November 26, 2020

Law and Disorder

Law professors Robin Higgins and Anne Geraghty-Rathert perform with comedy group The Courthouse Steps .

Robin Jefferson Higgins, the assistant director and professor of the legal studies program, performs, “Politics Tonight,” with The Courthouse Steps, Inc. She sings:

“GOP Nominee? Will it be Romney? Flip-flops for everybody. Politics Tonight.

Will he disparage, Newt’s open marriage? Bad news for former wives, it’s Politics Tonight.”

The Courthouse Steps is a group of St. Louis area attorneys who perform musical parodies that display both sides of the political fence. Top national and local news often finds its way into the group’s lyrics.

“So many crazy things happen, unbelievable things, its really easy to make fun of people,” said Higgins. She now is the Courthouse Steps choreographer.

In 1998, Higgins was a second-year law student and worked as an intern with Judge William Stiehl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Stiehl and Julie Fix-Myers were members of the Courthouse Steps and also her direct supervisors. Fix-Myers invited Higgins to an audition.

“She asked me ‘well can you sing?’ and I said ‘No, not really’,” said Higgins.

After she auditioned, she was asked to join the group. She was the first law student to become a member of the Courthouse Steps.

The Courthouse Steps, Inc. was created in 1997 under the direction of Ray Fournie and Diane Hanisch. Ray Fournie is the senior partner of the Armstrong Teasdale law firm and Diane Hanisch is the pianist and musical director of the group.

Bill McCellan, a Post-Dispatch columnist, known for mocking lawyers in his columns became the Press Association award winner of the year, local lawyers thought it would be great to do a “roast” of him for the occasion. Fournie, a former Broadway actor of more than 20 years, was contacted to do this.

Anne Geraghty-Rathert, legal studies professor at Webster, has been a member of The Courthouse Steps since around 1995.

“We’ve gotten to know each other so well, we can anticipate what the other members are going to do or not do effectively,” said Geraghty-Rathert. “We are funnier because we know what everyone is going to do.”

Geraghty-Rathert sometimes uses her comedic talents while teaching class at Webster.

“At the beginning of class, she would pass out comic strips. She always incorporated comedy in the beginning of her lessons, ” said Audra DeMariano, a junior digital journalism major who attended Geraghty-Rathert’s “Introduction to Law” class.

The Courthouse Steps have performed at various venues around Missouri, including the Chambers of Commerce in Troy, Florissant, Perryville and Jefferson City at the 8th Circuit Conference.

Higgins said the group thinks everybody is open to become a comedic subject in their performances.

“There could be some songs that I don’t care for, but I ask myself ‘is it funny?’ Well yeah it’s funny,” Higgins said.

The Courthouse Steps’ next performance will be at the Greater Alton Concert Series at the Lewis & Clark Community Center, Sunday, February 12 at 3 p.m. in Godfrey, Illinois.

 

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