Career Spotlight: Jorge Colón (JD 02), From UF Law Student to Successful Solo Practitioner
Sitting between two Ivy Leaguers in his first contracts class, Jorge Colón didn’t know if he fit in. Colón said he was waiting for the note that said he shouldn’t be there while he finished his first semester before realizing maybe he did have a place at UF Law.
“Don’t let grades define you,” Colón said. “You have to be willing to admit in law school what you don’t know. If you try to pretend, you’re just going to look more foolish. I was always happy to ask questions.” This philosophy served Colón well during his first summer clerking for a judge of compensation claims. Colón maximized this experience, making contacts and meeting with attorneys, and by the end of the summer, he had three job offers. Colón recommends asking questions, checking calendars for interesting events to accompany attorneys on and taking lots of notes. Be sincere, he said, don’t share your private life, and learn about billing. He also said it is important to take time to learn the dynamics between attorneys and their support staff, and listen to what secretaries say about attorneys and see what attorneys do for their secretaries. The focus should not be on impressing only the attorneys but rather everyone you work with. “One of the biggest make-you-or-break-you things as a young associate is your secretary,” he said.
Lessons learned while clerking helped Colón during his first job representing insurance companies with McConnaughhay, Duffy, Coonrod, Pope & Weaver, P.A. He gained extensive litigation experience, and in 2005, Colón opened his own firm in Ocala and now puts his understanding of the insurance industry to work for the plaintiffs. “You can have a bigger impact on someone’s life on the plaintiff’s side.”