Professor, Alumnae Receive Justice Awards

National Council member and alumna, Judge Jean Hamilton, was named “Woman of the Year” through the 2008 Women’s Justice Awards given by the St. Louis Daily Record. Several other alumnae and Professor Maxine Lipeles also were honored. 

The Women’s Justice Awards recognize “women who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice, and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and/or furthering the highest ideals of the legal profession.”

Judge Jean Hamilton

Judge Hamilton, J.D. ’71, was selected for the highest honor, “Woman of the Year,” which is awarded for “making an extraordinary difference” in the above ideals. Judge Hamilton serves on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She was cited for her extensive mentoring of new lawyers and efforts to promote diversity. She also was recognized for her trailblazing in the legal profession, including being the first woman appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District of Missouri, first female chief justice of that court, and first woman judge on the district court where she currently serves.

Mazine Lipeles

Lipeles, director of the law school’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, received a “Legal Scholar Award,” which is given to law school faculty or administrators who demonstrate excellence in “their own work with the justice system, through their research or scholarship, and/or through teaching and inspiring others.” She was cited for her dedication to environmental justice and numerous environmental victories for the community through her work with students and staff in the clinic. Earlier in the year, Lipeles also was cited as a 2008 Best Lawyer in St. Louis Magazine. 

Other alumnae who were honored include:

  • Debbie Champion Snyder, J.D. ’88, who received a “Lawyer’s Lawyer Award,” which is given to private practitioners who “improve the quality of justice and/or contribute to the betterment of the profession.” Champion Snyder is a partner at Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion. She was cited for her integrity in her civil defense practice and her ability to keep “legal battles from becoming personal.”
  • Cheryl Walker, J.D. ’90, who received a “Citizenship Award” for “improving the quality of justice in the community at large.” Walker is of counsel at Bryan Cave LLP and also co-manages Obasi Enterprises, a residential real estate development company. She was cited for her development and legal work that has benefited the City of St. Louis. A member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, she also has held leadership and  public service roles with the Tower Grove Park Board, United Way, and Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
  • Yeena Yoon, J.D./M.S.W. ’07, who received a “Leader of Tomorrow Award,” which is given to a law student or recent graduate who “demonstrates leadership, professionalism, and passion for making a difference in the justice system and/or legal profession.” Yoon was cited for her service as a VISTA attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and for her work with other Washington University students and faculty on a clemency case through the law school’s Civil Justice Clinic. 

In recognition of their accomplishments, Washington University Law made a donation in honor of each of these recipients to the law school’s scholarship fund.