Just Mercy

Just_Mercyby Bryan Stevenson

The inaugural Mizzou Law One Read program kicks off with Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to read the book and participate in discussions and events relating to the book during the fall and spring semester.

Each year, a One Read book will be chosen because it relates to law, the legal profession or legal education, and it relates to current issues. Events related to issues of race and the experience of “otherness” have been ongoing subjects of current events this year. Just Mercy recounts Stevenson’s experiences representing people on death row as part of a nonprofit law practice and demands that lawyers see the world from another’s perspective.

Mr. Stevenson will give a talk, “American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity, and Making a Difference,” on Sunday, March 20, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium.

Find the Book

Mizzou Law Faculty Testimony

“I read Just Mercy during my vacation last week. I didn’t think it was going to be a particularly good “beach book” (and I confess I had a trashy back-up novel just in case) but once I started it I found I couldn’t put it down. I read it in three days. It is one of the best books I have read and incredibly powerful. I urge everyone who hasn’t read it to do so, whether you are involved in the One Read program or not. And I am really glad we are doing this as a One Read book. Our students need to hear this message.”

~ Rigel C. Oliveri, Associate Professor


“I LOVED this book!  Having worked in prosecution for six years, I developed a very one-sided view of the criminal justice system.  This book reminded me that there are two sides to every story and that, we–as a society–should not simply throw away our most valuable assets–people–just because they failed to conform to expectations.  Mr. Stevenson’s book brought back some of that idealism I cherished as a law student and made me rethink my views of not only those who violate our laws but also our system of justice and how it treats them.

It has come at an especially fascinating time in conjunction with my job as a law clerk, as I’m in the midst of researching several cases that Mr. Stevenson, himself, worked on.  And seeing his take on not only the legal issues but also the individuals involved really opened my eyes to their back stories.  I didn’t fully appreciate the title of the book until I had completed it.  Now that I’ve finished reading the novel, the title is incredibly powerful.  Mercy is small thing to give that can have enormous ripple effects.  Kudos to Mr. Stevenson, and I appreciate him bringing back a side of me that had fallen into the shadows.”

 ~ Jayne T. Woods,  Adjunct Associate Professor of Law