Featured Alumnus: Mark Shank

Mark Shank graduated from Mizzou Law School in 1979 and immediately started practice in Osage Beach, Mo., a very small town, and where he grew up. From a small town practice to big cities of Texas, Shank has become well-known and respected by the broad legal community

While at Mizzou, Shank met and eventually married his wife. They have been married for more than 38 years. Shank’s wife, Lu Ann is originally from Texas and wanted to return. He decided to give it a try.

“One hesitancy in moving was the fact that I had no contacts in Texas and did not know how my Mizzou education would translate,” he said.  “I can now say it translated very well, and prepared me well for a successful law career in Texas.”

After arriving in Texas, Shank said he knew he wanted to practice labor and employment law and litigation.

“I caught a break and obtained a job with the best L & E boutique firm in Dallas, Clark West Keller,” he said. “There, as I learned my craft, I quickly learned about the value of the highly practical education I received a Mizzou Law. And, that Midwestern values of hard work, reliability, and dedication paid off. I was able to try multiple cases all over the state and make partner in five years.”

Shank stayed at Clark West Keller until 2001. During his career there, he achieved several career milestones:

  • President of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers
  • Board Chair of the Texas Young Lawyers
  • Becoming Board Certified in Employment and Commercial Trial Law, by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Founding and Chairing the Dallas Bar Employment Law Section
  • Chairing the Texas Employment Law Section
  • Elected as President of the Dallas Bar Association, and being tasked to raise $14 million to expand the Dallas Bar Headquarters.

In 2001, Hughes and Luce recruited Shank, then one of the top regional firms in Texas. While with Hughes and Luce, Shank continued to receive accolades, such as:

  • Serving as their Lateral Hiring Partner
  • Being named by Texas Super Lawyers as one of the top 100 Lawyers in Texas
  • Being named in Best Lawyers in American 20 straight years
  • Being named in D Magazine’s Best Lawyers list for 15+ years
  • Being named a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Serving as an adjunct professor at SMU for 10 years
  • Serving as Chair of the Texas Bar Foundation
  • Serving as Chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation

In 2008 Hughes and Luce merged with K & L Gates, then a 2,000 lawyer firm. Shank said the size of the firm wasn’t a good fit for him and joined what became Gruber Hail Johansen Shank and eventually became its managing partner.

In this role, Shank added additional honors:

  • Service as Board Chair of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, and helping to raise over $100 million toward that cause.
  • Service, for 5 years as Chair of the Dallas Breakfast Group.
  • Publishing as a book entitled “The Texas Litigator’s Guide to Departing Employee Cases”
  • Being named by Texas Lawyer as one of five “Go to” Employment lawyers in Texas.

Shank joined his current Firm, Diamond McCarthy in April.  In October,  the American College of Commercial Arbitrators named Shank a Fellow.

He attributes his more than 40 years of career success to his Mizzou Law education.

“I have worked along-side and against lawyers from the most prestigious schools in the country, and from every Texas school, he said. ” The combination of top-quality academic and practical education I received at Mizzou law prepared me well for every challenge. It has been a ticket to a successful and rewarding legal career. Never once did anyone question my Missouri degree or indicate that it was not up to snuff.  Instead, it appeared others believed I was well trained and well prepared for practice.”

Shank said he firmly believes other Mizzou graduates can have a similar success story.

“Any Mizzou graduate can be highly successful when their good training is combined with hard work and thoughtful career choices,” he said.

Would you like to be a featured alumnus or alumna? Email Aurora today!