Attorney reflects on year as ICBA president

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With her yearlong tenure as Ingham County Bar Association president wrapped up on June 30, attorney Jessica Fox looks back fondly on her time at the helm.

“I enjoyed representing the ICBA,” she says. “The ICBA is a fabulous bar association that is very active and has members engaged in giving back to the legal community and the communities they live and work in.”

In her role as president, Fox twice was able to be a sponsor at “mass” swearing-in ceremonies for those who had passed the bar exam but did not have a sponsor to take them before the court and move for their admission to the State Bar of Michigan.

“That was truly special,” she says. “The first ceremony was shortly before my 10th anniversary of having been sworn into the bar myself.”

A matrimonial and family law attorney at Nolan, Thomsen, & Villas PC in Eaton Rapids, the Charlotte resident has been an ICBA member since 2008 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2009.

“The ICBA is the perfect blend of a ‘social’ bar association and an ‘educational’ bar association,” she says. “Our leaders are dedicated to meeting both of those goals every year. We want to keep our members educated and give them opportunities to network and get to know each other.”

Highlights of her tenure include the creation of a Diversity Committee to continue to keep diversity in ICBA membership and leadership on the association’s radar. 

“We also created a way to recognize our members who are currently in the military or are veterans—our November edition of BRIEFS every year will be dedicated to veterans and service members,” says Fox, who served on the BRIEFS committee for a number of years. “We re-launched BRIEFS
with a new editor, and new design company—it’s better than ever! And we revamped our sponsorship packages and added even more great benefits for our sponsors.”

Fox, who is succeeded by Mary Chartier of Chartier & Nyamfukudza PLC in East Lansing, also belongs to many other legal associations, and serves the local community on the board of directors of Court Appointed Special Advocates Inc. (CASA for Kids) of Barry, Eaton, & Ingham counties.

Kudos include membership into The National Advocates: Top 40 Under 40, and the Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine “Rising Stars” list. Since 2011, she has been a member of the Representative Assembly for Eaton County (56th Circuit). 

A graduate of Michigan State University who earned her J.D. and Master of Studies in environmental law from Vermont Law School, Fox is looking forward to the ICBA Past President’s Reception in September. 

“That’s a wonderful new event, only in its third year, but it’s great to get all the previous presidents together and to recognize that one person who has gone above and beyond during your term—though I must admit it was very difficult to choose, as everyone who served under me on the Board of Directors this past term was amazing,” she says.