WLA Board of Directors
PRESIDENT: Jennifer Matthew
Director of ADR & Counsel | Alaris | Email Jennifer
Ms. Matthew is the Director of ADR and Counsel for Alaris, where she focuses on all business aspects of the ADR program which includes arbitration, mediation and special master services. Ms. Matthew joined Alaris in 2017, after working as a personal injury attorney representing individuals who had been injured or harmed in various capacities. Prior to that she worked for over 11 years as an Assistant Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis prosecuting major felony crimes. Her work enabled her to advocate on behalf of countless victims and their families in order to obtain justice. She has tried over 50 jury and bench trials in her career. Ms. Matthew is very active with the Missouri Bar and local bar associations. She is presently on the Board of Governors for the Missouri Bar, the CLE Chair for BAMSL and for the past year she served as Secretary on the WLA Board. Ms. Matthew graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in International Relations from James Madison College and she received her JD and International Law Certificate from Saint Louis University.
PRESIDENT ELECT: Deborah Price
VP of Business Recruitment & General Counsel| Missouri Partnership |Email Deborah
Deborah Price is a dedicated public servant and experienced attorney who has spent her career serving the people of Missouri. In her current position as Vice President of Business Recruitment & General Counsel for the Missouri Partnership, Deborah works with company executives and consultants from around the globe on multi-million dollar business investment projects to bring jobs to the state. Deborah’s efforts on behalf of Missouri have helped the state land new operations involving professional corporate services, manufacturing, research and development, agriculture technology, and health innovation. Deborah is also responsible for managing a broad array of legal matters for the organization including contract negotiation, records management and nondisclosure agreements, and for advising the CEO on overall risk management and compliance issues. Before joining the Missouri Partnership, Deborah served as the Director of Boards & Commissions in the Office of Missouri Governor. In this role, Deborah led the Governor’s team to identify and recommend Missouri citizens for appointment to positions of public trust. She was responsible for compliance with hundreds of statutes and also worked with members of the Senate to prepare for confirmation hearings. Prior to that, Deborah served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Missouri where she handled complex consumer fraud litigation and criminal prosecutions. Deborah’s efforts resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution for victims as well as court orders enjoining fraudulent and unfair business practices. Before working in the Consumer Protection Division, Deborah was assigned to the Child Support Unit where she represented the Missouri Department of Social Services in hundreds of court cases. Deborah also had the privilege of serving as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law where she taught Civil Practice for three semesters. In her free time, Deborah works pro bono as a special public defender through her volunteer work with the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel. She has also served as a student litigation and jury trial mentor for the Saint Louis University School of Law Clinic. In 2015, Deborah was appointed as a Regent on the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents and currently serves in that capacity and heads the legal committee. Deborah is also Secretary of the board for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and was recently honored by the organization as “Emerging Leader.” In 2015 Deborah was nominated and named as a Fellow as part of the Frank Family Institute’s Young Leadership Program. Deborah is a 2011 recipient of the Missouri Lawyer’s Media’s Women’s Justice Award in the category of Public Service Practitioner. Deborah is married Dr. Joel Jennings.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT: Lisa Reynolds
Partner | Wiedner & McAuliffe, Ltd. | Email Lisa
Ms. Reynolds is a partner at Wiedner & McAuliffe, Ltd. She received her Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2006 with a certificate in Health Law and her Bachelor of Arts with honors in Communications from the University of Missouri - Columbia in 2002. Ms. Reynolds concentrates her practice in workers' compensation defense, representing employers and insurance carriers in Missouri and Illinois. She also defends medical fee dispute cases. Ms. Reynolds' professional affiliations include the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association, the National Restaurant and Retail Defense Association, and the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance. She has served on the WLA Board as a Member-At-Large for the 2015-2016, and 2013-2014 terms. She was recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2011, 2015 and 2016, and as one of Missouri's Outstanding Young Lawyers in the area of workers' compensation by Top Attorneys. Ms. Reynolds was also profiled in Illinois Business Journal's Women in Law 2012. Lisa and her husband, John, and their nine year old boy/girl twins live in Kirkwood. In her free time, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, reading and visiting museums.
