Monday Profile: Jessica Fox


Jessica Fox is an attorney at Nolan, Thomsen & Villas, P.C. in Eaton Rapids. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Ingham County Bar Association, Mid-Michigan Inns of Court, and CASA for Kids, Inc., Barry/Eaton Counties.
Fox earned degrees in humanities/pre-law and chemistry (both with honors) from Michigan State University, and her JD from Vermont Law School. While there, she also obtained a Masters of Studies in environmental law.

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Residence: Charlotte.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Be sure that going to law school isn’t just “something to do” but that being a lawyer is who you want to be. Once you become a lawyer, wherever you go, you will be one.

Favorite local hangouts: Hamlin Square Coffee Shop in Eaton Rapids (on the corner of the block where my office is located).

Favorite websites: Playmakers; Run Michigan.

Favorite app: Map My Run and Pandora.

Favorite CD: Diana Krall: “Wallflower.”

What is your happiest childhood memory? Climbing behind the fence at our old house and picking wild blackberries.

What would surprise people about your job? It’s not nearly as glamorous as seen on TV. Not everything happens in the courtroom the way it does on “Law & Order.”

What do you wish someone would invent? Some way for me to actually be in three places at once.

What has been your favorite year so far? Last year. There were a lot of firsts for me last year.

What is your most typical mood? Thoughtful.

How do you define success? I define success as making a difference and being better than I was yesterday. If every single day of my life I have progressed in some way, and made a difference in the world, then I have been successful.

Who is on your guest list for the ideal dinner party?
My grandmother, who passed away when I was only three or four years old. And my best friend from law school, who still lives out East.

Why did you become a lawyer? Being a lawyer has always been what I wanted to do. Well, after I decided that I didn’t want to be a teacher or an astronaut.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? During law school I went with my Appellate Advocacy class and sat in on arguments at the United States Supreme Court.

What did you do on Valentine’s Day? I ran a very snowy and cold 5K called “The Heart Throb” in East Lansing.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I would want to be able to heal people’s hearts.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Just don’t give up and keep stretching your limits.

How did you earn your first dollar? Cleaning offices.

Favorite joke: Why did the farm animals get caught for robbing the barn? The pig squealed.

What do you do to relax? I run.

How would you describe your home? It is my refuge.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? Recently I was before a probate judge trying to get a little girl’s name changed. I filed the petition on behalf of her mother, who has sole legal and physical custody of the child. The father, who lives out of state, had been accused of abusing the little girl and hadn’t seen her in three years. The little girl wrote a letter to the judge about wanting to change her last name from the “bad name” so that she would not have the “bad memories” when she heard that name. The judge granted the petition and my client broke down into tears. That little girl has a brand new start with a brand new last name.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
I think it would be neat to trade places with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Any regrets? I regret the fact that I didn’t spend more time with my grandfather before he passed away. He passed away during my last year in law school and I hadn’t gotten to see him much the last few years before he died.
What is one thing you would like to learn to do? I would like to learn how to ski. I hate to admit that I lived in Vermont for three years and never learned how to ski. I have always wanted to, but after the first good snow, a classmate came in on crutches with a neck brace. I figured it could wait.

What is something most people don’t know about you? I started playing the clarinet in sixth grade, and in high school participated with the Charlotte Symphony Band at a national competition in Atlanta where we were ranked as one of the top three symphony bands in the nation.

If you can help it, where will you never return? To the condition I was in after law school and prior to 2010.

And what was that condition? Sick, unhealthy, miserable, unhappy and tired.

What is the best advice you ever received? “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t….you’re right.”

What do you drive? A 2006 Chevy HHR.

What would you drive if money were no object? I’m thinking a Porsche Cayenne might be nice.

Favorite place to spend money: Active.Com;

What is your motto? “Change has to start with you. Live like the example you want to see.”

What would you like carved onto your tombstone?
“She left the world a better place.”