Judge Richard B. Teitelman was nationally recognized as a champion for justice for underserved and marginalized members of society. He was also a leader of the civil rights efforts and served as the Executive Director and General Counsel of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri for 18 years before being appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court, where he served as Chief Justice from 2011 through 2013. Among other things, Judge Teitelman was a trailblazer as the first legally-blind judge in Missouri and the first Jewish member of the Missouri Supreme Court.
Judge Teitelman died suddenly in November 2016. Following his death, members of the legal community began an effort to establish an attorney position “Chair” at Legal Services to continue Judge Teitelman’s work in championing causes for the poor and disadvantaged who are often denied access to the legal process and justice.
In that spirit, the Teitelman Chair helps Legal Services to further address the systemic issues and the underlying causes, policies and practices that create barriers to equal opportunities in education, housing, employment, health care and other basic civil rights for individuals who are marginalized by lack of resources, race, disability, or other circumstances.
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri was notified in late December 2017 that an anonymous donor was offering a 4-to-1 match for all donations made to support the Teitelman Chair. This funding, along with the matching funds, generated more than $1.25 million in donations to endow the Teitelman Fund to support the Teitelman Chair position.