Angelina Jackson ’04 Shares Her Passion for the Law
After graduating from the College of Law in 2004, Angelina Jackson has returned as the College’s Director of Externships and Public Service. Jackson, who joined the staff in August, has a number of responsibilities, including overseeing and administering the legal externship program, teaching the externship course, establishing new placements, overseeing and administering certain post-graduate fellowships, and working with the College’s summer public interest program.
“I really like working with the students and the attorneys in this legal community, and I enjoy teaching the class,” Jackson said.
Jackson grew up in Dayton, where she was first introduced to the legal profession at age 12, after spending a day with an attorney friend of her father. After attending Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where she initially pursued pharmacy but later earned an English degree, Jackson worked in retail management, she said. Then it was on to the College of Law, where Jackson struck up an interest in criminal justice and civil rights.
While attending the College of Law, Jackson was a member of Law Review, the Black Law Students Association and Student Court. In addition to getting an article published, Jackson served as the Law Review’s business manager as a 3L.
Jackson spent both of her summers at Dinsmore & Shohl before taking a job at the firm upon graduation. While at Dinsmore, Jackson practiced litigation, working in a number of areas including medical malpractice, consumer warranty work and contract disputes. She also represented indigent clients in criminal and civil matters through Dinsmore’s pro bono program.
“I enjoyed my practice at Dinsmore, but I am most passionate about social justice and criminal justice reform,” Jackson said, adding she could “eat, sleep and breathe” civil rights work.
After working at Dinsmore for about four years, Jackson went on to direct the Race & Justice Project at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, focusing on areas such as police misconduct, racial disparities, charging and sentencing, and the “school-to-prison pipeline.” In 2009, Jackson was awarded the Trailblazer Award from the National Bar Association’s Young Lawyers division for her voting rights advocacy on behalf of incarcerated juveniles in Ohio.
Jackson also had the opportunity to argue in front of the Ohio Supreme Court last September.
Then, it was back to the corner of Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street for Jackson, who is now working with the students to prepare them for their futures. “The biggest aspect of my journey, that I think I try to impart to students, is that I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity in my career to do legal work that I love,” Jackson said. “What that did for me as a lawyer was something incredible. It changes you when you are doing work that you are passionate about and connected to. It just changes the kind of lawyer that you are. I want to help students find what they truly love about the law."
Jackson added that she has been “really lucky” and it has been “extremely rewarding” to have worked in the public sector. “To be able to pursue justice and help people have a voice on issues that are really critical to their life, I can’t even put a price on having been able to do that,” she said.
In her free time, Jackson’s interests include reading, doing things on the water (such as swimming, snorkeling and kayaking), her recently discovered interest in baking, and of course being a mom to her four-year-old daughter, Amaia.
By Jordan Cohen, ‘13