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Jessica Anderson Discusses her Journey from Paralegal to Associate in the Texas Bar Blog

Blog, Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson is an associate of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, or ONDA, in Dallas, where she represents clients in divorce, modification, enforcement, and child custody matters. The Texas A&M grad was previously a paralegal for the firm before making the switch to becoming an attorney. In law school, Anderson was vice president of the Family Law Student Association, preparing and organizing CLEs on family law.

How was the preparation for the Texas Bar Exam last year?
It was time consuming. Having said that, I only wanted to take the bar exam once, so I was motivated to put in the required time and effort.

How does it feel to be done with it and ready to get to work?
It feels great to be done with law school and the bar exam. I feel like I am going straight from one challenge to the next. While I am done with final exams and bar preparation, I am confronted with new challenges daily as I settle into my new role as an associate attorney at ONDA.

Has it sunk in yet—being able to say “Jessica Anderson, associate of ONDA”?
Yes and no. Generally, when I am in the office working with the same great attorneys and paralegals I have for years, it seems as though nothing has changed. However, when I am preparing for or participating in a hearing or deposition in a way I never have before, it hits me that I am an associate at ONDA with new and different responsibilities.

Where did your interest in law come from?
My interest in law began when I took several undergraduate courses in criminal justice. I was intrigued by the way the law resolves conflicts in our society and how the individual rights given in the U.S. Constitutionmanifest through our legal system. As I began to work in law, I was able to see first hand how the legal system works and how it can affect the daily lives of litigants.

Do you have attorneys in your family?
No, not that I am aware of.

What drew you to family law?
I did not pursue family law specifically from the beginning. I happened to get a paralegal position in a family law firm as my first legal job. However, I have continued with family law because it is unlike any other kind of law in that it is very personal to the client and it can flow into many other areas of law depending on the case and issues involved. In family law, no day is ever the same and I enjoy the variety of tasks and challenges involved in a family law career.

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