Profiles in our quarterly Trial Briefs magazine feature members at varying stages of their careers. Know an NCAJ member we should profile? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jasmine Little has wanted to be a lawyer for as long as she can remember.
“While I don’t remember the exact moment I made the decision to join the profession, I’m sure watching TV shows that highlighted attorneys influenced my decision,” she said.
Deuterman Law Group
NCAJ member for: two years
Education: East Carolina University, Wake Forest University School of Law
Little earned her law degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law, and this year joined the Deuterman Law Group as an associate concentrating on Social Security Disability and Medicaid. She is a magna cum laude graduate of East Carolina University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in business administration.
While Little did not pursue a made-for-TV practice area, she finds great satisfaction in the ways she can help her clients.
“A lot of my clients’ lives have revolved around their work and being able to provide a service to others through their employment,” she said. “That all changes when they are diagnosed with a condition or several conditions that no longer allow them to do so. Navigating the Social Security rules and regulations can be quite difficult, especially when you are constantly visiting doctors’ offices and managing your symptoms. I find it extremely rewarding to help clients get through this process so that they can focus their time on recovering or learning to live with their conditions.”
A native of Albemarle, Little lives in Winston-Salem with her dog, Milo. She answered a few questions about her experience with the practice of law so far and why she is an NCAJ member.
What have you learned so far about the practice of law that you would pass on as advice to those entering law school?
When you enter law school, you will undoubtedly learn that writing and litigation skills are important concepts to grasp to be an effective advocate — but it’s just as important to learn how to effectively communicate with your clients, witnesses, and other attorneys. There are a number of resources available to you during law school that will help you develop those soft skills. When you have a moment (and when it is socially safe to do so), have lunch with a local attorney to ask about their journey, meet with one of your professors who works in a practice area you are interested in, and get involved with a pro-bono project or clinic offered at your school to gain experience working directly with clients. You will gain mentors, insight into how others deal with challenging situations, and learn so much from those meetings that will help you once you start practicing law.
Is there a case or project that you’ve worked on — either as a law student or as an attorney — that stands out as particularly memorable one that made you feel proud to practice law?
I spent one summer as a judicial extern for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. During my time in court, I heard countless stories from multiple petitioners who were filing for bankruptcy because it was their last option — their most lucrative items were long gone, they had already taken out as many loans as they could to support their families, and they were on the brink of selling their home. I feel proud to be part of a profession that provides assistance to people who are going through such dire situations.
What was the most powerful thing you learned working with the Innocence and Justice Clinic as a student?
I learned how important it is to be a relentless advocate, one who will leave no stone unturned. Once a client is at this stage, creating a successful outcome for the client requires a lot of attention to detail and a great knowledge of the law. The payoff for being a relentlessness advocate is providing someone their freedom, and there may be no greater reward than that.
What prompted you to join NCAJ?
I joined NCAJ to connect with other attorneys who are committed to fighting for the rights of individuals. NCAJ provides a plethora of resources to its members that can be used no matter the legal battle.
What has been the most beneficial aspect of your NCAJ membership so far?
The CLEs that are offered by NCAJ have been a great resource for me, especially as a new attorney. Having the opportunity to learn from attorneys who have decades of experience and subject-matter expertise has sharpened my skills and helped me to become a more effective advocate.
Was there someone in your life who inspired you to pursue a career in the law?
My mom, Robin R. Little, inspired me to pursue a law career. We talked a lot about what I wanted to be when I grew up, and once I told her I was interested in becoming an attorney, she spent countless hours at the library with me, and she has been my biggest supporter.
Describe the perfect day off.
The perfect day off for me consists of two things: the beach and a good book.