Cole emphasizes networking for success of young lawyers
The one word that Jewel White Cole (JD 95) uses to describe herself is “dynamic”—characterized by energy or effective action. It seems that there could be no more fitting a description for a woman who has launched such an impressively fast-paced, ever-evolving career.
Since graduating from the College of Law, Cole has held the titles of assistant Pinellas County attorney, president of the Clearwater Bar, and is now the president of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and managing assistant Pinellas County attorney.
As president of the Young Lawyers Division, Cole is able to use her experience and success to help law students and young lawyers learn how to establish themselves within the legal community.
On Oct. 22, Cole and 5th Circuit Board of Governors Young Lawyers Division Representative Reneé Thompson conducted an informational session at the UF law school explaining the role of the division and emphasizing the importance of networking in the legal field.
During her presentation, Cole spoke with enthusiasm and conviction to a room full of law students of the importance of getting involved and networking within the legal field, as well as the recent establishment of a law student division of the Young Lawyers Division.
Surprisingly, Cole admitted that as a law student, she was only minimally involved in law school-related activities and instead preferred tutoring for the UF Athletic Association and working as a sociology research assistant.
Originally from Ft. Myers, Cole attended UF to earn her bachelor’s in sociology, then continued to law school for her J.D. while also earning her master’s in urban planning. Her involvement with voluntary bar activities began when a friend from law school insisted that she attend a Clearwater Bar Association Young Lawyers Division meeting and she “begrudgingly” followed.
Ever since, Cole has been involved in the division in one way or another, from serving as president of the Clearwater Bar Young Lawyers Division to her current role as president of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division.
As managing assistant Pinellas County attorney, Cole manages environmental, land use, and public safety law as well as environmental enforcement and public financing deals, in addition to a staff of five attorneys, two secretaries, and one paralegal.
Cole also describes herself as lucky. “I always took advantage of opportunities that presented themselves to me,” Cole explains as the key to her success.
Undoubtedly, Cole’s success was also boosted by her habit of being overly prepared as a young attorney, a strategy that she developed as a means of shattering any preconceptions that her colleagues may have had about her because of her young age. Her chief advice to current law students and young lawyers is to be overly prepared and to seize opportunities that present themselves.
Cole is also a believer in lawyer’s karma, explaining “if you put good stuff out there, it comes back.”
While she has not yet decided the precise track that her future will follow, Cole is confident that when her year-long term as the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division president has ended, she will continue her involvement with the organization and will also continue to serve on the Executive Council for City Council and Local Bar section of the Florida Bar.
For more information on The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, visit www.flayld.org.