Reaching remarkable heights: The women of the Mizzou Law class of 1996

The women of the Mizzou Law class of 1996 share stories and achievements in the 30 years since their graduation.

March 22, 2024

The women of the University of Missouri Law class of 1996 have spent the past several decades shaping the industry in a variety of different, but equally impactful ways. From Megan Phillips, who serves as president of the Missouri Bar Association and Jill Morris, who now serves as a United States Magistrate Judge, these graduates have set their own bar for success — and it’s high.

Almost as admirable as their career trajectories is the strong bond many of these women have built and maintained in the nearly 30 years since beginning law school. Here are some of the stories of those who graduated in the 1996 calendar year.

For Phillips, being a lawyer was something she had always toyed with. But it wasn’t until she started her undergraduate degree at Mizzou that her passion for women’s rights was ignited and she decided to pursue a legal education. Phillips still keeps in touch with many of her classmates and works with Mizzou alumni often in her role with the Missouri Bar.

For Morris, returning to Missouri’s flagship campus for law school was a natural progression. Now, almost three decades into her career, Morris serves as a magistrate court judge in the same district court where she clerked in 1996 for former MU law professor, the Honorable Nanette K. Laughrey. When she was in law school, Morris recalls some of her most fond and cherished memories occurred during her clinical experiences, including the domestic violence clinic and prosecution clinic.

While defining success on her own terms and teaching her students to do the same over years in the classroom as an instructor at the University of Tennessee, Paula Schaefer believes it was her friendships during law school that supported her career success.

What all these stories have in common other than career success is the underlying bond of friendship that not only inspired these women’s stories but also helped them achieve them. Many of the graduates of the Mizzou Law class of 1996 are still in contact and they continue to celebrate the success of their classmates to this day.

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