An attorney-adviser in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of General Counsel.
Jamie Karpman has executed more than 200 real estate closings, representing 40,000 units of housing and $2.5 billion in federal grants and federally insured loans. Karpman also is president-elect of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer?
An undergraduate adjunct professor, Court of Appeals of Indiana Judge John G. Baker, saw something in me that I did not yet see in myself. While I had an interest in the law, without his mentorship, support and encouragement, I may not have considered a career as a lawyer.
One person (other than your spouse or partner) who inspires you: I’m inspired to do better in my own life by the “everyday heroes” who go above and beyond for their families, communities and businesses to achieve personally and to improve the lives of others.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law?
My undergraduate degree is in public affairs with a concentration in legal studies. It provided me with a foundation in the law, problem-solving and policy matters that prepared me for my legal career and to be a public servant in a concrete way.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that?
My passion for public service developed as a law student volunteering at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in the Fair Housing Unit. That pro bono work sparked my interest in housing. During my first year in practice, as a Legal Honors attorney, I was fortunate to be exposed to the varied and important work of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including a monthlong rotation in the general counsel’s office in Washington, D.C. Housing and infrastructure have a tremendous impact on quality of life and available opportunity. I am fortunate to do challenging legal work and provide counsel that aids in the development of housing, programs and policies that improve the lives of Americans locally and nationally.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar?
Technology is quickly changing not only the practice of law, but the way we interact with each other. It is and will continue to be challenging for lawyers to adapt to the speed of these changes and the way legal services are provided.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would ...
Increase and encourage access to justice by improving elementary and secondary civics education to better equip individuals to understand the legal system, the Legislature and the Constitution.
What community service have you pursued and why that?
Leadership roles in The Florida Bar (vice chair, The Florida Bar Journal Editorial Board), Florida Association for Women Lawyers (chair, Awards Committee), Jacksonville Bar Association (co-chair, Transactional Law Section), and Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association (president-elect) allow me to dedicate my time and energy to and alongside other lawyers to help them develop and hone the skills, resources and network they need to be successful in their practice and in the pursuit of justice in our community. As a presenter for the “Lawyers in Libraries” program and the “Fair Judges, Informed Voters” project, I am able to share my knowledge with those in our community who need legal assistance. I also donate my time to community organizations that seek to empower those they support K9s for Warriors and Girls on the Run.
What’s your advice for new lawyers?
Get out of your comfort zone. Ask questions and don’t make assumptions. By asking questions, you ensure you understand the context and elicit information crucial to resolution of the ultimate issue. Outside of the office, get involved in the community. Develop professional relationships and leadership skills through voluntary bar participation and community service.
Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of HUD or the United States.