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Home / Supplements and Special Sections / WJA 2016 / BECKY J. W. BORTHWICK

BECKY J. W. BORTHWICK

JUDGE, SPRINGFIELD MUNICIPAL COURT

Becky Borthwick is accustomed to getting things done. In 2013, she joined the Springfield Municipal Court and established the state’s first homeless court, but before that she spent nearly 20 years as an attorney, working in workers’ compensation, disability and litigation.

What are your proudest career accomplishments?

I am extremely proud of the Springfield Homeless Court. When we set out to create the first homeless court in the state, I had no idea how fulfilling and rewarding presiding over that type of hybrid court would be. We have built a system of community partners than can address the needs of a variety of people. By making sure the court is flexible and fluid I am able to connect with defendants and strive to have a much greater impact than simply issuing a sentence.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

The one thing that I believe people would be surprised to learn about me is that I love shotguns. I love shooting sporting clays, love talking about shotguns, and do enjoy hunting from time to time.

What is the best advice you have ever been given or received?

I believe the best advice that I ever received was from an associate circuit judge in Stoddard County, Missouri, who suggested that I move back to Springfield.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

When I was in college I was planning on studying medicine, but the dean of the College of Arts and Science convinced me that I should go to law school instead. My legal practice always has had a medical emphasis, so I still think I would have enjoyed practicing medicine. But also my last semester in college I had an Islamic art and architecture class. I enjoyed that so much and was later able to travel to Morocco to see several of the mosques that I had studied. If I would have had that class earlier in my collegiate career, I believe I might have chosen to study architecture.

What has been your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy being part of the court process. I like talking to pro se litigants and making sure that if it is their first time in court they completely understand the process. I try to make the process as efficient as possible.

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