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Melesa Nicole Johnson, 27

Associate attorney, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, Kansas City

melesea-johnsonPractice area: Civil defense litigation

Law school: University of Missouri

The law has been a part of Melesa Johnson’s life ever since she indexed boxes of documents for her godfather’s firm as a child.

During law school, Johnson served as associate editor of the Missouri Law Review, judging director for the Board of Advocates and parliamentarian of the Black Law Students Association, before eventually clerking for Missouri Supreme Court Judge George Draper III. After a stint as an environmental law intern with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, she joined the Jackson County Prosecutor’s team where she was quickly named Rookie of the Year. Today, Johnson practices at Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice where she has brought her skills to bear in a wide variety of cases.

Johnson has also distinguished herself with an extensive record of public involvement as a member of the Kansas City Municipal Liquor Control Review Board and the Community Backed Anti-Crime Tax Drug Commission. She is the winner of this year’s Missouri Bar Tom Cochran Award for Community Service, and a volunteer for Lead to Read.

What is your biggest accomplishment this year?

My biggest accomplishment this year was being admitted into the Missouri Bar Leadership Academy. By participating in the program, I will grow as an attorney and network with our esteemed legal community at various Missouri Bar sponsored programs throughout the year.

What has been your favorite moment as an attorney?

My favorite moment as an attorney was winning my very first jury trial in 2014. I was working for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and won a criminal tampering case. When the jury returned their verdict, I knew advocacy was my calling and it was an adrenaline rush I would never forget.

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