“I really do like trying cases. I like trials,” said the Evanston, Ill. native. “I enjoyed that as much as anything I ever did.”
And he’s done a great deal. A graduate of Duke University, Tucker, 74, began as a law clerk for a state court of appeals judge before working as part of a research panel for the court itself. Later, he’d do civil practice work at a law firm becoming a shareholder by the late 1970s. In 1996, he joined Armstrong Teasdale where he’d work full-time for the next two decades and remains a senior counsel.
One nominator lauded Tucker for his work as managing attorney of the firm’s Kansas City office and as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. A former president of the state bar, he was also Master of the Ross T. Roberts Inn of Court and part of the Commission on Women in the Profession.
“He offers corrections and suggestions with grace and shares abundant encouragement,” wrote the nominator who called Tucker the best mentor he’d ever known, “More than anything else, he is committed to the profession and is willing to put in long hours and selfless service to make sure the next generation of Missouri lawyers live up to his high ideals.”
Another nominator highlighted the level of confidence that others place in Tucker.
“Larry earned that trust through years of integrity, consistent advocacy and, most notably, humility and compassion,” they wrote.
Outside the courtroom, Tucker, the son of a preacher, served as Chancellor for United Methodist churches in Missouri and vice-president of the United Methodist Foundation. In addition, he was a trustee of Central Methodist University.
Tucker said he went to law school because he had a genuine interest in trying to resolve controversies in a logical manner. He also came to admire those who sat on the bench.
“I saw judges in action and thought their work was important to the community,” he said. “They were respected and they appeared to be people who were making decisions based on principled and thoughtful bases so it was pretty appealing.”
He still believes that competence, civility, ethics and skill are the keys to a great career in the law.
“You are being given a great privilege to serve a system of justice which I think is still the best system in the entire world,” he said, “and you have the opportunity to affirm the positive values that system has produced by the conduct that you exhibit.”
He believes the law is a calling.
“It is more than just a job,” Tucker said. “It is a true profession.”