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Onsite Program

2023 The Milly Project: Lessons from history on the pursuit of justice

Total Credits: 2.2 MCLE, 2.2 Ethics, 2.2 Elimination of Bias, 2.0 Kansas Credit, 2.0 Kansas Ethics

Practice Area:
Elimination of Bias |  Ethics
Medallion Theater - Kansas City, Missouri

Please Note: Programs with a ☾ insignia begin after 5pm or air on the weekend.


Sponsored by MoBarCLE & The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers' Section

Film Trailer:

Join the Missouri Bar YLS for a live performance of The Milly Project, a theatrical production that tells the true story of Milly Sawyers, an enslaved woman who fought and won her freedom in Springfield, Missouri before the Civil War and the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision. The Milly Project’s passionate cast portrays the success and tragic consequences of Milly’s freedom suit, interweaving Milly’s story through a detailed timeline of American history past to present that invites the audience to consider history through the lens of the major events, the ever-changing laws, the attorneys, and the litigants that sought and shaped justice. 

The Milly Project was inspired by the 2017 discoveries of a local archivist, who unearthed handwritten court documents and manuscripts from the 1830s. Originally written and directed by teacher Kendra Chappell and her Advanced Acting high school students for an annual high school production, the play has blossomed into a nationally recognized production. In addition, the play has continued to be commissioned for performances across the state and country, and was recently adapted into a film production that was nominated for three awards at the New York International Film Festival including Best Screenplay (winner), Best Social Justice Film (winner), and Best Acting Ensemble. Missouri Bar YLS is honored to host an engaging panel discussion with 8th Circuit Judge Duane Benton, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Patricia Breckenridge, Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas, and Milly Project lead actress Adora Snead. The panel will be moderated by 16th Circuit Presiding Judge Jalliah Otto, following the performance. Space is limited for this unique and free CLE, which is open to attorneys and their guests and qualifies for 2.2 MCLE | 2.2 Ethics | 2.2 Elimination of Bias hours.

2 p.m. | Welcome and introduction by Christa Moss

2:05-3:10 p.m. | Performance

3:10-3:20 p.m. | Break

3:20-4:10 p.m. | Panel discussion

4:10 p.m. | Thank you by Missouri Bar YLS/dismissal

Lobby reception to follow

Panelists: Hon. Duane Benton, United States Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Kansas City; Hon. Patricia A. Breckenridge, Missouri Supreme Court, Jefferson City; Adora Snead, Milly Project Lead Actress; Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City
Moderator: Hon. Jalilah Otto, 16th Judicial Circuit, Kansas City

Attendees must stay for the ethics discussion to receive credit for watching the play.



Hon. William Benton's Profile

Hon. William Benton Related Seminars and Products

United States Court of Appeals - 8th Circuit

Judge Benton became a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, in 2004. He previously served on the Missouri Supreme Court for 13 years (including two years as Chief Justice). He graduated from Northwestern University (with highest honors) and Yale Law School (serving as Law Journal managing editor).

Patricia Breckenridge's Profile

Patricia Breckenridge Related Seminars and Products

Supreme Court of Missouri

Patricia Breckenridge was born in Nevada, Mo. She received her B.S. in Agricultural Economics with honors and J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Following law school, she returned to Nevada to practice law in the firm of Russell, Brown, Bickel & Breckenridge. While practicing, she served as assistant municipal judge for the city of Nevada. In 1982, she was appointed associate circuit judge of Vernon County.  She was elected to that position until 1990, when she was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. There, she served as Chief Judge from 1998 to 2000. 

Judge Breckenridge was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri in September 2007. As Chief Justice from July 2015 to June 2017, she was committed to improving the administration of justice and instrumental in establishing the Supreme Court’s Committee on Practice and Procedures in Municipal Division Cases, Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, Task Force on Criminal Justice, Commission on Civil Justice Reform, and the Partnership for Child Safety and Well-being, and the adoption of Uniform Standards for Missouri Juvenile Officers.  She continues to serve as liaison to these groups in addition to the Supreme Court’s Family Court Committee.   

