30 June 2017
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – By order of the Court, Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Zel M. Fischer will become Missouri’s next chief justice July 1. His term as chief justice will run through June 30, 2019. He succeeds Judge Patricia Breckenridge, who remains on the Court.
Fischer grew up in Watson, the most northwestern city in Missouri and was educated in the Rock Port public schools. He received his bachelor of arts degree, majoring in both philosophy and political science, in 1985 from William Jewell College in Liberty and his law degree, with distinction, in 1988 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. He then clerked for Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Andrew Jackson Higgins, who had completed his own two-year term as chief justice just a year before.
After completing his clerkship, Fischer worked in the private practice of law in northwest Missouri from 1989 to 2006, when he was elected associate circuit judge in Atchison County. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he led an effort for trial judges throughout the state to have advanced education and training to preside over cases involving complex science or technology issues.
Fischer and his wife, Julie, live in rural northwest Missouri and have four children.