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WJA 2021: Laura Roy

Some lawyers crave the spotlight. For Laura Roy, staying mostly behind the scenes while keeping an appellate court running smoothly (no small feat during a pandemic) is just fine.

roy-laura“It’s not glamorous, but it’s vital work,” said Roy.

Her two decades in her current job at the St. Louis-based appellate court were preceded by another 10 years there as assistant staff counsel.

“I am not one who wants to be in the limelight,” Roy said. “I’m an introvert, and I like to be part of making things work in the background.”

A graduate of Visitation Academy in St. Louis, Roy earned her bachelor’s degree from the Mizzou journalism school, remaining in Columbia to complete law school.

She then headed to Springfield, spending her first year after graduation as a law clerk for Judge Almon Maus of the state Court of Appeals’ Southern District, whom she called “a fabulous mentor.” After two years as an assistant St. Charles County attorney, she joined the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Eastern District in 1991.

In fall 2019, Roy began a one-year term as president of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks, a stint marked by the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, but Roy nonetheless counts it as a professional highlight.

A St. Charles County resident, Roy spent nearly a decade on the board of the Center for Autism Education, where her son Andrew attended school and continues to participate in its program for adults.

St. Louis attorney Raymond Massey, a former Thompson Coburn partner, said Roy was practically “raised to become the clerk of the Missouri Court of Appeals.”

“If you ask our Court of Appeals judges, they will praise Laura as being highly professional, very competent, very organized and the best person who has served in her job for years,” said Massey, who is married to Roy’s older sister. “I constantly hear from my colleagues how helpful she is assisting lawyers with appeal issues.”

Providing that assistance is at the core of her court’s oversight, she said.

“Every case is important,” Roy said. “Whether it’s a $50 parking ticket, a murder case, a huge personal injury case or a minor fender-bender. The case that’s foremost in my mind is the one that’s right in front of me, that I’m working on atop my desk.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021