Third Year Law Student Jessica Wilkett Wants to Focus on Business/Corporate Law

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Third Year Law Student Jessica Wilkett
Personal Life

Jessica Wilkett is a third year law student at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and anticipates a May 2015 graduation. Although she has several areas of interest including health and environmental law, she plans on practicing Business/Corporate Law. Jessica anticipates taking the Kentucky and Florida State Bar in 2015.

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She was born and raised in Athens, Ohio. When asked about her upbringing, Jessica said, "I grew up in a small town with one sister and one brother. My brother is actually adopted from Guatemala." She continued to say that her parents supported her throughout undergrad and law school. Jessica is very grateful for her grandparents' support during law school and she appreciates her grandfather's help in buying a home in Kentucky. She noted that she wouldn't have done well in law school if it wasn't for her grandparents helping her. Jessica is also grateful for her husband's support, especially while she studies for her final exams.

Jessica earned her B.A. Cum Laude in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing Management from Webber International University in May 2012. From 2009 to 2012, she served as captain of the competition cheer leading squad and was a competing member of PBL-FBLA who won several areas at the regional level (2009 to 2011). From 2010 to 2012, Jessica served as a tutor for both a local F high school as well as for her peers at Webber. During this time, she found time to volunteer at local non-for-profit organizations such as the YMCA and Bok Tower Gardens. She also made the Deans List and was the recipient of a scholarship, which was awarded to journalist for the student paper, "The Warrior."

At the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Jessica served as a member of the Moot Court Board and was an associate editor for the Journal of Animal and Environmental Law (2013). From 2012 to 2013, she was the recipient an Academic Fellow and she earned the 2013 Ed Perry Mediation Fellow. Jessica was chosen along with five others out of the entire University to join Omnicron Delta Kappa Honor's society. Jessica is currently the president of the Business Law Society and a competing member of the Trademark Moot Court team. She is also currently serving as a research assistant for Professor Richard Nowka, who is the contracts and secured transactions professor and now academic dean. Nowka is writing an article on getting a warranty in despite a limitation/disclaimer and the parole evidence rule.

Has Jessica participated in any internship programs? She replied:
"I have participated in 3 internships so far. Two of those were with the same company, Norton Healthcare. This hospital system is the largest in Kentucky. During my time there, I drafted multiple contracts currently in existence, negotiated agreements between Norton and Partners, Found and eliminated multiple risks as a part of risk management, worked closely with new regulations and advised Norton on what to do to either remain compliant or become compliant. I also worked with the business side on process improvement projects. I led many of these projects with a team. We defined, analyzed and measured problems then brainstormed on solutions until finally implementing changes. During both of my summers at Norton (2013 and 2014), I worked on many of these projects and most of the changes made are still in existence today. Not only did I improve efficiency, but I also saved the system money.

For my other internship, I worked with Passport Healthplan during the spring of 2014, which is a state Managed Care Organization. As an MCO, Passport handles Medicaid and Medicare for KY Residents. During my time there, I drafted and negotiated agreements with partners, redlined current contracts and client letters against new regulations to maintain compliance, and worked closely with the False Claims Act, Stark Law, and the ACA. I was also involved with the Department of Medicaid/Medicare. I went to legislation sessions and created amendments to current agreements to meet the new DME contracts."
Does she have clinic experience? "I will be participating in the Entrepreneurship clinic in August 2014. In this clinic, I am the 'attorney' via my limited license for a start-up built/started by a group of competing student in the entrepreneurship MBA program. I will complete all of their incorporation and trademark documents as well as handle any other issues that may arise during the year."

Jessica is currently a member of the ABA, LBA (Louisville Bar Association), and the YPAL (Young Professionals Association of Louisville). When she isn't working, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and working out in the gym five times a week.

Jessica's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations

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Why did Jessica go into the law? "I went into law because I enjoy the constant change. I always said I do not want to work on the same things day in and day out. In the legal field, lawyers are constantly dealing with new rulings, new laws, and ambiguity. I greatly enjoy this flexibility in everyday work. I also enjoy the creativeness that comes along with building new arguments."

She shared her aims and aspirations. "My end career goal is to be a managing partner at a firm or a CLO/CEO at the company."

