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Documentary on St. Joseph lawyer Grace Day will air on KCPT next week

Many Missouri lawyers might already be familiar with Grace Day, the St. Joseph lawyer and legal trailblazer who was the only woman in her class at the University of South Dakota School of Law in the late ‘40s, joined The Missouri Bar in 1950 and functioned as the only woman lawyer in her town for more than 30 years. Now, Day’s story will be shared with audiences around the Midwest through the documentary “Amazing Grace.”

A 30-minute film, “Amazing Grace” explores the treatment of women in the legal industry from the 1940s through today, using Day as its central character. In the documentary, Day discusses what life was like for her both in practice and in law school, where she was often viewed as out of place and treated unprofessionally by several of her peers.

“You just had to make up your mind that you were going to know that they were doing these things and let it flow with the tides, otherwise you would get aggravated and quit,” Day said in a trailer for the film.

Heather McMichael, a former TV journalist who now works in legal marketing, produced the show and spent two years following Day with photographer Jon Haiduk. Day died earlier this year.

“I wanted to tell her story for young women and men who don’t have any idea of the obstacles women had to overcome just to be accepted. We played the film for law students at Saint Louis University School of Law and the students were just blown away by what Grace had to endure,” said McMichael. “I hope young women and men will gain from the film that hard work and quiet determination beat bluster just about every time. She leaves behind a powerful legacy and I’m very honored to share her story.”

“Amazing Grace” will air Oct. 20 at 8:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 at 10:30 p.m. on KCPT. It has also been featured on PBS in South Dakota and will soon play in Iowa.

Click here to read a 2013 profile on Day and other groundbreaking woman lawyers written by Mary Russell, then chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri.

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