Jessica Yeary - The Professional
During my time at the Public Defender’s Office, I served in numerous roles – both as a trial attorney on the front lines and as a trainer of new lawyers. I zealously advocated for clients while also working to improve the overall quality of representation in the office. I consistently organized continuing legal education seminars on emerging issues such as immigration and transgender rights. I enlisted the aid of other experienced attorneys to share their knowledge with their younger colleagues. Additionally, as one of the most experienced lawyers in the office, I took every opportunity to mentor and assist new lawyers in their practice.
The most rewarding step of my career took place over the last four years as I proudly served as a division chief for the Second Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office. The chief of the division handles the most serious cases and is responsible for properly training and guiding the newer attorneys. I trained and educated my team in order to ensure their success and the best possible outcome for our clients. I educated attorneys on how to zealously advocate while also teaching them how to mitigate potential sentences, how to properly handle a serious docket, and how to refine their courtroom skills. As one of the most experienced lawyers in the office, I took my responsibility of teaching the newer attorneys seriously and always made sure to support every lawyer in my division during a trial as either co-counsel or a reassuring presence in the courtroom.
I can lead this office because I know this office. I know the challenges of providing high-quality representation to hundreds of clients per year. I understand the difficulty of battling every day in a system that frequently forgets the human beings in it. Most importantly, I see a desperate need for the proper training and education to ensure that the Public Defender fulfills the promise of equal justice under the law. The criminal justice system should not churn people through the court dockets. The public defender should stand ready to fulfill the promise of equal justice under the law. Everything I have learned and experienced since that very first day as a young intern has made me the dedicated Public Defender who is ready to fulfill that exact mission.