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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Wolff '67 to head Mo. Supreme Court

Judge Michael Wolff '67 became chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court last Friday, succeeding Ronnie White, Missouri's first black chief justice.

The Missouri Supreme Court rotates chief justices every two years based on seniority.

"It's quite an honor," Wolff said in reference to his new position. After his tenure as chief justice expires in 2007, he will continue to serve the court until 2012.

At Dartmouth, Wolff also rose in the ranks, while working for The Dartmouth. A government major, he became editor-in-chief of his senior directorate.

He also dedicated himself beyond the newspaper, finding time to be a brother of Alpha Theta fraternity, a Greek organization that has become co-educational since Wolff's graduation. During his senior year, Wolff was tapped by the Casque and Gauntlet senior society, and participated throughout his final year at Dartmouth.

Wolff has enjoyed a successful and varied career since graduating from the College in the 1960s.

The Minneapolis Star employed him as both a reporter and copy editor while he attended the University of Minnesota Law School immediately after graduating from Dartmouth. Wolff emphasized the importance of his experiences at The Dartmouth as he branched into his journalism career.

He said that the combination of a widely varied course load and newspaper experience complimented his resume well for both law school and a newspaper career.

"I think almost any major in a liberal arts college is suitable for becoming a lawyer. Law school is quite different from undergraduate teaching," Wolff said. "I think a broad range of courses is probably the best preparation for going to law school and becoming a lawyer."

After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1970, Wolff went on to instruct students at the St. Louis University School of Law beginning in 1975, and there received an award for excellence in teaching after his 23-year career there.

Wolff also spent time running twice, albeit unsuccessfully, for attorney general of Missouri.

In 1992, Wolff worked as transition director for Missouri Governor-elect Mel Carnahan, was chief counsel to the governor in 1993 and 1994 and was special counsel to the governor from 1994 to 1998.

Wolff began his legal career as a federal court law clerk. He was also the director of Black Hills Legal Services in 1975.

In 1998 he began his term on the state's Supreme Court.