The 9th Circuit has a new judge, and those on familiar terms with Terry Tschannen know him to be a personable man with a great sense of humor in informal situations who can be a fierce competitor and passionate advocate in a courtroom setting.
“I won’t be an advocate for one side or the other anymore,” Judge Tschannen acknowledges. “I now have to be a resolver.”
And although Linn County’s new circuit judge admits that changing his role from advocate to mediator “is like being in law school all over again,” he genuinely enjoyed law school, so his will be a labor of love.
Taking a seat on the ‘bench’ in Missouri requires the new judge to earn 15 hours of continuing legal education, including two hours of judicial ethics. The 15-hour requirement can be satisfied by attending a week-long New Judge Orientation, a two-day Advanced Trial Skills Seminar, and/or Judicial College, which is a four-day program offered in St. Louis twice a year. Training for judges is ongoing to provide both an orientation for new judges and a refresher for veteran judges to keep them abreast of the latest developments in case law and jurisprudence.
Tschannen’s judicial education follows many years of prior preparation to practice law. His post-secondary education was obtained in two Columbias: Columbia, Mo. at MU where he earned his undergraduate degree, followed by law school in Columbia, S.C. at the University of South Carolina. With his law degree earned by age 24, Tschannen embarked on a career in law that has provided the experience of working as a criminal defense attorney, a prosecutor in a few criminal cases, and legal counsel for both plaintiffs and respondents in civil proceedings. He has represented both the interests of individuals as well as those of organizations (i.e., organized labor). For the past 20 years, Tschannen has practiced law here in Linn County.
Although Tschannen is a native of suburban north St. Louis County (Florissant), he has a preference for practicing law in a more rural setting. “I have always loved people,” says Judge Tschannen. “You can’t be a very good country lawyer if you don’t genuinely care about your clients as people.”