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Tara Malek, 2019 Leaders in Law

Thoughtful, fearless and goal-driven

Ensuring gender equality in the legal profession


Tara Malek profile

Tara Malek celebrates her recognition as a 2019 Leader in Law. Photo by Pete Grady

Tara Malek is a mission-driven leader who always seeks the truth, shows compassion and leads with integrity.

“I enjoy helping people, my community and contributing to make the world a better place through legal advocacy,” says Malek. “I love the challenge of solving complex legal problems and systematically removing obstacles for our clients, so they can get back to business.”

Malek helped build a law firm that is dedicated to providing an environment of gender equality for women.

Her firm, Smith + Malek, is removing common industry barriers for working parents, particularly women, so they can fulfill their full potential as attorneys. It offers the best parental leave policy of any firm of its size in the region, giving full-time employees 12 weeks off at 100 percent of their salary.

The firm’s mission is to eliminate the traditional obstacles women in law face, such as having to choose between being a fully involved family member and having a thriving law career.

2019 Leaders in Law magazine

Click here to read the full 2019 Leaders in Law magazine.

“We are proud to be a female-majority law firm dedicated to making tomorrow better for our clients, our attorneys, and the communities where we live and work,” says Malek. “My personal goal is to see Smith + Malek become a top-five regional business law firm that provides an inclusive and supportive environment.”

Malek’s clarity of goals and values makes her an effective leader. Cora J. Whitney, a colleague at Smith + Malek, can attest. She wrote a letter recommending Malek for this award.

“Tara takes time out of her day to ensure others around her are thriving, not just making it through the day,” writes Whitney. “She is not only a fantastic boss, but a peer and a friend. She does this all while maintaining the balance of working and leading out of two offices, both in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.”

In Malek’s previous roles as an assistant U.S. attorney and a county prosecutor, she tried cases in state and federal courts throughout Idaho. She worked on a case involving the prosecution of high volume drug traffickers, including an 11-person drug trafficking conspiracy case.

“She is thoughtful and deliberate regarding the cases she accepts, looking for cases that will bring forth justice or right a wrong,” writes Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci J. Whelan in a letter of recommendation. “Her command of the rules of evidence and case law is impressive, and her steadfast decision to promote civility and cooperation solidify her as a leader in law.”

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