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Changes and traditions at Missouri law schools

Vol. 78, No. 6 / November - December 2022


Missouri lawyers often have a deep sense of connection to their alma maters. Here, we take a look at some recent events and announcements coming from each of Missouri’s four law schools.

University of Missouri School of Law

It was a year of tiger pride at Mizzou Law. On Sept. 23-24, the school welcomed back nearly 500 alumni, faculty, students, and friends to celebrate 150 years of legal education. The event was also marked with a fundraiser, totaling more than $60,000 for student scholarships. Other reasons for celebration include an employment rate of 97.6% for the class of 2021 – 12th in the nation. Further, the class of 2022 passed the Missouri Bar Exam at a rate of 93%, which ranks second in the state. 

In the administrative arena, R. B. Price Professor of Law Paul Litton, is serving as interim dean. This appointment followed the announcement that Lyrissa Lidsky would step down from the deanship on July 4, 2022. Litton completed his seventh year as associate dean for research and faculty development in May 2022. To stay engaged with Mizzou Law, visit Law.Missouri.edu.

Journal Dec 2022 MU News

Speakers at Mizzou Law's anniversary celebration included Hon. Patricia Breckenridge (right), Chief Justice Paul Wilson (second from right), and Hon. Mary R. Russell (left), of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Photo courtesy of University of Missouri School of Law 


University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

Fresh off the heels of a 125-year anniversary, UMKC School of Law continues to provide legal education and research, with 429 J.D. students as of Fall 2022. Over the summer, the American Bar Association Family Law Section opted to move its Summer Trial Advocacy Institute to the UMKC campus, which remains one of only three U.S. law schools to have a journal devoted exclusively to family law. UMKC also places an emphasis on public service, pro bono, and use of technology to deliver legal services. In the 2021-22 academic year, over 30,000 hours of service were provided through the school’s 10 clinics, numerous internships, and pro bono program.

Change is also on the horizon at UMKC. The law school’s advocacy program recently welcomed Hon. Steve Leben, who joins the faculty after 27 years on the Kansas bench. In addition, a search is in progress for the next dean as Barbara Glesner Fines returns to full-time faculty. Learn more at Law.UMKC.edu.

Journal Dec 2022 UMKC News

In 2022, the ABA's Family Law Section opted to move its Summer Trial Advocacy Institute to the UMKC campus. Photo by Janet Rogers


Saint Louis University School of Law

This year marks the 40th anniversary of SLU LAW’s Center for Health Law Studies, a significant milestone for a program drafted on a cocktail napkin in 1981 by colleagues gathered for drinks. The Center has since been ranked as the No. 1 health law program by U.S. News and World Report – 16 times. SLU LAW is also producing award-winning students, with teams bringing home honors during the recent Elon Billings, Exum, & Frye National Moot Court Competition and the Midwest Region of the National Black Law Students Association competition.

Students are not the only ones making news. Prof. Afonso Seixas Nunes, who joined the faculty in 2021, has published a new book focused on the legality of autonomous weapons. In addition, professors Michael Duff, Michael Sinha, and Deborah Sundquist O’Malley joined the school this fall, and Dr. Kelly Dineen Gillespie will onboard in January 2023. Find more updates at SLU.edu/law.

Journal Dec 2022 SLU News  
 SLU LAW students brought home national honors during a recent moot court competition. Photo courtesy of Saint Louis University School of Law


Washington University School of Law

WashULaw has earned a reputation for attracting students from across the globe, with many choosing to stay in Missouri for their professional careers. The school recently expanded its scholarship award program to include customized awards for all students and guaranteed free tuition for low-income students. In addition, the application fee is now waived, and applicants may choose to redact their GPA or test scores during the admissions committee review. This offering is likely one of many reasons WashULaw is ranked as No. 16 by U.S. News & World Report and as the top law school for Black Students by Lawyers of Color.

Students at WashULaw have the option to get hands-on during their education, including in the Clinical Education Program which serves residents of the greater St. Louis area. Last year, students assisted with more than 325 eviction mediations and rental assistance counseling for over 100 households. Keep up to date with the school by visiting Law.WUSTL.edu or join WashULaw for an open house on Jan. 12, 2023.

Journal Dec 2022 Wash U News

WashULaw, based in St. Louis, recently made changes to its scholarship program.  Photo courtesy of Washington University School of Law