Mary Zambreno | Age 31, Associate attorney, Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen P.C.
Saturday, February 20, 2010 7:00 AM
Mary Zambreno was finishing up her degree in English and women's studies at Northwestern University when a couple of law-related courses started to alter her career path. Then she talked to a DePaul University College of Law professor, who finished the job.
"She offered me a nice scholarship and an opportunity to be part of a family law program they were starting," Zambreno said. "She had hopes of making it the pre-eminent family law program in Chicago, and I had a chance to be part of it from the ground up."
Zambreno went on to receive her law degree from DePaul in 2004 and landed a position at a Chicago firm, Schiller, Ducanto and Fleck. There she dealt with complicated distributions of high-net-worth estates in divorce proceedings.
Then in 2006, her husband, Joe, after considering faculty positions with several universities, chose to become a professor of computer engineering at Iowa State University. And that brought her to Central Iowa, where she joined the Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen P.C. law firm as an attorney.
"Iowa State was a good fit for him, and it kind of was fitting for us to move to Des Moines," Zambreno said. "It kind of looked and felt like we were still at home. But one of the benefits of moving to Des Moines was that we were able to start a family here where it's safe, close-knit, you know your neighbors, and everyone is very personable, friendly and helpful."
The couple has a 20-month-old son, Joey.
Zambreno volunteered at Pro Bono Advocates while attending DePaul. After becoming a full-time attorney, she provided volunteer legal services at a shelter for battered women.
She serves on the board of Youth & Shelter Services Inc. and on the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers Community Advisory Board, and helps with the Polk County Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Zambreno also judges junior high and high school mock trials and speaks to high school students about their legal rights as part of the Iowa State Bar Association's "On Your Own" service project.
In 2009, the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project presented Zambreno with an Outstanding Volunteer Award.