Discovery with Toni Jaramilla

Give Toni Jaramilla a double shot of espresso and Eskrima sticks, and watch out

Published in 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers magazine

By Toni Jaramilla on January 20, 2017


My nickname is … Toni (given name: Tonette).

I can’t go a day without … a double shot of espresso in the morning.

If you were in my office, you’d … see posters of Cesar Chavez, Justice Thurgood Marshall, and a pencil sketch of me in a Wonder Woman outfit.

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I trained for years in Eskrima, the Filipino martial art of stick and knife fighting, and hand-to-hand combat.

When I was a newbie lawyer I …  was too worried to take a vacation.

The lawyer I most admire is … my husband, Aaron Jansen. He is a deputy public defender. He wins trial after trial but never sticks around the courtroom for praise. He wishes his client well, then returns back to the office to prepare for his next trial.

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … compassion.

My pre-trial routine is … an intense workout to loud hip-hop music, then practicing my opening statement alone, in front of a mirror.

My career high point (so far) has been … arguing my first case before the Court of Appeals on the due date of my first baby. I won the appeal and I gave birth to my daughter a few weeks later. 

The SCOTUS justice I’d most like to meet is … Justice Thurgood Marshall, if he were still alive. Present day: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The SCOTUS decision I’d most like to overturn is … Shelby County v. Holder (2013).

My fictional hero is … Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins.

My real life hero is … Helen Keller.

On my best day I … am able to cross off at least five things on my “to-do” list
and still have time for a relaxing lunch.

On my worst day I … squander my time away on social media or something unproductive.

My motto is … “The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love”
and “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

The craziest thing I witnessed in a courtroom is … gender bias. It still exists.

My earliest memory is … sitting in a nipa hut in the Philippines, eating a sugar cane.
I was probably 3 years old.

The three people I’d invite to dinner are … Corazon Aquino, Malcolm X and Angelina Jolie.

If I had a morning show, my co-host would be … Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.

Nothing cheers me up like … a call or hug from my daughters.

My least favorite word is … any word that is derogatory to women and people of color.

The most annoying thing about my job is … I cannot take every case and client who needs my help. In some cases, a potential client has lost their job through no fault of their own, but it may not be illegal under the law. It is hard for me to tell a person who has lost their livelihood that they also have no legal recourse.

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