Get to Know Remington Jackson ‘15
Why do you want to become a lawyer? Why the interest in law?
From an early age, my father conditioned my desire to become an attorney, even going as far as contemplating adding the title “Esq.” to my name before I even attended Kindergarten! He expounded upon the prestige associated with being an attorney, especially as a minority, and that it would be more than a job but a career. He impressed upon me that the heart of the legal profession is one of public service—promoting the rule of law and pursuing the common good. He also mentioned the potential financial stability it could provide and the ability to make use of a J.D. in many areas, even if I didn’t end up practicing law.
To find out just how much of this was true, I spent my summers throughout high school and college working at various legal entities such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Allegheny County Law Department to get as much experience as possible at my “predetermined” life career. For my senior thesis at the College of Wooster, I focused on the arguments in favor and against the practice of the death penalty with the paper “The Necessary Criteria to Save a Dying Practice: An Attempt to Morally Justify Capital Punishment”.
Throughout these opportunities, I found that the satisfaction I experienced from trying to understand and debate complicated issues through my speech and writings intersect well with the legal profession. Most importantly, I feel that being an attorney—an act of serving and service to others—is, as Muhammad Ali put it, the rent we pay for our room here on earth. These experiences have all played a role in fueling my aspiration to become an attorney. In the end my father was right all along!
What area(s) of law are you interested in?
Currently I am getting experience with corporate law areas like securities fraud litigation, protecting shareholder rights, and corporate governance issues. I am interested in labor and employment law, tax law, and I am open to learn from new arenas and challenges.
At my time with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office I had the opportunity to work with the Worker’s Compensation department and found that it was never a dull day. Sitting in on the settlement conferences to see the negotiation and cordial but zealous advocacy between the representatives for the employer and employee was intriguing. I found that the area involved complex relationships between people in the workplace and consequently had a very human component to it. You get a sense of who the individual is and their contribution to society.
What types of professional experiences have you had that will help you on your path to becoming an attorney?
During my 1L summer I worked as a summer associate with the Ohio Attorney General's Cincinnati Office and as a teacher with the Ohio Law and Leadership Institute. With LLI I taught youth from traditionally underserved communities about leadership, writing, self-expression, test taking, and study tactics while providing a basic understanding of the study and practice of law. During my 2L year, I worked as a legal extern for the General Counsel's Office for the University of Cincinnati.
I am currently the President of the College of Law’s chapter of Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Vice-Chair of the Midwest Region of the National Black Law Students Association (MWBLSA). I also serve as the Reprint Editor on the Immigration & Nationality Law Review and a Senior Article Editor for the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights’ Human Rights Quarterly. In the Fall I will be serving as a judicial extern to the Hon. Jeffery P. Hopkins, United States Bankruptcy Court – Southern District of Ohio and as a representative for the University in the Potter Stewart American Inn of Court. Finally, I am a student representative for Kaplan Test Prep.
A few final thoughts on career (and personal) preparation…
People hire people. No matter how great your grades or who you know, if you are a jerk or people just do not want to work with you, you are shooting yourself in the foot before you can even get it in the door. Be yourself, speak about your interests without reverting back to cookie cutter responses, and let your personality prove why you got to your current place in life. Never fear rejection but rather savor the opportunity to learn something from each experience you are given because each setback is only a setup for your next success.
Take full advantage of legal and judicial externships. While they do not pay, what they provide in terms of hands on experience and connections is priceless. There are few other opportunities available where you can get so much feedback without worrying about a grade or curve and get the kinks out while learning the right way to do your work.
Chase your passion, whatever it may be, and the money will follow rather than chasing after money and hoping the passion will come along. There are too many different paths to follow to happiness to end up hating the place you spend 8-10 hours of your day. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint, so go the extra mile to have coffee and lunch with those already doing the work that you are interested in to hear the good and the bad. Professionals are more than willing to "pay it forward" in remembrance of those that did it for them. Do not be discouraged if you do get a "No" reponse. There are 100 "Yes" responses out there just waiting for you to ask.
Dig your well before you are thirsty. That is something my closest mentor has always preached to me: network constantly so that I can reach out to a wealth of resources long before I need help with a reference or position. Not being from Cincinnati and not being in the top 20% of my class, any time not spent on studying and working goes towards networking and building relationships to ensure that I am never just a name on a piece of paper for any position I apply. Hard work will always prove your mettle, and while you will almost certainly experience setbacks throughout law school, never let an exam result decide your fate.