From Chemistry to the Law: A Super Lawyers Q&A
And Awards Season Goes to.....Super Lawyers Magazine
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.
A: 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.
June Editorial Review
Super Lawyers' editorial is paving the way in more ways than one. Its exceptional storytelling recently covered such topics as China's evolving legal system, police brutality, LGBT discrimination and civil rights in the past year, resulting in six new journalism awards!
"We are very fortunate for the widespread recognition our editorial has produced over the years," says Ron Cahill, Director of Editorial and Research for Super Lawyers. "We take our mission of providing visibility to attorneys who exhibit excellence very seriously, it's about telling their stories, sharing their insights and covering what makes them successful both personally and professionally."
Read below to learn more about each of the award-winning editorial features from Super Lawyers Magazine.
The third place award for Best Profile Story at the 2016 Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists' Page One Awards went to the article, The Whistleblower's Best Friend. This article from the 2015 Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine detailed Clayton Halunen's career of making waves in cases ranging from a $1.5 billion false claims settlement to workplace discrimination claims against the Minneapolis Police and Minnesota Vikings.
Navigating China, from the 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine, garnered a second place award presented by the Pac-Northwest Society of Professional Journalists in the Government/Political Reporting category. The piece is a guide through the country's legal system, from its philosophical traditions to its rapidly evolving present, via nine American attorneys who work in China or with Chinese clients.
The team also took home a second place designation for Best Feature Article from the Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association's Excellence Awards for 'We've Come a Rather Remarkable Way'. Published in the 2015 Alabama Super Lawyers Magazine, the article is an oral history of 11 African-American attorneys in Alabama on how far the United States has come in the 60 years since Selma.
'Benjamin Crump. Justice.' from the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine profiles the Florida attorney who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. It also received second-place honors, this time from the Florida Society of Professional Journalists' 2016 Sunshine State Awards in the Best Magazine Profile category.
Louisville's Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded Super Lawyers second place for its piece 'The Big Guy', published in the 2015 Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine, about Pierce Hamblin, who has mediated more than 7,500 cases and whose reputation among attorneys has earned him the distinction that inspired the title.
And lastly, also from the 2015 Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine, Defending the Product won first place honors in Ohio's Best Journalism contest, presented collaboratively by the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland chapters of SPJ. The story concerns Cincinnati's Carolyn Taggart, who has been involved in such cases as injury claims against silicone breast implants and the tragic deaths at a notorious The Who concert in 1979.
Congratulations to the Super Lawyers editorial team on these impressive achievements and for continuing to deliver on their mission to create quality editorial about the very best attorneys in practice.
As we've made our way into July we wanted to recap the two magazines released in the month of June: 2016 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine and 2016 Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine - Rising Stars.
2016 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine
In this issue, you'll learn about the trials and tribulations of Florida's first big wave of female lawyers and the methods they used to turn the tide for those to come. The women who began practicing law in the Sunshine State in the 1970s and early '80s heard everything from "Are you the court reporter?" to "Is that how they dress to go to court [where you're from]?
But the lawyers who talked to us about those experiences say they refused to let a little sexism get in their way. And while many tell Mad Men-like tales, all 12 emerged with a sense of humor-and gratitude for the trail blazed by their female predecessors, the support of male peers, and the mentorship of the respected legal practitioners-nearly all male-who nurtured their careers.
"Firm Forward" with Romano Law Group
When it comes to law office innovations, look no further than the eco-friendly building the Romano Law Group calls home. The 33,000-square-foot structure known as EcoCentre is an ambitious attempt to build a firm's sense of responsibility right into the structure it inhabits. "We won't get a second chance to protect and preserve Mother Nature for future generations," says Romano. He and his wife, Nancy, have four sons, four daughters-in-law and 11 grandchildren. "It is our moral responsibility to do our part now-right now."
The Romano Law Group's office was built on the site of a medical practice owned for years by the father of partner John Romano. The building needed to be dismantled-so all the materials were recycled. The grand opening came in summer 2008. The structure is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council.
2016 Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine - Rising Stars
In this magazine, you'll read about how Moez Kaba, a first-generation Pakistani Muslim, represents clients that range from people in the LGBT community to a famous Koch brother.
While still an associate, Kaba was brought onto a high-profile case. Bill Koch, one of the Koch brothers, and an avid wine collector, had been the victim of wine fraud. "A bottle of wine that was purported to be a 1945 vintage from Château Lafite was not," Kaba says. "We could tell that from the bottle, the paper, the cork-lots of different indicia of authenticity did not match."
Koch sued the seller and the auction houses for fraud. "He wanted to clean up that marketplace," says Kaba. "He wanted people to know you can't commit fraud and get away with it." So the firm launched a multiyear, multifront effort that began with suing a consignor and an auction house. Kaba argued the case in New York, asking for both liability and punitive damages. "At the end of that three-week trial, the jury took about an hour to come back and rule in our favor on all accounts," he says. "They awarded $12 million in punitive damages. We asked for $10 million. That's how convinced the jury was with our presentation."
"Discovery" Q&A with Sarah Fergusson Chambless
The Manatt associate boldly goes where no corporate and finance attorney has gone before.
My nickname is ... Big Deal. It's only funny when you consider that I work mostly with startup and scaling tech companies.
My pretrial routine is ... I don't go to trial, but before negotiations I practice power poses. "Wonder Woman" is my favorite.
My real-life hero is ... my mom. She raised me as a single parent while working two jobs and pursuing multiple advanced degrees. She graduated with her MBA the day I graduated from law school.
The quality I most like in a lawyer is ... a good sense of humor-especially about one's profession.
We hope you enjoyed this sneak preview of our latest S uper Lawyers Magazines. Be sure to visit SuperLawyers.com/Digital to see all of our digital editions.