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Missouri Bar unifies communications efforts into one department

After decades of working closely together, The Missouri Bar’s communications and media relations teams officially merged this month into one department.  

The newly combined communications department will communicate and promote, using traditional and new media, the wide range of services and resources The Missouri Bar provides to help lawyers even better serve their clients. Communications efforts also include engaging and informing Missouri citizens about how the law impacts their daily lives.  

The unification follows the retirement of Gary Toohey, who retired Dec. 31, 2020, after 36 years as editor of the Journal of The Missouri Bar and director of communications.  

Missouri Bar Executive Director Mischa Buford Epps said two experienced bar employees will lead the newly merged department. Farrah Fite, who served as media relations director since 2012, is the new communications director and leads the merged department. Joining Fite is Hannah Kiddoo Frevert, who now serves as the assistant communications director and new editor of the Journal of The Missouri Bar. Communications Coordinator Jessica Long and Assistant Editor and Communications Coordinator Nicole Roberts complete the team. 

“The retirement of The Missouri Bar’s long-time communications director and editor of The Journal of The Missouri Bar presented a good opportunity to merge the communications and media relations departments to improve coordination of our messaging and communication strategies across multiple platforms,” Epps said. “I am confident that the talented team members of the new, merged department will do a great job in communicating the bar’s priorities to our members and the public.” 

Fite has been the bar’s touchpoint with the media since 2012. She helped spearhead the bar’s digital communications efforts during her tenure. She also works with the Board of Governors and bar’s officers when developing message maps for key issues, speech writing and presentations. Fite’s additional responsibilities include serving as staff liaison for several programs, including the board’s Strategic Planning Committee, the independent Judicial Performance Review Committee established by Supreme Court of Missouri Rule 10.50, and the Missouri Press-Bar Commission.  

“I am excited to work with such a talented and dedicated team to communicate with Missouri lawyers and the public on the platforms they prefer,” Fite said. “Gary’s legacy inspires us to continually improve our efforts to connect with members of the bar.” 

Before joining the bar, Fite headed up communications for the Missouri Senate. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and received her undergraduate degree in political science and international relations from Rhodes College. She is a former journalist having worked in local television and as an associate producer at ABC News in Washington, D.C.  

Frevert joined The Missouri Bar in 2015 and later became the assistant editor of the Journal. In her new role as editor, she helps develop communication strategies and digital content. She also coordinates the Journal of The Missouri Bar, which is the only publication in Missouri distributed to every lawyer licensed in the state. Frevert is the first woman to be editor of the Journal, which is published six times a year.  

Frevert previously served as assistant editor for the Texas Bar Journal and has a history of producing content for government agencies, hospitals, and regional magazines. Frevert earned a B.S. in communication studies from Central Methodist University and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

As the communications coordinator, Long handles much of the information that is disseminated through the Citizenship Education Department, the public website at MissouriLawyersHelp.org and social media. She also edits audio and video projects, as well as assists with other communications projects. She joined The Missouri Bar’s communications team in 2019.  

A graduate of Columbia College, Long has dedicated most of her career to nonprofit and government work. Before coming to the bar, she spent 14 years coordinating projects and managing communications for the Community Action Network, an anti-poverty organization.  

Roberts is the newest addition to the merged department, having joined The Missouri Bar in December 2020. She helps create digital content and develop communication strategies, as well as assists with coordinating and editing the Journal. 

Before joining the bar, she held several positions at the Jefferson City News Tribune, including community engagement editor, business reporter and city government reporter. She has also produced content for several other Missouri newspapers and national music-related magazines. Roberts earned a B.S. in print and internet journalism from Missouri State University. 

Stay up to date with the state bar’s news for Missouri lawyers and the public at news.mobar.org