Julie Baker

Julie Baker

Job Title
Associate, Labor & Employment
Company
Jones Day
University
Georgetown University
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Corps Year: 
2005
Corps Region: 
Rio Grande Valley

“I think about my first year of law school and my classmates that came straight from college. They were unbelievably stressed out at midterms and finals. I remember thinking, 'I just spent two years being responsible for the learning of 22 fourth graders.’ It put the stress—and the challenges we were facing—into perspective.” Julie credits her corps experience with building her confidence, her ability to handle adversity, and her passion for educational equity—skills that helped her excel in law school and succeed as a lawyer. It also makes her more credible to the families in her pro-bono work focused on special education students. Being able to talk about her teaching experience, and to have first-hand knowledge of what students are facing, is critical to her success.

Read more about Julie.

Career Path

Teach For America: Rio Grande Valley Corps
Julie’s first year of teaching was the hardest she has ever worked. She worked with kids after school and prepared her lessons morning, noon and night. It was challenging, but she loved it.
Office of Labor & Employee Relations Intern, CPS
Julie’s law school internship at Chicago Public Schools combined her passion for education with her practical law training. It was also her first introduction to labor and employment law.
Intern, Equip for Equality
Julie is still involved with Equip for Equality, a nonprofit that gives legal representation to families and children with special needs who aren’t receiving appropriate services in their schools.
Board, Mentor: Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund
The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund gives high school scholarship assistance and educational support to Chicago students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Associate, Jones Day
Julie represents employers in complex matters including wage and hour, discrimination, and Family Medical Leave Act cases. Her pro bono practice represents families in special education proceedings.

Q & A

Q
How has teaching influenced the direction of your career?
A

Though I always wanted to go to law school, my experience as a teacher made me really passionate about educational equity and that made me choose internships, volunteer work, and pro bono work that helps students get the opportunities they deserve.

Q
How did your corps experience change you personally?
A

It helped me mature and gave me the ability to handle challenges and stress. It gave me a much better understanding of other cultures. And it changed my views on poverty. Poverty looks very different in Texas than in Chicago or DC—it’s not as visible. I wouldn’t have understood that unless I worked there.

Q
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering joining the corps, what would it be?
A

You may worry that teaching will take your career off-track, but it will put you on a better track. TFA will strengthen your passion for educational equity and that will impact your career in such positive ways. And, most importantly, it will make you a better person.

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