Jennifer Paschen Bergeron ’02 has been a member of the Ohio Innocence Project staff for three years. Originally from Ohio, Bergeron attended Centre College in Kentucky, where she majored in International Relations and French. She went on to receive a master’s degree in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia before returning to Ohio to attend law school. She chose the College of Law because of its strong reputation and because of the Urban Morgan Human Rights Institute, of which she was a fellow.
Following graduation from the College of Law, Bergeron worked at the Cincinnati office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, and, later, Ulmer & Berne, focusing mainly on employment litigation. After a few years, however, she decided she wanted to move to a career that was more public interest-oriented. “I knew about the Ohio Innocence Project because I followed the case of Clarence Elkins,” she said. “I had always been intrigued by the idea of working with OIP, so when an opening appeared, I took advantage of the opportunity to apply.”
Bergeron truly enjoys her job. She stated that she really likes working with the clients: “When you believe a client is innocent, but he or she is stuck in prison with no one else to turn to, you can’t walk away from that,” she said. “It’s also a huge thrill when you actually exonerate someone.” Bergeron also stated that she loves that she gets to work so closely with law students. “It’s great to see them learn throughout the year,” she said. “Plus, each summer we get a new crop of eager students who are not yet jaded by the realities of this job, which helps keep the energy level up.” Overall, said Bergeron, her job is “incredibly rewarding.”
Written by: Lindsay Mather ‘11