Martin County Bar Association
Member Spotlight - May 2021
United States Magistrate Judge Shaniek M. Maynard
Howard University class of 1998Law School? Yale Law School class of 2001
How long have you been practicing law?
Why did you want to be an attorney?
As a high school student, I participated in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit’s Teen Court program hosted by the State Attorney’s Office. That program gives students the opportunity to role-play as attorneys, jurors, bailiffs, and clerks and decide the sentence for a teenager who commits a first-time misdemeanor. I remember working with the prosecutor to prepare my arguments, strategize about how to present my evidence, and contemplate a fair sentence to recommend. As I stood before the Court and presented the case, I remember having this awesome sense of the courtroom as a place where I could be heard, and where I could speak on behalf of others who did not have a voice. I decided then that I wanted to be a lawyer.
What are the biggest changes you have seen through the years?
The two biggest changes I have seen are (1) increased reliance on technology and social media by lawyers, clients, and courts; and (2) a greater focus on using mediation and arbitration to settle disputes rather than trial. Sadly, I have not seen a significant change in the rate at which women are gaining representation in the legal profession. In 2006, I worked on the Creating Pathways to Success for All Report by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, which focused on addressing inequities for women and women of color in big law firms. As of 2005, women made up approximately 15% of Big Law equity partners. Fourteen years later, in 2019, Bloomberg reported that women make up only 21% of Big Law equity partners (and only 14% of those are minorities). See Women Make Legal Profession Gains at ‘Glacial Pace,’ Survey Says (bloomberglaw.com). So, more than a decade later there was only a five percentage point increase. That is a concerning statistic and one which our profession needs to address.