Chelsea Harris is a trial attorney at Coker Law and vice chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association Law Week Committee.
What inspired you to become a lawyer? When I was in fifth grade, we had a class project wherein all the students in the class acted out a book we read. I was assigned to act out the part of one of the attorneys in the book. Ever since that project, I wanted to be an attorney. While growing up, our family friends that lived across the street were attorneys. They allowed me to intern in their law office during high school and I continued to intern with another family friend during summers in college.
Someone who inspires me: My “tribe” of girlfriends inspire me every day. These ladies have excelled in their careers, love and support their families and love and support my family and me.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I majored in psychology in undergrad. I think that assists when working with clients – how to discuss issues in their case (both positive and negative) and how to present information to different clients. It also helps during trial in the attempts that we make to “read” a jury and when selecting people for our juries, as well as deciding the best way to present information to a jury.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? I was a classically trained ballerina growing up and my parents analogize my chosen career to my love for being on stage. I started my practice at the State Attorney’s Office for the 4th Circuit. I loved being in front of a jury and presenting my cases on behalf of the state. I decided to make the switch to civil law and I recently switched from civil defense work to working at Coker Law, doing plaintiff work.
What community service have you pursued and why that? I am the vice chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association Law Week Committee. I think that Law Week is a great opportunity to become more involved in the JBA, as well as in the community. There are several events that the committee assists in coordinating, including the Rendezvous on the Rooftop that benefits Dreams Come True.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Find a mentor, someone you can learn from that you trust. The practice of law is constantly changing. I have always been of the mindset that we are constantly learning as we are practicing and that we can always learn something new from the attorneys practicing around us.