This week we highlight my dear friend, Jina Haynes. Jina is the epitome of a hustler. Even when we were in law school together, she was always out networking or working on something. She is smart, savvy, and always does it with a smile on her face. This is her story.
Succeeding as a female attorney in a male-dominated field is NOT easy, but well worth the struggle. Female lawyers, especially women of color like myself, are more likely than their male counterparts to be interrupted, to be mistaken for non-lawyers, to do more office housework, and to have less access to prime job assignments…but still we rise! Entering this profession is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication not only to one’s self, but to promoting women as a whole; all colors, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. We women are always lumped together- our successes, our failures, our missteps; consequently, we must maintain a strong united front fighting for our gender. In 2019, we’re still celebrating categories of “first” for women in certain positions; “First Female District Attorney, “First Women Partner,” the list goes on. The diversity of women in the law is matched only by the diversity of the positions of power they occupy. Women have fought for gender parity for every right not originally afforded to us. It’s in our nature to fight our way to the top and we won’t quit until all “first” categories are captured… we’ll probably even hold the throne for a while. We do love crowns!
I distinctly remember my first legal internship at the Houston District Attorney’s Office. The Chief of my division was one of the most well respected females in the city. I certainly admired the way her demeanor commanded the entire courthouse. She was known to be tough on crime, but also fair. She had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to obtain her position and receive proper recognition, but it is because of women like her that I was able to serve as a superhero for justice as a prosecutor in Philadelphia. This renegade woman was the first female attorney to assist me on my path to success. She trained me, showed me the ropes and taught me how to use my voice as a lawyer. I credit this amazing woman for helping me get to where I am today. It is impetrative that we as women are effective mentors to other female attorneys, making sure women are prepared, positioned, assisted and well respected. Who better than to look out for our own interests than us?
Despite being called honey and sweetie from other males in the office, women throughout the legal industry are taking back control and re-shaping the future of the profession. More women than ever are attending law school. I truly believe the future is female! Our tactical no-nonsense mindsets and vigorous multi-tasking abilities make us a force to be reckoned with. We are resilient. We are strong. We are speaking up. We are breaking concrete ceilings and constantly demanding gender parity. We’re total badasses and I’m proud to be a member of the #girlgang busting barriers in the legal profession.
About : Jina N. Haynes is an Assistant City Attorney at the City of Atlanta Law Department and the lead attorney for the Security and Information Technology departments at the World’s Busiest and Most Efficient Airport- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. She is a proud honors graduate of Florida A&M University and holds a Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law. Professionally, she serves on the Public Safety and Security committee with the Airports Council International, State Bar of Georgia-Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Assistance Committee. She is the founder of Junior Attorneys of America, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exposes middle school-aged children to careers in law. Her extensive community involvements have included the membership on various boards and civic organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and Junior League of Atlanta. She is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and Georgia. She is a native of Dallas, Texas and resides in Atlanta, GA.
BY : JINA N. HAYNES ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY AT THE CITY OF ATLANTA LAW DEPARTMENT + LEAD ATTORNEY FOR SECURITY AND INFORMATION DEPARTMENT AT HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT