How did Georgia State Law Prepare You for a Career as a Trial Lawyer?

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“The energy to succeed was palpable.” As a second-year in 1990, I decided to try for Law Review. I spent weeks researching my topic, carefully crafting each sentence and shepardizing each citation. The night before the 9 a.m. deadline, I spent the evening on my massive Mac polishing and proofreading my paper.

I don’t recall what happened next, but for whatever reason, my paper was gone. The file simply wasn’t there. Before the Cloud, before automatic backups, it was lost. The Mac’s clock still worked and displayed midnight.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. I wailed. I started to turn in for the night, bemoaning my lost opportunity.

Then I realized: It wasn’t over. I thought of the seemingly lost cases — and the lawyers who didn’t give up — that I learned about in Anne Emmanuel’s criminal law class. I thought about the fair shot I had at my new, egalitarian law school. I gathered my handwritten notes and began again.

For the next eight hours, I wrote frantically. At 9 a.m. I turned in my new paper. I never had the nerve to read it again, but it was enough to get me on Law Review as the political editor. More importantly for me as a trial lawyer, it taught me not to give up if you still have a chance.

When I started at Georgia State Law, we were a new school. My classmates and I— at all ages and from all walks of life — were there to learn the law and meet our own expectations. There was a determination to prove ourselves and the merit of our fledgling law school. We were blessed with inspiring, creative professors who brought fresh perspectives to the classroom. The energy to succeed was palpable. It was that energy that kept me writing all night … and that same energy has fueled my successes and pushed me through my losses. I am deeply grateful for Georgia State Law and the people who made it possible.

Linley Jones (J.D. ’92) is president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.