2021 Recipient – Shelly Joyner
Shelly C. Joyner is an associate attorney at Crain & Wooley, an estate planning firm in Plano, Texas. She is a proud graduate of UNT Dallas College of Law where she was active in advocacy activities, student government, and other student organizations.
Originally from Memphis, Shelly is a “second career” lawyer after 17 years in various positions with an air freight shipping company. She chose to go to law school after she found herself studying law as a way to unwind after a tough night on the tarmac. She found the perfect school in UNT Dallas College of Law where her class was comprised primarily of other non-traditional students with a passion for justice.
After graduation, Shelly was able to continue at Crain & Wooley where she’d started working as a law clerk during law school. There, she was able to use her contingency planning background to create custom estate plans for clients. The firm also gave her the opportunity to find creative outlets for community education regarding Texas probate laws, which are commonly misunderstood and often result in a costly clean-up for loved ones.
When the pandemic changed everything, Shelly chose to take the lemons and make lemonade. When CLEs became easily accessible online through her various bar organizations, she loaded up on as many as possible. Because of the additional education, she was able to take on ancillary matters for her estate planning clients that the firm had previously referred out. Additional civil rights training allowed her to spend the summer volunteering as a legal observer at the racial justice demonstrations throughout North Texas. Other pro bono work during the year resulted in membership in the State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College. Shelly strongly believes that it is her duty as an attorney to advocate for those who cannot afford legal services, and is grateful that the Texas Bar College gives her the resources to be able to effectively do so.
Shelly is involved with the amazing women of Attorneys Serving the Community and Daughters of the American Revolution. She is also currently serving as a Co-Chair of the Dallas Area Young Lawyer’s Elder Law Community Outreach Committee. She greatly enjoys helping aspiring advocates by judging high school, undergraduate, and law school moot court and mock trial competitions throughout North Texas. She also loves walking Plano’s city parks with her mutts, Pepper the Batdog and Moira Rose.