To Dawn Parsons, getting to use her skills in new ways each day is a huge perk of her profession.
“When was the last time you did something for the first time? For me, it’s every day and every week,” said Parsons, who in 2015 joined Shaffer Lombardo Shurin in Kansas City after a long career with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. “That’s what keeps me energized and motivated to help people and to continue to grow and develop.”
In her prior role as chief trial assistant with the county prosecutor’s office, Parsons managed the disposition of more than 2,300 cases annually. It was a role she said she loved and worked hard to obtain. But a suspicion she had more to offer — coupled with the compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma that often accompanies representing victims of violence and sexual assault — led her to pursue a new path.
In her first full year with Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, Parsons took on six different trials, and in December 2017 was elected to partner. Today, she specializes in insurance defense, federal and state criminal defense, personal injury and workplace investigations.
Her 25 years of practicing law have brought many accolades, including admission to the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2014, an honor reserved for the top 1 percent of trial lawyers nationally who demonstrate the highest degree of professionalism, ethics and civility. Parsons now serves on the state committee.
Also in 2014, she was honored with a Women’s Justice Award as a Public Service Practitioner for her work to improve the quality of justice and the betterment of the profession.
Now, Parsons is set to be inducted as a fellow in the International Society of Barristers in May, a prestigious honor recognizing her trial skills and ethics.
She serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, is a master of Ross Roberts Inn of Court, and is an adjunct professor teaching trial advocacy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
She’s served on the board of Synergy Services, an organization helping children and families in crisis, and as a tutor with Literacy KC. She’s also a certified coach with the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, which offers support for professional women who want to reach the next level in their careers or personal lives.
Supporting other women in her profession is a top priority for Parsons. As did the women who paved the path before her, she feels it’s her duty to help the next generation of female lawyers.
“It’s my responsibility to put down asphalt so those women can come up behind me quicker, faster, and maybe be better than me,” she said.