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Desperately Seeking a Sixth Gear

Desperately Seeking a Sixth Gear

In the four years since Shabrei Parker snagged her JD, she has loaded up her resume with enough accomplishments to defy the space-time continuum.

While completing a three-year clerkship with Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Parker also earned an LLM in trial advocacy from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

Parker was recently elected president-elect of the Philadelphia Barristers Association, which represents some 1500 black lawyers, jurists and law students and is an affiliate of the National Bar Association.  She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association and chaired the Barristers' Association Annual Awards and Scholarship Gala hosted by attorney Benjamin Crump. 

The work with the YLD has benefited Parker, who says the organization “touches and connects with the community, students and the profession…you can do as much or as little as you want.”

Leaning decidedly toward the “much” side of that equation, Parker chaired the YLD’s Lawyer for a Day program for high school students in the spring, Diversity Reception for law students this summer, and will serve as the scholarship chair for the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference in October.

Parker is delighted to take the reins at the Barristers Association, which she called “a really, really good place to be…it’s like an incubator for your profession.”

The Philadelphia native’s current professional practice is thriving, through her of counsel position at Mincey & Fitzpatrick, LLC in Center City, where she focuses on trusts and estates, family law and civil litigation. 

“I had to create a position, because the position I wanted wasn’t available,” Parker says, explaining that she did not crave an associate’s job and yet had not accumulated a sizable client portfolio to command a partner’s perch.  “I created a niche with a hybrid of litigation and everyday advocacy to solve real problems for real people.”

The job gives Parker the autonomy of running her own practice without bearing the administrative burdens that would come from hanging out a shingle.  The presence of colleagues against whom she can bounce ideas is also a benefit.

“It’s like being a single parent,” she says of solo practice. “You can do it alone, but you don’t want to.”

While a law student, Parker had completed a co-op placement and summer internship with Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock & Dodig, LLP and worked as of counsel at the Winston Law Firm.  She credits firm founder Kevin Mincey with inspiring her to map her own course.

“He helped me visualize how I can create a niche, my niche,” she says.

Dismissing complaints about the legal job market, Parker says it’s unwise for anyone to enroll in law school if their motivations are chiefly financial.

“As society is changing, you have to adapt with it and be entrepreneurial,” she says.  “If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school.  You’ll be just fine.”

As Parker’s career proceeds, she’s chalking up a growing list of courtroom victories, including a summary judgment she won for the defense in an employment discrimination claim in federal court.

“It’s really validating when you try a theory and it wins,” she says.

Someone might want to tell Parker that sleep, too, can be validating.