Meet #MOLawyers: Judge E. Richard Webber
Vol. 78, No. 5 / September-October 2022
Hon. E. Richard Webber is a senior district judge for the U.S. District Court of Missouri-Eastern District. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, Webber was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 1967.
What is one often undervalued/overlooked skill that you think a judge must have?
Never seek to glorify yourself in making judicial decisions.
What is your favorite memory from your legal career?
While practicing law, I represented many people who could not afford to pay anything for legal services. I recall, after serving as state court judge and as a federal judge 41 years ago, prevailing on behalf of indigent clients facing powerful civil opponents and well-prepared prosecuting lawyers. Those are my favorite memories.
You make it a mission to meet one-on-one with every person you have sentenced to prison once they are released. Why meet with parolees?
I was sending too many people back to prison for violating conditions of supervised release. I meet with parolees and tell them face-to-face at the corner of a table that I personally care about them and explain they can get college credits or a good-paying job. If they perform well on supervised release and get a recommendation from their probation officer for early discharge, I will take them to lunch with the probation officer. I have objectively redirected many people into better lives. This is the best thing I have done as a judicial officer.
What advice would you give to new lawyers?
Hard work is something we can all do to overcome more intelligent opponents in law practice, and extra effort can serve anyone in a judicial role. Seek an intern role in a law firm, public defender office, or prosecutor’s office. Be honest, wear the title of lawyer as a badge of honor, and always seek to serve others, setting aside prideful behavior.
If you had to give a lecture on one thing, what would it be?
“What can I do to resurrect and protect the American Dream?”
Editor’s note: These responses have been edited for clarity and brevity. Do you know someone who should be featured in Meet #MOLawyers? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.