From Chicago, IL, Jorden Rutledge knew from an early age that he wanted to be a lawyer. In college, he met several lawyers and really enjoyed conversations surrounding legal issue and different legislation. This experienced led him to really consider becoming a lawyer as his career and that was ultimately what he decided to do.
He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Missouri State, he then began his legal studies at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.
In law school, he was a law clerk for Carver, Cantin and Grantham, a judicial extern for the US District Court for Eastern District of Missouri and work as a federal public defender in St. Louis. After he graduated from law school, he then worked as an associate attorney for Brown & James, P.C and then worked as a judicial law clerk for the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Eastern District.
Jorden currently works a judicial law clerk at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. After his current clerkship is completed, he plans to focus more on commercial litigation or civil rights litigation.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love the mental challenge of it. I also really enjoy writing and editing which is a big part of it.
What keeps you motivated?
Currently my fiancé is a big motivator for me. I am also motivated by the idea of bettering myself and bettering the world, however small of an impact I can have. Taking stock of my days is also a source of motivation for me. It helps me see how I can improve and focuses me throughout the day.
How do you motivate others?
I just try to be there to listen. I try to be a good friend, co-worker, and employee. I don’t try to offer advice unsolicited, but in the last few years, people have started coming to me for advice when I was not quite expecting it.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My dad certainly has been a role model to me. He has always made difficult and I think morally correct decisions that other people would not. He taught me to always stand up for what is right even if it may not be popular and may affect you negatively.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I fail at that sometimes, but make sure you have certain times that work will not happen, certainly during dinner, when you can. My fiancé works very early in the morning and goes to sleep early, so I have had my family time with her earlier in the day. Generally, what has been successful for me is trying to cut off work at a certain time and then being open when you do need to work on a weekend and be upfront about that and trying to make sure that you have your priorities in order of what you have to do.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
I think I am good at listening. I am generally good at making friends and getting to know people.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
My grandpa used to always say the cliché, “If you enjoy what you’re doing, you never work a day in your life.” As he got older and he kept repeating things, that was one of the things he kept repeating. I like that because it’s good advice and it’s from my grandpa and because it got repeated over and over again, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Getting engaged. She said yes. I lucked out.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
I would hope kindness, and I also try to be friendly to people I don’t know very well. I try to avoid being judgmental and am occasionally hopelessly optimistic. I try to see the good in everyone.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
I see myself doing legal work that is consequential, that I have passionate about, and hopefully living in Chicago with my beautiful wife.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
As a federal public defender, I drafted petitions for executive clemencies that President Obama signed. I worked on three different cases. I went through their entire prison record, their entire case history, and I felt like I knew these individuals on almost a personal level even though I never met them. I talked on the phone with a couple of them. I met their family. I had to give a whole history of their experience. There were all nonviolent drug offenders. When I heard that they were going to be let out of prison, that was the highlight of my professional career. It happened even before I graduated from law school too, so that was also pretty cool.