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WJA 2020: Ida S. Shafaie, Armstrong Teasdale

Like many successful attorneys, Ida S. Shafaie said she knew from an early age she wanted to be involved in the law.

Not too many of those attorneys created artwork to show that, however.

Ida S. Shafaie

Shafaie

“At some point in elementary school, in one of those projects where you tell people what you think you’ll be doing, I drew a picture of me sitting behind a judge’s bench — or what I thought was a judge’s bench — with a placard that says, ‘Judge Ida.’ I think it was in second grade,” said Shafaie, an associate at Armstrong Teasdale.

Fewer still are fueled by a passion for pizza — specifically Imo’s Pizza, which Shafaie called her favorite food in the whole world.

“I have to have it frequently or I will have withdrawals,” said Shafaie, who mentioned one of her newer co-workers got her a cookie cake that looked like a pepperoni pizza and put it in an Imo’s box for her birthday last year. “I was like, ‘Do I talk about Imo’s that much?’ and then I thought, ‘Maybe I do.’ I couldn’t believe it, but it was great.”

Shafaie graduated with honors with both her bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Missouri. She completed school in 2013 before working as a prosecutor for the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, where she managed more than 400 criminal cases, but she remains involved in education.

As part of Armstrong Teasdale’s employment and labor practice area, Shafaie is co-editor of the Missouri Employment Law Letter, a monthly newsletter for human resources professionals. She also works with educational institutions at all levels, including public records laws and Title IX claims.

In addition, Shafaie regularly presents CLE and training sessions to clients and at seminars, and she serves as the co-chair of her firm’s Michael C. Tramble Memorial Scholarship Fund Campaign Committee, which provides an annual scholarship to a deserving law student. She also serves with numerous professional organizations and has been involved in charitable and civic activities, often as a mentor.

It’s no wonder one of her nominators wrote that she is “not only a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, but she is also focused on issues that influence the makeup of the courtroom when she’s not litigating.”

Even if that’s not quite the way Shafaie sees herself.

“I definitely would not describe myself as a force to be reckoned with. That would be crazy,” she said. “I think on a personal level, people would say I’m reasonable and easy to work with.”

Shafaie does like the chance to work with charities and make a difference by helping with diversity and inclusion efforts, she added.

“When you’re a lawyer, people sort of look to you as someone who hopefully has high ethical standards, a voice of reason,” she said. “I think you have a responsibility to use that platform to raise awareness to those issues as a whole and help those causes.”

Shafaie, who said she’d love to see more female attorneys in the field, has some advice for women looking to practice law.

“If it’s something they truly want to do, they should find someone they trust for advice and for support, but make sure it’s something they want to do, because there are times that it’s not easy. You really have to have the love and compassion for what you do,” she said.

As for what’s ahead, Shafaie said she’d like to try more cases, if possible. Oh, and more Imo’s Pizza wouldn’t hurt, either.

2020 Women's Justice Awards

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