From Chemistry to the Law: A Super Lawyers Q&A

Super Lawyers recently had the pleasure of sitting down with family law attorney and five-time selectee Jennifer Shaw from The Shaw Law Group. After spending four years working at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, she entered private practice. In 2003, she opened her own firm in Edwardsville, Illinois. Jennifer is focused on all areas of domestic relations litigation with special emphasis on unmarried couples, particularly members of the LGBT community.

Q: What was the initial attraction to becoming a lawyer?

A: I initially got my undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry with hopes of becoming a doctor. However after volunteering or working in hospitals from the age of twelve to twenty years old, I realized it wasn't for me.

From there, a professor friend of mine convinced me I could still save the environment and the world by choosing another career path. Although I'm currently not doing either he really instilled in me that I was far too interested in helping mankind and I wouldn't be happy as a doctor. So he suggested I go to law school or get my PhD. I ended up choosing law school because I have an overwhelming need to give back and to help people and thought practicing law was a way to fill those ambitions.

Q: As I browse your attorney bio I see a number of pro-bono and volunteer type endeavors. Tell me a bit about why that's so important to you.

Jennifer profile_2.jpgA: I have these really great parents that believe we all have a responsibility to give back. And they instilled this in both my brother and me that it's our responsibility to help others in need. One of the ideal ways to give back, if you're an attorney, is to participate in pro bono service. In the past I worked as a legal aid attorney, which led to serving on boards for various causes like animal abuse, domestic violence and homelessness.

Eventually I was named one of the directors for the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation as well as for the Illinois Bar Foundation. Ensuring that all people have access to justice is a priority in my day-to-day life because it gives me a level of joy I don't get from my regular practice. The greatest part of these endeavors is that I'm able to help a significant number of people with pro bono or free legal service with the backing of these foundations.

Q: What does it mean to you personally to have been selected to the Super Lawyers list the past couple years?

A: It's an absolutely huge deal for me. There are very few attorneys in our county who have received this unique distinction and it can definitely be used as a differentiator. I think I'm the only family law attorney in my area who has consistently been selected to the Super Lawyers list. It speaks volumes to be in the top five percent. We are in a state that has Chicago. To be included with the outstanding attorneys who make up the market in such a large metropolitan area is a true honor.

Q: Tell me about this trophy case full of awards you have in your office. What made you make that purchase to showcase you achievements?

A: We originally placed the first Super Lawyers marquee on the shelf clients use to write checks or to sign documents. By the time the fifth award came out, we were out of shelf space. I have earned some other awards as well and we wanted to display them. The trophy case seemed like a natural progression.

I do however think having the awards strategically placed in the office lends a sense of credence, validity and trust for potential clients.

To learn more about Jennifer and her practice at The Shaw Law Group visit her profile on SuperLawyers.com.