People who work at Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Goza in Leawood, Kansas, take part in many community service activities, but the one that brings them all together each week to roll up their sleeves is sandwich-making. Every Tuesday, they put together more than 350 ham and cheese sandwiches for the City Union Mission, a homeless shelter in Kansas City. “It’s all hands on deck,” said partner Jim Bartimus, explaining that everyone at the firm participates, and some clients have joined in as well. “People love it,” he said. “It’s unusual.”
Bartimus started the tradition more than 22 years ago, and the firm hasn’t missed a week since. The firm buys the ingredients wholesale from a local grocery store. It started as 50 sandwiches, and then 100, and it grew from there; over the years, the firm has donated more than $100,000 to the cause.
People at the firm also volunteer together for other causes. Once a month, several of them volunteer at the local food pantry, and the firm allows paid time off for employees to participate. Through the nonprofit Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance and Operation Breakthrough, which supports children who live in poverty, some members of the firm read with kids weekly.
“For many years, the partners have encouraged all attorneys and staff members to participate in charity endeavors for whatever organizations they choose, as well as firm-supported work,” said Kim Millican, the firm’s business manager. “We must set the bar and be the example to others out there. We can all do more, all the time. We have to think about the impact we can have on others’ lives through our giving.”
Partner Chip Robertson started a charitable foundation, Christmas Present, Inc., that funds more than 500 gifts for families in need during the holiday season. He saw a need for children whose parents and family members couldn’t provide gifts for them, and he wanted to step in. The office now buys and wraps gifts to be distributed in the area.
Jim and Dana Bartimus started the Dana James Charitable Foundation to help children in need. They regularly contribute to causes that provide relief for children who need it. The firm has also contributed significantly to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Children’s Mercy Hospital, the local children’s hospital in Kansas City, to fund research.
Bartimus said that once, when he was getting ready to depose a local doctor he was suing, the doctor mentioned that he’d heard Bartimus had donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The doctor told him, “I can’t thank you enough,” explaining that his daughter has leukemia.
“There’s so much need out there,” Bartimus said. “We’re supposed to be lawyers and leaders in our community. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else does it.”