Shook and Associate Win Missouri Lawyers Media Diversity and Inclusion Awards

Missouri Lawyers Media recognized Shook and Shook Associate Mary Olson in its 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Awards for their work supporting and advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

Shook is the only law firm being honored on its own for its overall firm diversity and inclusion efforts. Shook’s many diversity initiatives include the Shook Scholars Institute, a three-day intensive diversity fellowship program designed to give law students a chance to learn from litigation powerhouse attorneys in interactive small group settings. Shook’s newest diversity initiative, The Honorable Jon Gray Lawyers Leadership Academy, aims to enhance the long-term advancement and retention of minority lawyers through an 18-month leadership development program including mentoring, skill-building and client-facing opportunities. Shook is led by Chair Madeleine McDonough, an advocate of D&I issues who serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP). 

Also being honored is Shook Associate Olson for her advocacy for the transgender community. Olson is an active ally and leads Shook’s Project Affirmation, a pro bono name change and gender marker amendment clinic serving the transgender community in and around Kansas City. She has represented and counseled hundreds of adult and minor trans clients in obtaining accurate government-issued identification documents, including litigating before hostile judges and negotiating with counsel for state vital records offices throughout the country. Olson’s pro bono practice entails navigating undefined and at times non-existent state law schemes that discriminate against trans people. She is also actively involved in community outreach through the Trans Legal Services Network.

Missouri Lawyers Media, publisher of Missouri Lawyers Weekly, will honor winning attorneys, firms and legal professionals from around the state “that are significantly advancing diversity, inclusion and the dignity of all people in Missouri’s legal profession and in communities in which exceptional legal work impacts justice for all.” Honorees will be celebrated during a virtual awards event scheduled for noon July 31.