Souder Tate, Attorney & Counselor at Law
I am Souder Tate, a criminal defense attorney, sentencing advocate and drug court professional. I have been a licensed Missouri attorney for thirty years and have focused on criminal defense for over twenty years. I want you to understand a little about who I am and why I decided to be a criminal defense attorney.
I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and attended Greenwood from kindergarten through high school. After graduating in 1978, I attended Missouri State University. I initially thought I would become a math teacher, but after a year I realized I was better suited to writing short stories than learning calculus. I switched my major to Creative Writing and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1982. In May 1985, I received my law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and opened a law practice in Ava where my grandmother lived and where my grandfather had been sheriff.
I served as the elected prosecuting attorney of Douglas County from 1987 through 1990 and realized that criminal law would be the focus of my career. Since 1994, over 90 percent of my practice has been limited to criminal defense, traffic and driver license issues. I have volunteered as the defense attorney representative on the Christian County Drug Court for approximately seven years and have served on the Greene Country DWI Court for the past four years. In May 2015, I became a member of the teaching faculty of the National Drug Court Institute. My education and experience allow me to find creative sentencing solutions for my own clients.
I am a member of the Missouri Bar. I am on the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Drug Court Professionals (MADCP) and have spoken at the MADCP annual conferences in 2013, 2014 and 2015. I also am a board member of the Missouri Continuing Education Consortium (MOCEC) and spoke at three of their addictions seminars since 2014. I am a Christian and attend First Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri.
Rachel Ledbetter, Paralegal
Rachel Ledbetter has served as my Paralegal and Case Manager since May 2001. She is my right hand. Rachel graduated from Fordland High School in 2000.
Rachel's duties include answering calls, scheduling appointments and keeping me from having to be in two places at one time. She drafts documents and petitions for my review and assists clients in gathering the documentation and information necessary to prepare their defense. Because Rachel knows each client's case, she can answer most non-legal questions a client may have. Her knowledge and skill help lay the foundation for me to tell my client's story.
Rachel understands my belief that prison or jail rarely help offenders but typically increase the likelihood that they will re-offend. She shares my passion for alternative sentencing solutions to prison and jail. Rachel's skill and experience help me in find and develop sentencing mitigation factors which can be used to persuade prosecutors and the Court to consider alternatives to prison and jail.
Rachel has a great deal of knowledge and experience in handling driver license and administrative issues involving the Missouri Department of Revenue and understands the steps necessary to receive limited driving privileges or driver license reinstatement. She helps clients gather the information necessary for resolving driver license issues.