After practicing in a variety of other legal areas early in her law career, life and opportunity led Shelley Goodell to a practice that focuses primarily on the complexities of workers’ compensation law.
“I love many aspects of it, especially the medical component,” Shelley says. “It required acquiring a fair amount of knowledge about the human body and various medical conditions. Workers’ compensation law is very detailed and specialized.” Shelley works with employers and their insurance companies, providing advice in their handling of workers’ compensation claims. “Every work injury is unfortunate, and every way that it happens has an important story to it,” she says. “It’s an interesting and rewarding endeavor to facilitate the recovery, return to work, and resolutions that are in the best interest of our clients.”
To achieve the best results, Shelley ensures clients trust her to be thorough, diligent, knowledgeable, and approachable.
Shelley did not follow a traditional path in her law practice. After graduating from law school and being admitted to practice in both South Dakota and Iowa, she worked at a general practice law firm in her hometown of Sioux City, Iowa. When she moved to Des Moines, Shelley tackled poverty law as a staff attorney at Legal Services of Iowa. She handled urgent legal issues involving evictions, domestic abuse, public benefits, Social Security disability, contested unemployment, and debt collection. “Sometimes, you only had a couple of hours to file something in court or find a legal solution,” Shelley says. “The potential harm was imminent and consequential.”
Then Shelley decided to dedicate her time and attention to raising her family. She stepped back from her law career to focus on her children. After that fulfilling career detour, Shelley was unsure of her next step. “I always knew I would go back,” she says. “I loved the law but was unsure of the right path and how to get back in it.” Fate stepped in. While training for a triathlon, Shelley met Nyemaster attorney Coreen Sweeney during a spin class. The two connected, and eventually Shelley joined the firm. “When I was given the opportunity to come back and enjoy the career I always wanted, I was thrilled and grateful,” she says.
Besides leading to a new career opportunity, Shelley’s triathlon and marathon experiences also satisfy her competitive spirit. “I’ve been a runner my entire life, and racing is a great way to challenge myself,” she says. Shelley qualified for the Boston Marathon after running her first marathon, running that Boston race twice so far with hopes to return again.
The discipline Shelley applies to compete in races naturally translates to the practice of law. “Practicing law is like running a marathon. It takes patience, perseverance, and know-how, and in the end, those who are best prepared are triumphant.” Shelley continues to compete—and succeed—in both races and cases.
PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS
Des Moines Triathlon Club
Recipient of Governor’s Mentor of the Year Award
Middle School Track Coach
School Improvement Advisory Board
St. Francis School and Church