Artistic endeavors: Law school grad finds niche as artist, entrepreneur

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Jaevonn Harris started drawing in second grade and says he hasn’t stopped since.

“Art is something I literally been doing my entire life,” he says. “Going to the Detroit School of Arts was life-changing for me because it was a school built specifically for people like me. My first job was working at art gallery while in high school. DSA surrounded me with people who would push me artistically in various ways, molding me into a better artist.”

A graduate of WMU-Cooley Law School, Harris found his passion for drawing helped him through his  studies—and he continues to enjoy the art world.   

Harris launched The Corner website as a way to display his art  via social media; and it has turned into a hub for his creative endeavors:  books, music, fine art, and his clothing line, WELÇOME: Hand Drawn Graphics.   

“My clothing line started in 2016, but I came up with the idea for it on my birthday in the previous year while at church. The whole premise is taking a drawing I did and placing it on quality garments,” he explains.

“The drawings are usually referencing to things that influence me from pop culture. For example, my favorite player is Lebron James, so I would take a drawing I did of Lebron and put it on a hoodie or something like that. I love
Lebron so I could draw him all day but people would probably get tired of it!”

Harris, who received a bachelor’s in business marketing at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, had several reasons for pursuing a career in law. “First, I felt I’d be naturally good at being a lawyer,” he says. “Most of my peers had dreams of being an attorney their entire lives. I didn’t decide to pursue law until 2015. I literally woke up and said to myself, ‘I’m going to law school.’ If anyone told me 10 years ago this is where I’d be, I wouldn’t have believed them.”

He also was inspired by his mother Angela Walker, and her career as a paralegal.

Harris enjoyed his experience of law school; and at graduation in the spring, he received the Leadership Achievement Award.

Harris adds that receiving the 2018 Damon J. Keith Scholarship, established in 1995 by the Wolverine Bar Foundation, was one of the highest honors he has ever received.

Harris interned for 29th Circuit Court Judge Michelle Rick, in Clinton County; and  was a participant in the Mock Trial Inter-School Competition, with Aisha Henry. In their first attempt, the pair won runner-up honors.    

“I love challenges and Mock Trial was one of my favorite challenges because I had absolutely no experience and it was one of the first times I could finally use some of my creativity in law school. I loved the process of coming up with opening and closing statements and cross/direct questions.”   

In his first term, Harris served as parliamentarian on the board of the Black Law Students Association.

“I came up with a program called ‘Black Health Matters’ that helped address the mental and physical issues that continue to plague the Black community. We had a Black doctor come to speak, we took people’s blood pressure, and provided information to live a healthier lifestyle.”   

Serving as vice president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society felt like the perfect balance of fun and education, he says.

“When we visited the Detroit Pistons legal counsel, we learned a lot about their daily operations and afterwards we got to enjoy the game. We provided much needed distraction from people’s robust schedules with flag football, basketball sessions, pool parties, and more.

“SELS was the organization you can count on to learn about entertainment and actually be entertained.”

Harris, who took the bar exam in July, would like to open his own practice and one day to become a judge.

“As an attorney, I want to help creatives in the best way possible—everything from helping them form LLCs to helping them avoid predatory contracts,” he says.

For now, he is enjoying being able to spend some time on drawing, exercising, playing basketball, producing music, reading, and writing articles. 

He also participated in his first art show this year, the first public showcase of his work.   

“I’m enjoying not being super busy 24/7 like I was during school,” he says.

“It feels good to get to relax for a bit but when I receive my license I’ll be ready to hit the ground running!”

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