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A message from Juris P. Prudence: Writing your story with your legal career

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A message from Juris P. Prudence: Writing your story with your legal career

For National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), Before the Bar is spotlighting some of our lawyer-authors. In today’s installment, Jessica Childress, an associate at a large international law firm in Washington, D.C., brings us a message from Juris P. Prudence, an 11-year-old lawyer and the protagonist of a children’s book about her legal adventures.

Hi! My name is Juris Providence Prudence. My friends call me “JP,” so you can call me that too! Very nice to meet you, and congratulations on starting your journey of becoming a lawyer! Isn’t the legal profession the best? I’m only 11 years old, but I love being a real lawyer.

I just passed the bar, and gee, am I excited to use my law degree to change the world. My best friend, Sofia, was the valedictorian of our law school class. One of my favorite parts of her commencement speech was her statement that lawyers get to write their own stories.

My best friend Izzy loves drawing and creating amazing artistic works. Maddy, my other best friend, is a math, science, and technology wizard, and Sofia loves learning about American history. I’m sure that each of our legal careers will be different, but as lawyers, we each can create our own stories within the law. Even better, we can write our career narratives in a way that helps to change our communities. The cool thing is that since we are all only eleven years old, we have some time to think about our stories, draft them, edit them, and maybe even write them again.

I’m not sure what my career story will be. Maybe I will be a law firm partner. Maybe I’ll start a non-profit organization. Maybe I will run for mayor, or governor, or United States Congresswoman, or maybe even the President of the United States! Or perhaps, I will become a Supreme Court Justice — Justice Juris Prudence. I think that has a nice ring to it. The possibilities are endless! That’s the great part about writing your own story. You can write it to have any plot and ending that you want.

One of my favorite classes in law school was constitutional law. I loved learning about voting rights. One day, I hope that I will have the chance to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. Have you ever dreamed of standing in front of the Supreme Court Justices and arguing a case that would change history? For me, that would be a dream come true. During my debates for the National Kids Leaders Academy debate team, I pretend that I’m standing in front of the Supreme Court Justices when I’m making an argument. With hard work, I know that my legal career story will include an argument or two before the United States Supreme Court and perhaps a spot on the judicial bench, if I’m lucky! For now, I might just start my book by working on changing the law to get kids the right to vote. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I love reading about the career journeys of other famous lawyers; they are my role models. What an honor to be a part of the same profession as influential historical figures like First Lady Michelle Obama, President Abraham Lincoln, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Justice Thurgood Marshall, just to name a few. I plan to use my knowledge of the law to change history. With hard work, passion, compassion, perseverance, and dedication, I know I will.

Most of us are writing the first chapter in our stories. Some of us have already written several chapters. Regardless of where you are in your career book, I can’t wait to read the next chapter. Happy writing!

Jessica Childress Jessica Childress is the Managing Attorney of the Childress Firm PLLC in Washington, D.C. and the author of The Briefcase of Juris P. Prudence, a children’s book about the legal adventures of 11-year-old lawyer, Juris P. Prudence. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. In 2015, she was honored with the National Bar Association’s 40 under 40 Best Advocates Award. Jessica hopes that The Briefcase of Juris P. Prudence will expose more children to the legal profession and encourage their interest in a future career in law.