Mary M. Beck received her law degree from the University of Missouri in 1988 and has taught law at MU since 1993. She began her career as a nurse, however, when she received her Masters from St. Louis University’s School of Nursing in 1971. Once she began practicing law, her fellow physicians sought her help for unplanned pregnancy situations – thus a door into the field of adoption law opened and Mary realized it was a perfect fit. Today, Mary truly enjoys working with people interested in adding to their families through adoption and surrogacy, and equally values helping pregnant with their adoption decisions.
Mary is involved in writing state putative father registry law, has appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, NPR, and in the New York Times, and was the 2009 recipient of the Congressional Coalition’s Angels in Adoption award. She is also a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the Missouri Bar Special Committee on Adoption Issues, and many other organizations.
Mary co-wrote the American Academy of Adoption Attorney Amicus Curiae brief in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl United States Supreme Court case #12-399. This case involves an unmarried Native American father who claimed paternity of his child four months after adoptive placement when South Carolina law waived his rights for failure for prenatal abandonment.
While growing up in Columbia, Mo., Joanna Beck always admired her mother’s work, and today she shares her mother’s passion in helping create families legally and ethically. She practiced law for seven years, between Gradstein & Gorman in San Francisco and Kirsh & Kirsh in Indianapolis, and decided to move home and join her mother at The Law Offices of Mary Beck in 2009. Joanna has a strong desire of promoting the benefits of adoption to pregnant women who do not feel ready to become mothers.
Joanna is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois, and is currently a member of the Missouri Bar Association’s Special Committee on Adoption Issues, Young Lawyer’s Division, Section Committees on Family Law and Juvenile Law, and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.