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Judge Laura Denvir Stith retiring from Missouri Supreme Court


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After serving on the Missouri Supreme Court for 20 years, Judge Laura Denvir Stith is planning to retire in March.

“I hope that in some small way my service over the last 20 years has continued to be a model for women lawyers and other minorities throughout Missouri that the court system of Missouri is open to all those who wish to serve, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity or type of legal practice,” Stith said.

Stith’s retirement will be effective after the close of business on March 8. After her retirement is finalized, Stith plans to spend the final quarter of her career serving in the justice system through pro bono and volunteer work. She said she hopes to remain as a senior judge. 

Stith was only the second woman to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court. She also served as the chief justice of the court for two years. 

“I was lucky enough to spend the first quarter of my life after law school in private practice with a wonderful Kansas City law firm, and to spend the middle half of my career serving the justice system as a judge of the court of appeals and the Supreme Court,” she said. “I have been blessed to serve with fine colleagues on the court of appeals and Supreme Court during my career, and will miss serving with them on the Supreme Court. But that is balanced by my excitement about the new challenges ahead of me.” 

Chief Justice George W. Draper III announced her retirement during his State of the Judiciary address Tuesday.

 “Judge Laura Denvir Stith[’s] … resume and body of work speak for themselves,” he said. “She will leave a lasting legacy in the areas of ethics, gender, and justice. She is a dedicated jurist. Her experience, intelligence, diligence, and wisdom will be missed. Please join me in wishing her all the best in her retirement.”

Stith was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001. She served as a law clerk for a year before being appointed as a judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals. Stith served the Court of Appeals for more than six years before her appointment to the high court. She was also a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City for a decade.