Shania L. Oakes is an attorney at John Ward Law Firm. Ms. Oakes joined the firm in 2018 and currently focuses her practice on business litigation. She formerly served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the United States District Court in Jacksonville for over 24 years. For 23 of those years, she was the law clerk to the Honorable Powell W. Mellon, Senior United States District Judge. In addition to traditional law clerk responsibilities with regard to civil and criminal hearings, trials, research, and drafting, she managed Judge Mellon’s caseload. During her tenure with the federal court, Ms. Oakes had the opportunity to work with many judges on a wide variety of federal cases. In the civil arena, she has experience with Bankruptcy Appeals, Civil Rights, Consumer Law, Employment, Law, ERISA, Patents, and Social Security, as well as state contract and tort law in diverse cases. In the criminal arena, she has worked on sentencing issues and habeas proceedings. Her experience includes assisting Judge Mellon with preparation and drafting opinions for sittings with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Ms. Oakes earned her law degree with High Honors from the University of Florida. While in law school, she served as Senior Articles Editor for the Florida Law Review and earned a Fellowship with the Center for Governmental Responsibility.
Ms. Oakes has been admitted to The Florida Bar and the Middle District of Florida Bar since 1990. She is a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association, Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and a Past President of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. She has served as an Associate Editor or the Jacksonville Bar Association Bulletin. She also was an Adjunct Professor at the Florida Coastal School of Law for four semesters, where she taught a seminar on Law and Religion and Florida Constitutional Law.
The University of Florida, College of Law, Juris Doctor
Loyola University, New Orleans, Master of Religious Education
The University of Florida, Bachelor of Sociology