Mary M. Beck

Clinical Professor Emerita of Law

School of Law

Contact Information

Phone 573-882-7872
Address 333 Hulston Hall
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Education BSN, St. Louis University School of Nursing, '70
MSN, St. Louis University School of Nursing, '71
JD, University of Missouri, '88

Areas of Expertise

  • Adoption
  • Adult and Child Abuse
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology Law
  • Domestic Violence/Homicide
  • Frozen Pre-Implantation Embryo Disposition
  • Parental Rights
  • Surrogacy

About Mary Beck

Professor Mary Beck taught in Schools of Nursing and Medicine for 13 years before joining the Missouri University law faculty in 1993 as Director of the Family Violence Clinic. The clinic closed in fall 2020. It was a law school based practice wherein supervised Rule 13 certified law students represented indigent domestic violence victims, dying custodial parents, and national and international families with disabled children. Students developed papers for publication on related issues and wrote a number of state laws. The clinic reopened in winter 2024 as the Child and Family Justice Clinic under the direction of Professor Danielle Dodd.

Professor Beck continues to teach part time at the law school and has served as a faculty member and administrator in schools of nursing and medicine and worked as a certified family nurse practitioner at Missouri University Hospital and Clinics, the Columbia Free Clinic, and other publicly funded walk in clinics. Professor Beck’s new favorite course is Sex, Reproduction, and the Law.

Professor Beck’s service includes drafting multi-state and federal legislation involving birth parents’ rights, adoption of children, stand by guardianship, and domestic violence; litigating pro bono appeals for disabled persons in adoption actions; and writing Amicus Curiae briefs to state courts and the United States Supreme Court. Professor Beck was an original member of the Missouri Battered Women’s Clemency Coalition and has participated in domestic violence clemency advocacy and litigation. Her students who worked on Clemency were the first law students ever to appear and argue (successfully) before the Missouri Supreme Court.

Professor Beck has published research is in the areas of congenital cardiac defects, domestic violence, adoption, and assisted reproductive technology in law reviews, adoption books, and in Bar Journals. Her work on putative father registry law has led to an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper and mention in the NY Times. She has obtained state and federal grants to fund student representation of domestic violence victims and to fund multidisciplinary empirical research into Missouri’s police, prosecutorial, and judicial responses to domestic violence. The latter led to television, newsprint, and radio series on Missouri’s domestic violence responses, adoption, and related Missouri Bar Journal articles.

Professor Beck is married to Niels Beck and they have four children in two states, two sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, and nine grandchildren.

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