Missouri Lawyers Media Selects Shook Attorneys for Leadership and Pro Bono Awards

Shook Partner Matt DePaz and Associate Mary Olson are honorees for Law Firm Leadership and Pro Bono recognitions in Missouri Lawyers Media’s (MLM) 2022 Up & Coming Awards.

DePaz, who serves in the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion and Search Committees, is recognized with the Law Firm Leader Award given to early-career professionals demonstrating exceptional leadership within their firms. DePaz is noted for stellar legal work and his influence in relationship-building within Shook and with firm clients. Specifically, DePaz spearheaded the recruiting for this year’s Shook Scholars Institute—a program aimed at developing first-year diverse law students—obtaining more than 100 law student applications, the highest number since the program began. DePaz is also awarded for his work on the “Shook Social Circuit,” an app that gives attorneys and professionals within Shook a way to easily arrange to meet and network. DePaz also serves in leadership roles outside of the firm including his election to the Missouri Bar Young Lawyer’s Section Council, where he has focused on helping new lawyers entering the profession.  

Olson is recognized with the Pro Bono Award acknowledging outstanding pro bono projects led by early-career professionals. Olson is noted for her pioneering work in transgender advocacy with her leadership of Shook’s Project Affirmation, a program offering representation in name change and gender marker amendment actions to transgender individuals in the greater Kansas City area. Olson has advocated for over 170 clients in the initiative, been a vital resource for the trans community to turn to with questions and for help, and collaborated with attorneys across the nation who seek her advice based on her wealth of experience in name change and gender marker amendment law. Her pro bono practice entails navigating undefined and at times non-existent state law schemes that discriminate against trans people.

The Up & Coming Awards recognize legal professionals 40 or younger, or within the first 10 years of practice, who demonstrate a level of professional accomplishment, skill and leadership beyond their years and an extraordinary commitment to the community through their volunteer service and leadership. Missouri Lawyers Media will honor 53 attorneys from around the state during a lunch event on October 14 in St. Charles, Missouri.