13
June
2019
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03:52 PM
America/Chicago

Document dumps, pre-embryos, anniversaries and more: Top takeaways from the May-June 2019 Journal of The Missouri Bar

Summary

As The Missouri Bar marks its 75th anniversary June 16, JournalAssistant Editor Hannah Kiddoo Frevert guides readers through the organization’s legacy of service to lawyers, the courts, the justice system and the citizens of Missouri.

by Gary Toohey, editor and director of communication

June 2019 Top Takeaways

As The Missouri Bar marks its 75th anniversary June 16, JournalAssistant Editor Hannah Kiddoo Frevert guides readers through the organization’s legacy of service to lawyers, the courts, the justice system and the citizens of Missouri.

In his “President’s Page,” 2018-19 Missouri Bar President Ray Williams reflects on the very reason the state’s lawyers sought an integrated bar in 1944—to work together to achieve common goals—and how that idea continues to help the organization improve the law and the justice system, enable lawyers to better serve their clients, and enhance Missourians’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities through the rule of law. 

More and more, people are turning to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in cases where infertility or other medical issues are a barrier to the formation of families. Although the Missouri case of McQueen v. Gardner found pre-embryos property deserving special respect and subject to marital division, it did not decide if a valid agreement regarding pre-embryo disposition is enforceable in Missouri. Considering this uncertainty, authors Mary Beck and Joanna Beck Wilkinson urge lawyers to carefully craft agreements related to all aspects of ART.

Despite the specific provisions of Missouri Supreme Court Rule 58.01(c)(4), requests for production of documents can all too often result in the dreaded “document dump”—an avalanche of paper or electronic records that appear to be in no discernible order. Because the way these materials are produced can potentially make or break a case, author Ferne P. Wolf  encourages practitioners to know their rights and obligations—both when producing and receiving documents. 

When the Second Continental Congress needed someone to write the Declaration of Independence, it turned to 33-year-old Virginia lawyer Thomas Jefferson. But the result—a document that Winston Churchill cited as the foremost expression of “the great principles of freedom and the rights of man …”—would not have been nearly as enduring without the editing of Jefferson’s draft by other members of Congress. Although Jefferson nursed a lifelong grudge against those who had the temerity to polish his original version, “Writing It Right” columnist Douglas E. Abrams notes the story of the Declaration of Independence  has a strong lesson for contemporary lawyers:  Any written document can be made more effective by sharp editing.