Executive Summary: Learning and sharing
Vol. 78, No. 4/ July - August 2022
Mischa Buford Epps
Mischa Buford Epps is executive director of The Missouri Bar.
In June, I had the opportunity to attend the much-anticipated unveiling of the new Freedom Suits Memorial in St. Louis. The 14-foot bronze statute stands tall on the east plaza of the Civil Courts Building downtown, serving as a reminder of many things.
It reminds us of the brave enslaved plaintiffs who, decades ago, fought for their freedom.
It reminds us of the role our courts have in applying law and maintaining justice for all.
And it reminds us that we, as lawyers and judges, play an essential role in our legal system and the defense of the rule of law. We have the responsibility to continue learning how we can even better serve our clients and communities. As Hon. David C. Mason noted during the unveiling ceremony, “We have to do better every day.”
As executive director of The Missouri Bar, I see first hand how lawyers across our state are working hard to do better by volunteering in their communities, participating in bar committees, and improving access to the legal system and the quality of legal services. Missouri lawyers are always eager to learn – and always eager to help.
That was clear during the 2022 Solo & Small Firm Conference in June. It was fantastic to interact with so many of you, and it was the first time I’d spoken face- to-face with some attendees – though I’d chatted with them via Zoom. The comradery and enthusiasm that solo and small firm practitioners bring to the conference was readily apparent during the many learning sessions and networking opportunities. Special thanks to conference chair Maureen Brady and all who served on the planning committee.
I hope to see many of you Sept. 14-16 as we gather in Springfield for the 2022 Annual Meeting and Judicial Conference. Annual Meeting will feature multiple educational offerings, networking, and opportunities to celebrate and commemorate our proud profession. In one of our plenary sessions, Judge Mason and Prof. Anne Twitty will discuss the history of the freedom suits and their impact on law and society. Attendees will also hear the story of Milly Sawyers and her quest for justice in Missouri.
In addition, Lucinda H. Luetkemeyer, Stephen S. Davis, and Charles W. Hatfield will take to the main stage to speak on laws and litigation surrounding free and fair elections, a particularly timely topic as we continue to peel back the layers of the Jan. 6 events and head into the full swing of the 2022 election cycle.
These meeting plenaries are an opportunity to grow our knowledge – of both current legal matters and the history that surrounds them. In turn, we can share that information with our colleagues and fellow Missourians. If you’re like me, you’re hearing comments from those around you regarding recent court decisions, elections, the judicial process, and day-to-day challenges facing Missourians of all walks of life. Many people are anxious, upset, or simply confused.
As lawyers, we can use our voices to offer some clarity. We can share our knowledge – about the legal system and our courts – with those we encounter. Doing so helps create a more informed society that better understands our legal system and its work.