Shannon Schott is chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association Solo Practitioner/Small Firm Committee.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? In my childhood, I loved watching courtroom dramas. When I finally had an opportunity to observe court, I was totally in awe and knew I wanted to be a trial lawyer.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I received a bachelor of arts in political science with a certification in public affairs and a minor in classical studies. I genuinely wanted to serve in public office. My undergraduate degree taught me so much about people and how to connect even when I don’t agree with their opinion or lifestyle.
How did you decide your practice area? My father is a chiropractor and testified as an expert witness in civil personal injury trials, and every internship between high school and passing the Bar was in personal injury law, which I love. The end goal for me was civil trial, but the only way for a new graduate to have their own cases in litigation is criminal law. I volunteered at the Office of the Public Defender just to have access to a courtroom. I loved practicing criminal law, specifically juvenile defense, and now I get to do both.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would ... See working parents’, especially moms’, practices flourish rather than fizzle. The practice should help talented leaders who want to start a family and be present parents and achieve a work-life balance that promotes a long-term practice, mental health and wellness.
What community service have you pursued and why? I volunteer with The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital Art & Antiques Show annually because the sole beneficiary is Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where my son spent his first 28 days of life. He was seven weeks premature and I cannot thank WCH enough for sending me home with a healthy baby boy.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? I encourage new lawyers to find their passion in the law and pursue it. Don’t feel like you have to practice law a certain way. Make your practice your own, remember your oath and give back to others, and the money will come.