Lawyer tales: Meet Jessica Taylor Levine

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attorney story jessica

Our on-call attorneys are an experienced and diverse group of attorneys who are committed to our mission to make the law easy and affordable. These stories give a glimpse into the lives of our lawyers and show how they help our clients achieve their goals with Rocket Lawyer.

Meet Jessica, surfer and full time attorney

My name is Jessica Taylor Levine. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I have a deep love for the ocean, so much so that I stayed in Miami for college and went to University of Miami where I studied journalism, philosophy, and English literature.

While studying at the University of Miami, I surfed a lot, gave spin lessons, climbed, climbed, and ran almost every day. Running is a passion of mine and my pharaoh dog Tut usually ran with me.

After graduation, I knew I wanted to continue my education and continue writing (which you spend most of your time studying journalism, philosophy, and literature).

At this point in my life my family had moved to Nashville and left me in Miami. For the next two years after college, I worked and saved for graduate school. There was only one school I wanted to attend, the Savannah College of Art and Design. After saving for two years, studying a lot for the GRE and putting together my writing portfolio, I sent a single application to a graduate school, SCAD. I found out that I was accepted on my birthday. Shortly thereafter, I packed myself, my apartment, and of course Tut, and moved to downtown Savannah, Georgia. Living in Savannah was like a dream. You leave the motorway, drive into the city center and suddenly the streets are paved with bricks and the houses are 200 years old. The Spanish moss overwhelms you and the beauty and sense of history in an undeniable way. And then came the first day of graduate school.

SCAD is very selective. I was maybe 20 out of all applicants who were accepted into the Research Training Group this year. The expected workload was ruthless. In fact, SCAD doesn’t hold classes on Fridays and keeps its buildings open 24/7. We assume students will need 3 day weekends to keep up – and we did.

After your first year as a PhD student at SCAD, you will undergo a review process. You need to assemble your thesis advisors, put together a portfolio that illustrates your improvement, and write an essay with the subject as your only guide – write about something that pertains to your area of ​​expertise.

Well, I was a non-fiction writer. I was in the middle of my thesis, a non-fiction novel (a miracle in itself, considering you have 5 years to complete your thesis after completing your coursework). The intentionally open topic did not let me sleep. At some point in the middle of the night while I was mindlessly watching TV, I looked up and there was a 20/20 episode about a pornographer. He was interviewed, and to my surprise, he wasn’t talking about porn, but rather the First Amendment. At first I couldn’t make the connection.

Like most people, the first amendment was that general idea of ​​the freedom to speak at will, to speak my mind, to say FU on censorship, you know, that stuff in movies. But the realization that this man seemed to enlighten me more about the First Amendment in 5 minutes than anyone had before made me realize that the First Amendment would not only be the subject of my mid-term essay, but also an instant passion.

From that point on, after passing my mid-term exam, I threw myself into studying every aspect of the First Amendment. I bought law textbooks on profanity, flag burning, protest, church and state separation, the Southern Poverty Law Center. I bought and read books that were the subject of censorship at one point, books that had sparked great debates on the First Amendment, and I started following some of the leading First Amendment scholars in this country and reading their essays. I was hooked. Strangely enough, in all of this, I had never thought about studying law.

One day a couple of friends were over and I told them how upset I was about what happened that day. One of my professors had politely asked to expand my medium-term essay into a full paper. I wanted to finish my book! But sometimes it takes someone else to search for the truth. My friends looked around and there were law books everywhere, and one of them just said like it had been a given all along, “Well then maybe you should do that and then just go to law school.”

I didn’t really think about it any further. The next day I told my professor that I would write my thesis on the proposed topic and be ready within the year because I was studying law. I Googled law school requirements, signed up for LSAT, bought a law school book, and Mercer University was listed as the nation’s leading law writing program. I took my LSATs, finished my thesis, graduated with honors, and entered the law school at Mercer University. It was a whirlwind of a year. There was no time to think twice or look back. I just graduated, packed, moved, and a week later sat in the law school orientation.

Mercer’s law school was amazing. It was like a built-in community. I had professors who enabled me to conduct independent studies to further learn and research the First Amendment. I had so many constitutional law electives to choose from. I spent my time between studying the Constitution and family law. Why family law? Because that was a matter of great concern to me, because I saw my parents divorce for two years, and it seemed like the lawyers were never looking for the best for the family, the kids, me, and my brother . I wondered if I could be a family attorney who broke that mold and refuted the stereotype of the divorce attorney we all know too well.

When I graduated from law school, I took the GA bar and was dying to return to Savannah, surrounded by the historic scenery that I loved, and most importantly, near the beach. But before the results even came in (I passed by the way), my family had convinced me that a decade was long enough they wanted me around, so I packed it all up and moved to Nashville and started working for them studying TN Bar. I took the TN bar in February and while I was on vacation to visit a friend for my birthday my mom called to tell me I had passed the TN bar. It was a good day.

Within a month, I had decided to open my own little practice and my goal was to help families with divorce and custody issues. I always put the well-being of the children involved in the foreground and remind my clients of this. It’s not always easy. In fact, I still find it difficult not to become attached to my customers and their children. But I’d rather be passionate than apathetic.

When I started practicing family law, I learned that there are so many families out there who need help but cannot afford full-time counseling. Some people can’t even afford a consultation fee. When I found Rocket Lawyer, I read about what services they were offering and was very excited to get the chance to be a part of Rocket Lawyer. I love answering people’s questions, even those that people ask just for a little rest.

When you practice family law, you are always dealing with the people who are most at risk. The cases I cover are about families, parents, grandparents and the children they love most in the world. Can it be emotionally exhausting? Yes. Are there days when I’m so exhausted that I just sit in pajamas and work from home? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t trade the endless hours, my clients, or my job for anything. I love what i do

You can follow Jessica on Twitter.

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