal Vagabonds started in the early 1930s as a social club for young men of color who wanted to participate in higher forms of social activities unavailable to them at the time. Eventually the related charitable organization was formed and today the foundation provides support to inner-city schools, youth programs and scholarships throughout the St. Louis area.
Cousins is the founder of the firm’s Financial Restructuring, Reorganization and Bankruptcy practice group. When he was hired by Armstrong Teasdale in 1981, he was the firm’s first African American lawyer, its first African American partner in 1987 and later the first African American to serve on the firm’s Executive Committee, a position he held for more than 10 years.
In Missouri, Cousins was the first African American to be listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for his work in bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights law. He has been listed in Best Lawyers consistently for more than 20 years. He has also been named for many years as a Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyer, listed in Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the country’s top five bankruptcy lawyers, and received the Brotherhood Sisterhood Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis. In addition, Cousins has received numerous awards from the NAACP, St. Louis American and St. Louis Business Journal.
An active community leader, Cousins served for more than 12 years as general counsel and presently serves as an executive committee member of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. He is vice-chairman and board of trustees member of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and an honorary board of trustees member of the St. Louis Art Museum. For 13 years, he served as the initial co-chair of the St. Louis Internship Program, which gives new hope and direction to inner city youth.
Cousins is a co-founder and former co-chair of the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation and a former community advisory board member of the University of Missouri-St. Louis Center for Ethics in Public Life. He serves as outside general counsel for Danny Ludeman’s Concordance Academy of Leadership, a path-breaking program to reduce recidivism in St. Louis and beyond. Cousins has served on more than 20 other civil boards, and participates in the Special Friends Extended mentoring program, which serves the Jennings School District.
Ellen Sherberg, the former publisher of the St. Louis Business Journal, also received this year’s award.
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