Years ago, Jules Porter’s grandmother Barbara told her she hoped Jules would become a lawyer someday – maybe even “take over the world.” A hero to Porter, Barbara died in 2013, and her death ignited a spark that pushed Porter to pursue law school.
A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and former member of the Marine Corps, Porter’s around-the-world travels – handling diplomatic security in Japan, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands – inspired her to pursue international law. But it was a brief trip to small-town Mississippi that changed the course of her career.
She and her brother had been driving to visit their grandfather when they noticed a police officer following them. After 7 miles, the officer pulled them over, walked a dog around the car, then asked them to get out of the vehicle and threatened to take them to jail – all for an unknown reason.
“He starts searching my vehicle, and I’m thinking, ‘This can’t be happening,’” Porter recalled. “That was the scariest moment of my life. It was the first time my rights had been completely violated.”
From that moment on, Porter felt compelled to pursue a different kind of law. She is now interested in constitutional law or becoming a federal prosecutor one day.
“I want to be somebody who can actually make a difference and stand up for people in that type of situation,” she said.
A native of south Minneapolis and graduate of Eagan High School, Porter said her return to Minnesota for law school has been a welcome change in her life.
“I really believe that St. Thomas is the right place for me,” she said. “Professor (Susan) Stabile gave a retreat on joy and happiness and the difference between the two, and I realized that since I’ve been here, I’ve been joyful.”