KCMBF’s Military Matters is proud to shine the May #ProBonoSpotlight on Dawn M. Parsons of Shaffer Lombardo Shurin!
Dawn has been a volunteer of Military Matters since 2017. She joined the program soon after moving from public practice to a private practice. While an adjunct professor at the UMKC School of Law one of her students, Bryan Meyers, who now works with Veterans Community Project, let her know of the program as he was involved early on with Military Matters.
Dawn’s father was a Canadian citizen who became naturalized by the United States in order to serve in the United States Army. Dawn’s father met her mother on a military base in West Germany while she worked for the Department of Defense as a teacher.
Through the Military Matters program, Dawn has used her skills she developed as a prosecutor to assist veterans facing criminal charges. She says, “Almost all revolve around actions that happened when the veteran was experiencing a mental health crisis and they are often not getting the treatment they need.” She said the problem can be exacerbated as criminal charges on your record can create a barrier to the treatments veterans may need for mental health. She has been able to obtain alternative dispositions for veterans and has negotiated fines. “I think we have a responsibility as a society to provide [veterans] with adequate care after what they have done for us.”
Dawn had an interest the criminal justice system at an early age which opened her eyes to careers in the law. She saw that you can impact people through public service as a prosecutor and public defender and wanted the opportunity to try cases in the courtroom. She attended the UMKC School of Law and then served for 23 years in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, leaving as a Chief Trial Assistant. She then moved to private practice with Shaffer Lombardo Shurin in 2015.
Shaffer Lombardo Shurin has provided the support she needs to take on volunteer work through Military Matters and other public service projects. She is an avid supporter of other women lawyers and is involved in the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City (AWL). She is proud to note as of April 1 her firm is a majority woman-owned business! Dawn often spends her free time participating in programs where she can mentor and connect with young women lawyers.
Outside of practicing law, giving back, and supporting AWL, Dawn loves to spend time out of the office doing home renovation projects. She admits this also involves watching a lot of content on HGTV and home renovation videos to help pick out colors and ideas!
When asked why she volunteers, Dawn says, “We are helpers. When people think of being a lawyer, they think of helping those who need it.” And she says those who really need that help are so appreciative, which is her experience through Military Matters.
Thank you, Dawn, for your dedication to KCMBF’s #MilitaryMatters and to giving back!
Please visit the KCMBF Facebook Page to see the original post about Kim's service through Military Matters.