What are Jessica's key accomplishments? She asserted:
"I believe getting into law school and being successful in law school have been my two biggest accomplishments. When I first went into undergrad, I was helping support my family as my parents went thru a divorce. This was extremely difficult for me. I was working full time while attempting to go to school full time. As a result, my grades fell. When this occurred, I thought I had lost all hope of getting into a law school. I decided to turn it around and transferred schools where I could get a fresh start. I improved my GPA greatly and graduated with honors. This allowed me to get into law school. Once in law school, I was told my LSAT score meant that I would likely just be an average law student. Again, I tried my hardest, put in the extra study time, went and saw professors frequently, and I have excelled in law school. On top of getting pretty good grades, I am also very active."
She then discussed the key skills and strengths that she will use to further her career goals. Jessica stated:
"I am a great communicator and I enjoy being around people. This is personally a skill I believe most attorneys need. For me specifically, I believe this skill will help a great deal. I can connect with clients easily while gaining new clients by networking. I have always enjoyed networking and meeting new people as well. Another strength of mine is my business background. I believe it is important as a business/corporate attorney to understand business generally. Not only will business clients respect you more but you will be better suited to form more creative arguments."
As for her weakness, Jessica candidly admitted, "There are always things one can work on. For me personally, it is work-life balance. When I enjoy my work, I tend to work a lot and this is something I have noticed in the past. I also enjoy being busy and so I overload myself frequently."

Law school can be stressful at times, so she shared how she relieves stress. "I typically step away from whatever is stressing me and do something else. This typically includes working out, taking a half-hour and watching T.V., hanging out with friends for an hour etc."

How does Jessica handle new assignments? The third year law student shared her process: "My process for new assignments is a breakdown. I am a very schedule oriented person so I typically breakdown the assignment. I look at how many time it will take, what the different steps are, what pieces go into the final product etc. and then I plan."

Where does she derive her confidence? "From practice and knowledge."

Three Wishes to Live By, Coping with Fear, Facing Obstacles, Remaining Health and Physically Fit, Study Abroad Program and Community Service

If Jessica had three wishes, what would she wish for? "To find a job I love with people I enjoy being around daily, to always have enough time and means to enjoy life with my friends and family, and to be able to travel the world."

In regard to handling fear, she said, "I face it. I've found that most of the things I fear, I actually enjoy once I try them. (Roller coasters being a great example). For those things to which this does not apply, I still face them head on and then move past them. Fear is a great motivator so I use it to my advantage."

Has Jessica faces any obstacles in her life? "I hit a barrier during undergrad when my grades were less than stellar. I faced this obstacle by taking a step back and starting over. During my second chance, I worked as hard as I possibly could towards my goal and it worked out."

What is her top priority outside of work? "I want to stay fit and healthy. I have a pretty strict workout regimen that I try to stick to all year long. Working out relaxes me while making me feel overall better about myself. It is also a much needed and welcomed break from school."

Has Jessica been part of any study abroad program? "Yes. I took an IP class in Turku, Finland in March of this year. It was an incredible experience. I learned so much about their culture and met students from all over the world. This was my first time abroad so it was truly an adventure. During my time there, I went to a finish sauna, ate reindeer, and stood on the frozen Baltic sea."

Has she participated in community service? Jessica noted:
"I have volunteered at many different places. I was a YMCA volunteer while in undergrad at the Lake Wales, FL location. I volunteered on and off doing various events for approx. a year. During that time, I helped schedule events and worked the events. I also was a volunteer tutor at the Sebring, FL high school for a year. During my time there, I helped high school students on all topics (math, English, even SAT/ACT Prep). I was also a volunteer at the New Albany, IN animal shelter for a few weeks where I helped feed, bathe, and walk the animals there. Finally, I am a volunteer mediator for Just Solutions in Louisville, KY. I mediate various issues from child care to divorce. All of the clients are sent from the Court."
Personal Philosophy, People You Want to Surround Yourself With and Favorite Quote

What is Jessica's personal philosophy? "Education is freedom."

The future attorney talked about what she believes holds more truth in light of her personal philosophy. Was it fate or choice? "Choice because our decisions shape our future."

What kind of situations and people is Jessica attracted to? What kind of situations and people does the law student avoid? "I am attracted to competition and challenge. I love to be in an environment where I am put to the test, where it be presenting to a group or working to find the best solution. I am also attracted to people who are challenging. I love to be around people who are good at what I am bad at. This allows me to learn and gains skills while improving overall." She added, "I prefer to be around people except when I am studying for an exam. During finals time, I only study with one person and it has been that way since the beginning of my law school adventure."

As for situations and people to avoid, Jessica stated, "I avoid people who are very negative. I generally am a positive person and honestly, being around negative people exhausts me. I also avoid people who constantly worry. Again, this is exhausting to be around on a daily basis. As far as avoiding situations, I just generally try to avoid bad situations (situations where people are breaking rules)."

Jessica's favorite quote is "The only constant thing in life is change." She said the quote resonates with her because she moved a lot during her youth before her family decided to reside in Florida. She acknowledged, "I am comfortable in an environment that is constantly changing."

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