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Husch Blackwell Attorney to Become U.S. Magistrate Judge on Sept. 10

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After 17 years at one of the area’s largest law firms, Shirley Padmore-Mensah selected to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

After 17 years as a successful trial lawyer, Partner Shirley Padmore-Mensah is leaving Husch Blackwell to join the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She will take the bench for the first time on Sept. 10, 2012, as a new magistrate judge at the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis, Mo.

After one year at Washington University School of Law, Padmore-Mensah was hired as a summer clerk at Husch Blackwell, now one of the largest law firms in St. Louis. She returned the following summer as an intern and began as an Associate after receiving her J.D. in 1995. She has been with the firm ever since.

“Shirley is an excellent lawyer, a superb person and a great friend,” said Partner Christine Miller, chair of Husch Blackwell’s Litigation Division. “We saw her thrive in an atmosphere where initiative, creativity and commitment are valued. She made significant contributions to training and mentoring our associates. Shirley accomplished great things in private practice, and we are eager to watch her continue her success. While it’s hard to imagine Husch Blackwell without Shirley, she will be an amazing judge and we are very proud of her.”

Throughout Padmore-Mensah’s career, her practice has been concentrated in the areas of commercial litigation, construction litigation, general business litigation and product liability litigation, including representing a Fortune 500 company in several high-stakes complex commercial disputes. Her professional experience also includes serving as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Washington University School of Law.

Partner James Monafo, a co-chair of Husch Blackwell’s Business Litigation Department, described this as a bittersweet time, since the firm is losing an exemplary lawyer in the prime of her career but also takes great satisfaction in her accomplishment. “Shirley is truly an amazing success story,” he noted. “Although we will miss her engaging personality and ability to light up a room, we could not be more proud of her. We are all comforted in knowing that the Eastern District of Missouri has just added an outstanding judge to the bench.”   

Extremely active in the community, Padmore-Mensah has served as a member of the board of directors for Safe Connections, The Links Incorporated and the African Refugee Service. In addition, she serves as a mentor for college and elementary students and is often asked to speak to students of all ages about the legal industry. She is a graduate of the 2006-2007 class of Leadership St. Louis.

In 2008, Padmore-Mensah was honored on International Women’s Day by the Women’s Law Caucus at Washington University School of Law for her work in promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession and her many contributions to legal education as an alumna of Washington University School of Law. In 2005, she received an award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Private Sector” at Washington University’s inaugural Black Law Students Awards Banquet. In 2004, she was recognized as one of 40 up-and-coming business leaders in the St. Louis area in the St. Louis Business Journal’s annual “40 Under 40.” In 2003, she received the Theodore McMillian Award from the Black Law Students’ Association at Saint Louis University School of Law, given in recognition of an attorney’s commitment to diversify the study and practice of law.

Padmore-Mensah received her B.A. in political science with an emphasis in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania. Originally from Monrovia, Liberia, she came to the United States with her family at the age of 10 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988.