As law became more of a publicly traded commodity in the 1990s, courts, including the Supreme Court of Missouri, began to hire public information officers. It may strike you as odd, when you think about it, as to why a court that communicates with words would need someone assigned to explain to the wordsmiths of the media – and sometimes to the public itself – what judges meant by the collections of words in their judicial opinions. But today, we take it for granted that public information officers are essential to the operation of a state supreme court, and although in the abstract I find this to be curious, I was happy to have worked with the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Communications Counsel, Beth Riggert, who is participating in this symposium. Beth was very valuable in helping me write speeches and monthly newspaper columns when I was chief justice, and I frequently solicited editorial suggestions from her on draft opinions I was prepared to circulate to my colleagues on the court.

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