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Attorney Jordan Jones: Talking diversity with students

October 3, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Auto Law attorney Jordan JonesI’m very proud to work with all of the excellent auto accident attorneys on the Michigan Auto Law team. One of those lawyers is Jordan M. Jones, who focuses his practice on helping victims of serious auto and truck accidents throughout Michigan. Recently, as part of the American Association for Justice’s Minority Caucus Annual Service Project, Jordan spoke to students in Baltimore about the important issue of diversity in the law.

Below, Jordan describes the experience and his thoughts on the issue:

“Several of our attorneys attended the 2014 American Association for Justice Annual Convention in Baltimore this year.

Steve Gursten spoke to the Motor Vehicle Accident Litigtion Section on the challenges attorneys face proving traumatic brain injury (TBI) to cynical insurance company claims adjusters and in courtrooms. Tom James spoke to the Truck AccidentLitigation Section on federal jurisdiction in trucking cases.

And I had the opportunity to speak about an important issue that’s too often put on the back burner. I addressed the next generation of potential lawyers on diversity in the law.

Diversity in the law is an important goal in itself, because a variety of cultural experiences and viewpoints can better serve the people you’re representing. In our case, it’s people who have been injured in automobile accidents, but this applies to all lawyers and to all areas of law today.

For me, diversity in the law also resonates on a personal level. It’s an area I care deeply about, and I realize the legal profession today is working toward correcting the damage done from decades of ambivalence.

I’m a first generation college student of Black Canadian and Maltese descent. I grew up in Ontario, Canada and went to law school at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. I decided to pursue a law degree because I wanted to be able to truly help people.  This stemmed from growing up in a neighborhood of immigrants, who weren’t aware of their legal rights or where to turn when legal trouble arose.

I had the chance to share my experiences with students in Baltimore, through the AAJ Minority Caucus Annual Service Project.

My panel went to the Baltimore City Community College to speak to a group of students aged 15-17 considering college and/or careers in law. The students were part of a program called “Upward Bound,” an initiative in the Baltimore area that focuses on at-risk groups, helping them make good life choices and succeed at a high level.

I shared some advice that helped me get through college and law school. To start, I stressed to never be afraid to ask questions. Balancing the intense responsibilities of college and law school can be overwhelming at first. But there are people there to help you, if you only have the courage to ask.  This is also a great lesson for new lawyers. Students can talk to school administration and counselors. They can join minority groups, such as BLSA (Black Law Students Association) at Wayne State Law School.  Such groups can help share resources, knowledge, common experiences and networking and can enrich your experience as a student.

I also shared some general life advice and insights about making good choices. For instance, you must always have a goal in mind. And make sure you do something that moves you closer to achieving your goal every single day. Even if it’s something small, you’re still moving closer to your goals every day.  Over time, you will be astonished at how much closer you get to your goals based upon what may seem like small daily steps.

I strongly support Upward Bound, and similar programs here in metro Detroit, because they provide students with positive role models and influences, and show these young adults that they have enormous potential to succeed, regardless of where they come from. This event was important because impoverished people might sometimes have a hard time believing that they can do something beyond what they see growing up. All of our panel started with hardship and took different winding paths to becoming successful attorneys.”

Related information:

Michigan Auto Law: How we give back

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