Jesse Wilkison: Rising Star On Privilege & War Stories

Jesse Wilkison
2024 Feature Nominations

Attorney at Law Magazine Jacksonville Publisher sat down with Jesse Wilkison to discuss his practice and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?

Wilkison: In high school, I volunteered for a juvenile offender diversion program called Teen Court. The idea was to have teenagers fill the roles of attorneys and a jury in sentencing hearings, where defendants would get their records expunged if they complete all the program’s requirements. I would go in to the local courthouse every Tuesday night and volunteer as an attorney. I really enjoyed playing a criminal defense attorney, and decided that one day I wanted to do the real thing.

AALM: How would you describe your practice? What is your main area of the law? What drew you to that practice?

Wilkison: We do about 60 percent criminal defense work and 40 percent civil rights litigation. I always liked the idea of doing criminal defense work, and civil rights law provides a nice complement to it. In both situations, you are using the legal system to keep government abuses in check and help people who are in a vulnerable position.

AALM: Do you have any mentors or professors that encourage you?

Wilkison: One of the benefits of working at Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio is getting to learn from some of the most accomplished and intelligent attorneys in the state. Mr. Sheppard makes it a priority to mentor his associates. For every roadblock that I hit in one of my cases, he always seems to have an answer and an entertaining “war story” to go with it. Th e entire legal team here is high caliber, and everyone has their own specialty. It is a phenomenal environment to learn the practice of law.

AALM: What case most defined or redefined your practice?

Wilkison: I haven’t been around long enough to have a career-defining case. However, the evening before I started as a law clerk, Mr. Sheppard and Ms. White invited me to their house and asked if I wanted my first case to be an appeal for a man who was facing a 120-year sentence for aggravated assault or the challenge to Florida’s same-sex marriage ban. The fact that they trusted me – as a law student – with these important cases was a huge honor and set the tone for the type of work I would have the privilege of doing here.

AALM: What do you most enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies? Sports?

Wilkison: I am an archetypal nerd. Anything geeky you can imagine, from science fiction to Dungeons and Dragons, I am probably in to.

AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?

Wilkison: I am trying to hone my abilities and one day be as skilled as the people I work with. I’d like to one day be the type of attorney who can get results out of cases that most attorneys wrinkle their noses at or think are impossible.

Attorney at Law Magazine

Attorney at Law Magazine is a national B2B trade publication for and about private practice attorneys. The magazine focuses on the industry, its events, happenings and the professionals and firms that drive its success. The editorial is a collaboration of interviews with professionals, industry expert penned columns and articles about advancing your legal practice through marketing, practice management and customer service.

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