Tuesday, May 15, 2012
WE MEET AT RIVER CITY BREWING COMPANY
Lunch begins at noon - Meeting begins at 12:30 p.m.
Meet Judge Mallory Cooper
Mallory Cooper was born when her father was in law school at the University of Florida. Her husband is a lawyer. Her husband’s brother is a lawyer. Her sister is a lawyer. Her brothers are lawyers. Her sister-in-law is a lawyer. Her son is in law school. So it’s no big surprise that Cooper herself has dabbled in law a little bit.
OK, she’s more than dabbled. She’s been a Duval County Court judge for the last five years and before that she was a prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office for nearly a decade.
With a family steeped in law — her father, William Durden, went on to become a circuit judge — one would think Cooper would have been eager to establish her legal career since the first time she gripped a pencil in grade school and learned how to spell “L-A-W.” But life’s events and maybe even a little Southern tradition slowed her progress.
Sure she has hobbies that tend to gravitate to activities like cooking and decorating that make her a bona fide Southern gal. Her Coca-Cola Cake draws people from the nether regions of the county courthouse when she brings it to work. She is dead serious about decorating — especially during Christmas.
While she’s a bit reticent to divulge dates and time lines that could betray her age, Cooper hints that when she graduated Winthrop University near Rock Hill, S.C., women still took “traditional” jobs. Female lawyers were as common as snow flakes in Jacksonville.
These days, names like Sharon, Karen, Linda and Mallory hardly raise an eyebrow when attached to professional titles like attorney, doctor, mayor or judge. Times have changed, however, since her days in college.
“Winthrop was the state girls school at the time I went there,” said Cooper. “Clemson was the state boys school. At the time I was going, they were beginning to let the opposite sex attend each university as a day student. Of course, now they’re both totally coed.”
She put her merchandising degree to work in Charlotte for a year after college until she came back to hometown Jacksonville to teach third grade at Dinsmore Elementary. Along the way, she met and married husband Bill, who was attending law school in Gainesville. Uncle Sam interrupted Bill’s college plans with an invitation to the United States Marine Corps.
Cooper followed her groom from base to base around the Southeast, teaching grade school when she could find work. When Bill was sent to Vietnam, she came back to Jacksonville to teach fifth grade at Sherwood Forest Elementary School.
It wasn’t until her two children, Collins and Cameron, were in grade school did her legal career begin. Every week she commuted from Jacksonville to Florida State University to attend classes.
Cooper’s hard work and dedication landed her a job at the State Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor in the juvenile and special assault units. After a decade of working for state attorneys Ed Austin and Harry Shorstein, she ran for a vacant county court seat against Kathy Sands (who is now a general master) and won. Commissioned Jan. 7, 1997, Cooper continued in juvenile court as a judge where she left off as a prosecutor.
As for plans beyond county court, Cooper has her eye on a circuit court position. She has the experience — she spent a year as a circuit judge by special appointment handing dependency cases — but it could be a matter of timing. The children are out of the house. Collins was a kicker on the 1996 Florida Gators national championship football team and has since moved on to law school. Cameron is a junior at the University of Georgia.
“I very much would like to excel in county court and then certainly look at whether circuit court would be an option,” she said. “I happen to think a lot of my strengths are appropriate for circuit court because of my work with juvenile dependency and delinquency and family law, which is very related to circuit court. So I think I have a lot of strengths that suit that work well.”
Rotary Alhambra Event
May 22, 2012
Join us in the Rotary Alhambra Event on May 22, 2012 for the "Buddy Holly Story". Tickets are $75.00 for adults and $50.00 for children. It is sure to be a great event!
News From The Board
At this past Board meeting, the following actions occurred:
Approved for your consideration into membership - James Casey, sponsor is P Odette Struys and the classification is Investigative Consultations. Anyone having an objection, please submit it to the Board in writing within ten (10) days.
Resignation from Wally McCullough was accepted with sincere regrets. Wally and Nancy are spending more time at their home in NC. As a long time member, Wally will truly be missed-we hope he will drop in for lunch whenever he is in town!
Charity Dollars awarded:
Dreams Come True
Sanctuary on 8th Street
Hart Felt Ministries
Ronald McDonald House
Women's Center of Jacksonville
Senior Life Foundation
House of Angels
Family Promise of Jacksonville
Also funded this year...EDDY Award, RYLA, Rotary Club of Brazil joint project, our on-going water project.
Total charity funds awarded this year $14,150. Congratulations to all!!!
Members Around Town
PP Jay Plotkin, as a former prosecutor, was recently interviewed by WJXT, Channel 4, regarding the Marissa Alexander trial. She was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault.
A transcript of the interview, and video clip, can be found at http://www.news4jax.com/news/As-supporters-rally-woman-asks-for-new-trial/-/475880/12222912/-/oduf1x/-/index.html
News You Can Use
As we approach the political season, here is a gentle reminder about our club's policy (no. 8)
"Political Statements and Postions. This club shall not adopr or advance any political agenda, make any partisan political statement, express an opinion on any political issue or support, promote or endorse any political candidate. Further, this club shall not discuss the merits or demerits of any political candidate."
In order to avoid embarrassment, complete discretion should be employed when introducing a potential candidate for membership. Until the application has completed the circuit through the Membership and Classification Committees, and passed through the Board, the candidate should not be presented as "looking for a club to join" or "hoping to be a member soon" at any meeting.