Broken laptop leads UM student to law career

Madison Edenfield
Oxford Stories

Political activist Jocelyn Jarrett admired law for many years, but she didn’t think seriously about pursuing it until her laptop broke.

Most people wouldn’t think that a broken computer could open a world of possibilities, but for Jarrett, 20, this was the beginning of her future law career.

When Jarrett entered college, she was skeptical about joining Mock Trial. A bubbly redhead at college fair tried to recruit her for Mock Trial, but Jarrett wanted no part of auditioning.

Later in the semester, Jarrett met an IT guy that fixed her computer. “It turns out that the guy that fixed my computer was on the executive board of Mock Trial and talked me into trying out,” she said. Jarrett ended up giving a speech to audition for Mock Trial and made the team.

Now, a year later, she has climbed through the ranks and is serving as treasurer of Mock Trial. Within the next year, she hopes to become vice president.

In high school, Jarrett extensively researched different career paths that would suit her, then realized she belonged in law. “I’ve always been someone that knew what they believed and was willing to fight for it,” she said.

She has been pursuing law since high school, working at numerous law firms and two courthouses, all before entering college. While working at a district courthouse, Jarrett realized she wanted to pursue a career as a judge.

Even though her high school did not offer a debate or mock trial team, Jarrett was always interested in these extracurricular activities. She is studying public policy and wants to attend law school after college to study criminal law.

Jarrett and her teammates recently competed at the American Mock Trial Association regionals in Jackson. While the team has competed in numerous competitions before, AMTA regionals are the most selective.

Through their hard work and dedication, the Ole Miss Mock Trial team qualified for regionals against 400 other universities in this elite competition. They competed against other top schools in the Southern region, such as Vanderbilt, Alabama, Tulane, and Tennessee.

Both the A and B teams did exceptional at regionals. The A team was first runner-up. This was Jarrett’s second time participating as a regional competing member with her team. However, this year was her first time making the opening remarks for Mock Trial and being a team captain.

While being team captain for regionals is stressful and time-intensive, Jarrett handled the responsibility with grace and good humor.

Arin Kemp, a member of Mock Trial, said Jarrett is determined.

“In all of my life, I’ve never met someone as determined and as much as a natural leader as Jocelyn Jarrett,” said Kemp. “She made us all feel needed in and out of the courtroom.”

While competing is actually Jarrett’s least favorite aspect of Mock Trial, she said the people she is surrounded by and a unified passion for law is what she treasures most.

At AMTA regionals, judges rank each team competing and its attorneys on a scale from one to 10. At each round, there are six attorneys and six witnesses that will be scored. The judges then rank the top four witnesses and attorneys every round during the competition, awarding them points based on their performance.

At the end of the competitions, the judges add the points earned from each individual and award those who are ranked highest. At competitions throughout the year, three people on the Mock Trial team have been awarded with witness awards and two others with attorney awards.

After the AMTA regionals, Jarrett is currently ranked the 11th attorney in the South region. She initially wanted to be a defense attorney until she started working at a defense firm one summer.

Because she “is very politically active” and feels as though “different things in cities can’t really be changed unless you are on the inside,” she is seeking a career with a more hands-on approach to law.

She wants to become a prosecutor so she can continue to be politically active and help create positive change in the world. After she concludes her work at a prosecutor’s office, she aspires to become a district court judge back in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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