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JoEllen Engelbart, 28



Practice area: Criminal law

Law school: University of Missouri-Kansas City

As her nominator points out, it is easy to get exhausted just by reading JoEllen Engelbart’s resume. Named to fellowships at both the Kansas City and St. Louis campuses of the University of Missouri, Engelbart, a regular on the dean’s list, was a Tiera Farrow scholarship winner, was honored by the National Association for Women Lawyers as an outstanding law student and garnered the President’s Medallion from Truman State University.

Then there were the internships with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as the legislative office of Minority Whip Rep. Mike Colona. She studied abroad in Belgium, France and Italy before earning her masters of public administration and still found time to be president of the student government.

“Since she was old enough to talk, she has desired a career in public service,” reads one letter of recommendation which lauds Engelbart’s work ethic and drive. “She has always had a passion for helping others.”


What has been your favorite moment as an attorney?

Attending drug court graduation. It is truly an inspirational and happy event. I had the pleasure of congratulating the graduates and their families at the beginning, then shaking each of their hands after they received their graduation certificate. And most importantly, I handed them a copy of the dismissal that was filed in their case. As a prosecutor, it is the only time that a defendant and/or their family will want to thank me, shake my hand, or even hug me.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Spending time with family and friends.