VICE PRESIDENT: Ida Shafaie
Associate Attorney | Armstrong Teasdale | Email Ida
Ms. Shafaie is a litigation associate at Armstrong Teasdale and proud graduate of The University of Missouri Law School. In her practice, she regularly defends employers and businesses in employment discrimination suits and provides day-to-day counseling on a variety of employment and personnel matters. She also conducts internal investigations and provides advice and strategies to effectively manage risk and liability. Prior to working at Armstrong, she worked at small defense litigation firm and as an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Greene County Prosecutor’s office. Ms. Shafaie regularly mentors students through the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and the St. Louis Regional Business council. She is also active in her firm’s Inclusion Committee and hiring efforts. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside at the Missouri Botanical Garden and trying new restaurants.
SECRETARY: Andreea Sharkey
Associate Attorney | Baker, Sterchi, Cowden & Rice, LLC | Email Andreea
Andreea Sharkey focuses her practice in litigation with an emphasis in insurance litigation, personal injury defense, general liability claims and product liability. Andreea has assisted a variety of clients in litigation and advising capacities by focusing on finding creative solutions to complicated problems. She has experience in all stages of litigation including, pre-trial strategy, motion practice, written discovery, depositions and trial. Andreea graduated from Washington University School of Law in 2017. During law school, she served as Co-Chair of the Pro Bono Committee, member of the Public Service Advisory Board and was a part the Women’s Law Caucus. While completing her law degree, Andreea also worked as a law clerk for a local firm assisting with a variety of litigation matters. She is a member of the Clayton Leadership Class of 2018-2019 with the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and supports local community organizations.
TREASURER: Jackie Graves
Attorney | Lewis Rice, LLC | Email Jackie
Ms. Graves is a Partner in the Litigation Department at Lewis Rice LLC. She is a 2012 graduate of St. Louis University School of Law. While in law school, Ms. Graves served as an editor of the St. Louis University Law Journal and was a member of the National Moot Court Team, winning second place at the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship. She was also the recipient of the Judge Robert G. Dowd, Sr. Appellate Advocacy Award. Ms. Graves’ primary practice focuses on commercial litigation, where she represents a range of businesses and individuals. She also practices municipal law, regularly advising cities and other government bodies on a number of issues, from the Sunshine Law to complex litigation. Ms. Graves is admitted to both the Missouri and Illinois bars. In addition to serving on the board of the Women Lawyers’ Association of St. Louis, Ms. Graves is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis’ Communications Committee and serves on the board of Aim High St. Louis.
MEMBERS AT LARGE:
Owner | Dawson Law Firm, LLC | Email Shannon
Shannon grew up in North St. Louis County, Missouri, specifically Florissant. She attended high school at Incarnate Word Academy and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts and Science in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice at the University of Central Missouri. Immediately after graduating college, Shannon went on to study at St. Louis University School of Law. Shannon opened her practice right out of law school in hopes of making a name for herself in the legal community. Before law school, Shannon wanted to be a prosecutor, but quickly learned that her passion was for helping injury victims and their families. Four years later, Shannon has successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for her clients. Not only does she manage her own practice with a primary focus of helping injury victims, she also assists numerous clients through the SLU LAW Legal Clinic with various criminal and municipal matters.
Senior Counsel | Husch Blackwell, LLC | Email Christina
A healthcare litigator, Christina brings practical knowledge of healthcare finance and operations to her representation of clients. The baseline of Christina’s advocacy as a healthcare litigator began before she attended law school. As a chief accountant and finance director at a healthcare startup, numerous physician practices, a home health organization and a major for-profit hospital corporation, Christina helped align the details of patient care with proactive compliance, organizational growth and cost efficiency. Christina brings this experience to clients when handling complex healthcare litigation on their behalf. Christina also served for nearly a decade as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Missouri, representing numerous federal agencies in a wide variety of civil matters including medical malpractice, qui tam actions, employment matters and health care fraud. Most recently, Christina guided the medical school, physician practice of 500+, health sciences college and nursing school of a large private university in her role as in-house counsel. Clients appreciate Christina’s especially broad understanding of how the law and healthcare intersect. Christina has firsthand knowledge of what clients face regarding regulatory compliance and responding to claims, and she enjoys helping them navigate efficient and cost-effective paths forward.
