Rasmussen Dickey Moore
Justin Ijei deeply absorbed his mother’s memories of growing up in the Missouri bootheel during segregation — and fighting the racial invective hurled at her as one of the first Black students to integrate all-white Poplar Bluff High School.
“Despite the harassment, my mother never allowed it to stop her from fighting for what is right,” recalls Ijei, who joined his Kansas City firm in 2014 as an associate and was promoted to member last year. His mother now works as director of pupil/personnel and diversity for the Parkway School District in St. Louis County — a role model who continues to inspire.
“She has definitely instilled her passion for diversity and inclusion in me,” he says.
A 2007 University of Illinois graduate and reserve running back for its Rose Bowl-winning football team, Ijei graduated in 2011 from Saint Louis University School of Law. Earlier in his career, he worked at Global Patent Group and Fields & Associates in St. Louis before heading across the state to join Rasmussen Dickey Moore. His portfolio includes toxic torts, product liability, commercial litigation and employment law.
What motivates you most in your work as an attorney and as an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?
The desire to help young attorneys from various backgrounds reach their highest potential is important to me. After law school, I was fortunate to have mentorship from several attorneys who helped me along my path. I want to do the same for the next generation.
What makes you most proud of your law firm/legal practice?
I’m proud that my firm has made diversity, equity and inclusion a priority for the firm. My employer understands the importance of diversity in the workplace as being an asset for not only the firm but for its clients.
What must Missouri’s legal community do to promote meaningful and long-term diversity within its legal/justice system?
To promote meaningful and long-term diversity within the legal system, Missouri’s legal community must strive towards making equity a priority. Having only diverse hiring practices is not enough. We must continue to provide younger and diverse candidates with the necessary resources and support to help them grow and make our legal system better. We also must continue to offer professional development around issues relating to diversity, equity and inclusion for all.