14:05 PM

MoveMakers & NewsMakers for Apr. 29, 2021


See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."

St. Louis | Kansas City 

St. Louis

The Mound City Bar Association is proud to announce that Judge Kathy A. Surratt-States is the 2021 recipient of MCBA’s Legal Legends Award. Judge Surratt-States will be recognized on May 27 at a virtual awards reception. Dowd Bennett LLP is proud to sponsor this event.

Judge Surratt-States is the Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She was appointed to the bench in 2003, the first African American bankruptcy judge appointed in the Eighth Circuit and one of eight African American bankruptcy judges in the United States. Prior to her appointment, Judge Surratt-States was a longtime bankruptcy lawyer specializing in commercial litigation and foreclosures.

In addition to her legal and judicial responsibilities, Judge Surratt-States has served on several boards and commissions including the Regional Disciplinary Committee for the Supreme Court of Missouri, the St. Louis City Board of Election Commissioners, Catholic Charities of St. Louis, Mid-County YMCA, Good Shepherd Children and Family Services, Altrusa International of St. Louis, and the Gifted Resource Council.

Judge Surratt-States has also supported, mentored, and elevated many African American lawyers in St. Louis and beyond. For her work on the bench and in the bar, she has received several recognitions including the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis President’s Outstanding Service Award and the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Washington University School of Law.

In 2006, the MBCA established the Legal Legend Award to thank and pay homage to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the St. Louis legal profession and/or have been historical supporters of African American lawyers. Because of Judge Surratt-States’ distinguished and trailblazing career, and her devotion to a variety of causes in both the public and private sectors over the past 30 years, MCBA is honored and privileged to recognize her with this prestigious award.

The International Association of Defense Counsel has announced that J.Y. Miller, managing partner of Husch Blackwell LLP’s The Link virtual office, has accepted an invitation to join IADC, the preeminent invitation-only global legal organization for lawyers who represent corporate and insurance interests.

“I am truly honored to be invited to join the International Association of Defense Counsel,” Miller said. “I look forward to collaborating with leading defense lawyers in search of innovative approaches to serve our clients and advance our profession.”

A member of his firm’s executive board, Miller focuses his practice on serving as national coordinating counsel for toxic tort litigation. Previously, he worked as a prosecutor and criminal defense counsel while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Miller is also a member of the Defense Research Institute.

Miller received his J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and his B.S. (summa cum laude) from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Kansas City

The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation announces that Judge Susan Block, a lawyer with Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C., has been selected as 2021 Community Leader of the Year.

Judge Block returned to the practice of law after retiring as a circuit judge in 2004, with 25 years of judicial service. In her last judicial assignment, she was appointed to serve as the administrative judge of the Family Court. Recipient of the Andrew Jackson Higgins Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice, her work in the areas of family law and child advocacy has been recognized locally and internationally. Currently, she focuses her practice in family law matters, including divorce, modifications, juvenile, guardianships, school law, juvenile law, adoptions, paternity matters, grandparents’ visitation requests, and domestic partnership conflicts.

Judge Block has received numerous local awards for her work in child advocacy, prevention of domestic violence, and innovative programming for the Family Court. They include the St. Louis Bar Foundation Award, Missouri Coalition for Domestic Violence-St. Louis Region Person of the Year Award, Public Citizen of the Year Award given by the National Association of Social Workers Missouri Chapter, Metropolitan St. Louis YWCA Racial Justice Award, CASA Community Award, World of Children Award, National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section Founder’s Award and was honored by the Supreme Court of Missouri for her outstanding service to the St. Louis County Circuit Court.

An innovator and visionary, she was a founding member of the Washington University Project for Children and Youth, 2002-2005, and served on the first board of directors for the National Truancy Prevention Association and Lawyers for Equality. Judge Block was appointed by the Supreme Court of Missouri to its Committee on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, juvenile subcommittee, with a special focus on referrals to the court and alternatives to detention and commitments to the Department of Youth Services.

Judge Block is a graduate of Penn State University and the St. Louis University School of Law. She was also a participant in the John F. Kennedy School of Government for Senior Executives in Local Government. She is the mother of four children and the grandmother of four. Her colleagues view her as a lawyer’s lawyer and often seek out her advice in dealing with the Family Court.

The 2021 Greater Missouri Woman of the Year celebration is scheduled for July 21. Guests will attend in person or virtually in a hybrid in-person/virtual event from Springfield from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Attendees will be inspired to learn more about the honoree’s leadership experiences and contributions to the community. Carmelita Jeter, three-time Olympic medalist, world record holder and fastest woman alive, will also be participating in the event as a keynote speaker and will be recognized for her outstanding accomplishments. 


Gov. Mike Parson has appointed Todd Graves, partner with Graves Garrett, to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. He will serve a six-year term on the nine-member board.

The Board of Curators serves as the governing body of the University of Missouri System, which includes the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Graves earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri in 1988. He fills the sixth congressional slot on the Board of Curators, and his term will expire January 1, 2027.

“I’m privileged and honored to serve as a Curator and plan to fully invest my time and effort into the betterment of the entire University of Missouri System,” Graves said. “Four generations of my family, including my great grandfather, my father and one of my four children, in addition to my wife, have graduated from the University of Missouri, and my other three children are either attending classes or plan to attend classes at the university. I have great respect for each of the four campuses in the System, and I look forward to collaborating with the other diverse board members from across the state on initiatives that improve the educational experience for all University of Missouri students.”

At Graves Garrett, Graves represents clients nationwide before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. His areas of experience include white-collar criminal defense, political speech and election law, internal investigations, regulatory compliance, and complex commercial litigation.

Before forming Graves Garrett, Graves served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Prior to his role with the federal government, he was twice elected Platte County Prosecuting Attorney, in 1994 and 1998. At the time of his election in 1994, he was the youngest full-time prosecuting attorney in Missouri. He was appointed U.S. Attorney from his elected position.

Raised on a family farm near Tarkio, Missouri, Graves and his wife, Tracy, reside on a 270-acre farm north of Kansas City that has been in the family since 1867.


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