The early bird gets the law degree

University of Missouri School of Law student Evan Miller grew up on a potato farm in Idaho. He’ll soon be headed to Hawaii for one of the most sought-after federal clerkship positions.

Evan Miller portrait

May 8, 2023
Contact: Deidra Ashley,

At 6 a.m. on a cool summer morning, most 11-year-olds are still snuggled down in bed. Evan Miller, on the other hand, was already up and moving irrigation lines through his family’s potato farm in Rupert, Idaho.

In addition to his irrigation responsibilities, Miller helped his family conduct research on the farm — a task that eventually led to his father and grandfather acting as expert witnesses on crop loss cases. As Miller watched attorneys help farmers, he was inspired to also pursue a degree in law in help others.

Now an adult, Miller is set to graduate this weekend with a degree from the MU School of Law.

Read on for a Q&A with Miller about his Mizzou experience.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I had to make my law school decision during the coronavirus pandemic, and Mizzou was the only school that stayed in touch. I loved getting to meet the professors — albeit over Zoom — and starting to build relationships with them even before I arrived. They are incredibly knowledgeable and personable, and my relationships with them have become the absolute highlight of my time at Mizzou Law.

What drew you to law school?

I grew up on a potato farm in Idaho. Instead of just selling our potatoes to McDonalds or Lays, my family did research — testing pesticides and making sure they worked and were safe. Because of that research, my father and grandfather would also serve as expert witnesses in agriculture-related trials. One suit stood out: it lasted 10 years and ended up bringing millions of dollars back to farmers whose crops had been accidentally destroyed by herbicides.

Getting compensation for those farmers was not a pretty process. There were many long hours and internal disagreements. But I appreciated the attorneys’ work. Although I did not know it at the time, that experience started me on the long path to law school.

How has your family helped you throughout your law school experience?

My wife, Jessica, and my son, Jansen, have been instrumental in my success at Mizzou. Law school can often feel very competitive, but I always knew I had Jess and Jansen waiting for me at home — helping me remember what’s most important in life. By focusing on them, I was able to remain happy, upbeat and perform well in my classes.

Why are you proud to be a Tiger?

I’m proud to be a Tiger because of the wonderful Mizzou Law alumni who have come before me. Our alumni accomplish amazing things in their communities, and I’m thrilled to join their ranks this fall. 

What’s next for you after graduation?

After graduation, I’ll be a term law clerk for the Honorable Robert J. Faris, chief bankruptcy judge in the District of Hawaii. These jobs are competitive, and I'm really excited to be able to learn how to be a better writer and researcher so that I can become a more competent member of the bankruptcy bar. This experience will be an invaluable start to my law career.

Meet more spring 2023 graduates

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