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Five Minutes with Assistant Dean Mina Jones Jefferson


Assistant Dean and Director, Center for Professional Development Mina Jones Jefferson ’90 is a former hiring partner at a National Law Journal Top 250 law firm. She is one of the few law school career services professionals in the country who has been on both sides of the table. Dean Jefferson practiced commercial litigation for nine years before joining Cincinnati Law and was one of the first African-American women in the region elected to the partnership of a large firm. Students benefit daily from Dean Jefferson's practical experience, model of success, and professional network. Her goal is to help students make informed and insightful professional decisions consistent with their personal values.

Jefferson is a speaker on the topic of professionalism, has taught Ethics, and has provided the classroom instruction for the legal extern course. She is active in the community and currently serves, by appointment, on the Ohio Supreme Court Continuing Legal Education Committee; serves as a member on the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati Board of Trustees; and serves as a member of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Board of Directors.

What’s on your nightstand? Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster...I am doing a book club with my 10 y/o daughter and she got to pick the book!  Amazingly the themes are relevant to a lot of my daily interactions!

What are the big topics in professional development for 2011 and beyond? Talent management has taken its proper place in the legal arena.  For the student this means putting skin in the game.  You have to invest in yourself before others, namely employers, will invest in you. 

What sparked your interest in career development?  I like to empower people and the tools for success are not readily apparent in most places.  If someone actively manages his career he will always have options.

What’s the best part about the law/being a lawyer? The ability to abstract concepts and theories, to identify the tools to move beyond the obvious, to not be limited to the four corners of a document or the boundaries of an issue which is the essence of thinking outside the box.

Why did you want to become a lawyer?  The ability to abstract concepts and theories, and to move beyond the boundaries of a document or situation.