Attorney | The Law Offices of Joan M. Swartz | Email Jenifer
Jenifer is an attorney at The Law Offices of Joan M. Swartz where she focuses on representing and fighting for people who were injured through no fault of their own, including victims of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other employment-related legal issues. She has litigation experience in both state and federal courts throughout Missouri and Illinois and has vast experience representing clients at all stages of litigation, including pre-trial strategy, motion practice, written discovery, depositions, trial, and appeal. Jenifer received her J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2014. She is on the Advisory Board of the SLU Law Young Alumni Society (YAS), a Board Member of the St. Louis Sports Commission’s Young Professionals Group and a member of Young Leaders of SSM Health. She also coaches field hockey at Ste. Gen du bois Middle School and Ladue High School. Jenifer was born and raised in Colorado and currently lives in Brentwood. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking (especially her favorites inspired by Chrissy Teigen, Tieghan Gerard and Gabby Dalkin), traveling nationally and internationally, and hanging with her puppy, Winter Belle Snow.
Partner | Kamykowski, Gavin & Smith, P.C. | Email Mariel
Mariel Taylor is a partner with Kamykowski, Gavin & Smith, P.C. having joined the firm in 2015, and practices primarily in the field of health care litigation in both Missouri and Illinois with particular emphasis on claims of medical malpractice. Prior to joining KGS, Mariel worked in the litigation department at Greensfelder Hemker & Gale, P.C. She received her Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2007, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004. Ms. Taylor’s professional affiliations include the American Bar Association’s Torts, Trial and Insurance Practice Section, the American Bar Foundation, the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, and the American Health Lawyers Association. She was nominated to the Theodore McMillian American Inns of Court (2013-2015) and has been named as a Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Rising Star in the field of medical malpractice. Ms. Taylor lives in St. Louis with her husband Eric, son C.J. (18 – recent graduate of Ladue High School and future student at University of Arizona) stepson Alex (10), and daughters Evie (4) and Millie (2).
Attorney | Armstrong Teasdale | Email Abigail
Abby Twenter is an associate at Armstrong Teasdale in the General Litigation Practice Group. She previously served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable E. Richard Webber in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri and as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Ms. Twenter graduated from Truman State University, magna cum laude, in 2012 and the University of Illinois College of Law, magna cum laude, in 2016. While in Illinois, Ms. Twenter received the Illinois Women’s Bar Foundation Award for her dedication to public service. She is currently the vice chair of the Missouri Bar Committee for Women in the Profession and would love to get further involved in the Women Lawyers’ Association. She grew up on a farm in Pilot Grove, Missouri, but currently resides in the Central West End. In her spare time, Ms. Twenter enjoys traveling to new places and trying new recipes.
Associate | Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, LLP | Email Alexus
Alexus Williams is an associate in the St. Louis office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the General Liability Practice. Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Alexus served as an Assistant County Counselor for St. Louis County Government. As a former Assistant Circuit Attorney, Alexus specialized in domestic violence and sexual abuse prosecution. Before her admission into the Missouri Bar, Alexus was a Legal Solutions Consultant for LexisNexis. Alexus received her B.S. in Psychology from Howard University, summa cum laude, in 2015 and J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2018. During her time at Saint Louis University School of Law, Alexus served as Vice President and Chapter President for the Black Law Students Association. Additionally, she held two regional officer positions within the National Black Law Students Association. Alexus is community-focused and engaged, serving on numerous committees and boards. Alexus is Secretary for the Young Lawyers Division of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL); and a law student mentor for the Mound City Bar. Recently, Alexus graduated from the Focus St. Louis Emerging Leaders Program (Spring 2021 Cohort). Missouri Lawyers Media recognized Alexus as a 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Awards honoree, and recently Alexus was named as a Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Award Of Merit winner for the 2020-21 bar year by BAMSL and the 2021 Women’s Justice Award winner for the Pro Bono category by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. Alexus is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and serves on the Social Action Committee for the St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter.
2020-2021 Board Retreat