Quinton Lucas's Profile

Quinton Lucas Related Seminars and Products

Mayor of Kansas City

Born and raised in Kansas City’s East Side communities, Quinton Lucas has served as the 55th mayor of Kansas City since 2019.  

As mayor, he led Kansas City’s adoption of the nationally acclaimed zero-fare transit initiative, which maintains a fare free public transit system on bus and rail transit citywide.  Mayor Lucas also championed the resurfacing of hundreds of miles of Kansas City’s streets and sidewalks, addressing a year’s long maintenance backlog in every Kansas City neighborhood.  

Having experienced homelessness in his youth, Mayor Lucas created the City’s first Housing Trust Fund, spurring the development of hundreds of units of housing attainable for Kansas Citians earning incomes between $0 and $42,000 per year.  

During his tenure, Mayor Lucas has promoted Kansas City globally, bringing new conferences and businesses to the City and securing the City’s position as one of only 11 American cities to host the 2026 Soccer World Cup.  

Understanding Kansas City is at its best when all are represented, Mayor Lucas has promoted women and persons from historically underrepresented groups to a majority of the seats on City boards and commissions.  

Known as “Mayor Q” by many, Lucas volunteers extensively with area schools, churches, and organizations, including teaching and providing mentorship to inmates in local prisons.  A lawyer and teacher, Mayor Lucas is a member of the law faculty at the University of Kansas.  

He and his wife, Katherine, are the proud parents of one son, Bennett. 

Mayor Lucas is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and obtained a law degree from Cornell University. Prior to serving as mayor, he represented the City’s Third District At-Large on the City Council where he led on issues such as the new airport terminal, economic development, and public safety. 

Jalilah Otto's Profile

Jalilah Otto Related Seminars and Products


16th Judicial Circuit

Jalilah Otto was appointed as Circuit Judge in October 2017 by Governor Eric Greitens.  Judge Otto had served as an Associate Circuit Judge in Jackson County from 2014-2017.  Prior to her appointment to the Court, Judge Otto served as a Chief Trial Assistant for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as a Special Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Judge Otto began her legal career in 2002 as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Lisa White Hardwick of the Missouri Court of Appeals.  In 2005, she became an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and was the recipient of the Louis Lombardo Award for Prosecutor of the Year in 2009.  She joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2010 where she prosecuted large-scale narcotic and gang cases.  In 2013, she rejoined the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office as a Chief Trial Assistant while maintaining her role at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  

 At the time of her appointment, Judge Otto was very active in the legal community having served on the Kansas City Commission on Violent Crimes, the Kansas City Municipal Ethics Commission, the Kansas City Youth Court, and the Missouri Bar’s Committee on Minority Issues.  In addition, she provided leadership as the President of the Jackson County Bar Association, Chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and Vice-Chair of the Public Service Committee of the Association of Women Lawyers.

Judge Otto is a native of Kansas City and received her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.  She also received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and Political Science from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Judge Otto has also served as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan Community College - Penn Valley, and National American University.

Adora Snead's Profile

Adora Snead Related Seminars and Products

Adora Lorae is a singer, writer, actor, and artist born and raised in Springfield, MO. Currently pursuing her BFA in Musical Theatre with a double minor in African American Studies and Advocacy Writing, Adora's heart is to see others have the ability to not only grow in their voices but recognize their worth both on and off the stage. As a performer, Adora has been seen in productions across the nation -- most notably in The Milly Project. Some of her recent productions include The Color Purple, Songs for a New World, Xanadu, and Once on this Island. To Adora, theatre is the most accessible avenue for social change. She is so grateful to Kendra Chappell and the cast of The Milly Project for continuing this beautiful, challenging, important work and fighting every day for voices like Milly's to have their stories told, heard, and remembered. 

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Medallion Theater

Plexpod Westport , 300 E. 39th St., Kansas City, Missouri 64111, United States
(816) 935-7904