When Jasmine Morton first entertained the thought of joining Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. as an associate, she was looking for a place that possessed both a boutique vibe and the resources of a large Firm. It was during a chance meeting with former principal Kristen Hudson which made that idea a reality.
“I met Kristen at a Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law event and she then introduced me to Steve Wood,” she said. “I really hit it off with both of them and in addition to the other benefits the Firm had to offer, I was impressed with their collegiality.”
At the time she was excited at the prospect of working for a Firm that valued teamwork and collaboration, something she felt she yearned for in her former position as an appellate prosecutor for Illinois’ 3rd District.
“In my previous position, the nature of the work was much more solitary and didn’t really allow me to team up with my fellow attorneys much,” she said. “At Chuhak & Tecson, I’m constantly working with the other attorneys, which has allowed me to dabble in several different practice areas and work on an eclectic mix of matters.”
Although she primarily works in commercial litigation – which is broad in itself – in the nearly two years Jasmine has been with the firm, she has branched out to focus on other areas of law, such as healthcare and most recently became the newest member of Chuhak & Tecson’s Employment group. She attributes her success and ability to work in various sectors of law to two important pieces of wisdom she received: be a communicator and create your own repository of tools and resources.
“You have to learn to communicate what your needs and concerns are because that will only help you in working to address your clients’ needs and providing the best service possible,” she said. “The second tip is equally as important so you can easily go back and reference a past matter or legal topic – because for every attorney there will come a time when you’ll need to.”
Additionally, Jasmine credits her family in supporting her as well as keeping her grounded and focused. Her inspirations in the legal field, Johnny Cochran and Justice Thurgood Marshall, also provide her the motivation to be the best attorney for her clients.
“I saw an interview where Cochran said he won his cases before he ever walked into the courtroom because he outworked people,” she said. “He put in the hard work and had the diligence and tenacity to fight for his clients. I try to emulate those same qualities in my practice. Justice Marshall is also an icon for all the work he did for the NAACP and the African-American community in general.”
Jasmine has taken a page from Justice Marshall in focusing her efforts on giving back to underserved communities through serving as a board member of several organizations that have a focus on social justice initiatives, such as the NAACP, Obsidian Charitable Foundation and Minority Legal Education Resources, Inc.
“I try to be extremely giving of my time and energy,” she said. “I give 150% of myself and I want to be a change maker and advocate for those who need it; whether that be for a corporate client or the pro bono work I do for causes like social justice.”
As a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, Jasmine feels that education and openness to different perspectives is key in having a deeper understanding of diversity and the issues certain communities face, and thinks the Firm is already doing a good job providing cultural programming and being aware of what’s happening in the world and how it’s impacting employment such as COVID-19, police violence and civil unrest.
“I really like how transparent and understanding the Firm has been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the different posts its done regarding Black Lives Matter and National Adoption Month,” she said. “What I would love to see next is for there to be more engagement with all the staff on ways to give back to the community and for the Firm to engage more with organizations like the Black, Latino and Asian-American Bar Associations so we can bring in more great talent from diverse backgrounds.”
Aside from her practice and pro bono work, Jasmine enjoys working out and tries to get in as many sessions as her workload and COVID-19 restrictions permit. She is an avid fan of chocolate flavored treats, such as brownies and Tootsie Rolls, and is interested in taking this time in isolation to learn a new language, although she already has a head start in knowing some Arabic. Jasmine, like many other attorneys, is also weighing the feasibility of studying for another bar exam.
“I’m mulling it over right now as a possibility,” she said. “Perhaps I might take Florida down the road. I’m from Florida and it would be great to have the ability to represent litigation clients in Florida, from Chicago.”