In the World According to JMac, it Pays to Keep an Extra Keyboard Handy

Discovery with Jessica C. McElfresh

Published in 2019 San Diego Super Lawyers magazine

By Jessica C. McElfresh on April 5, 2019


My nickname is … JMac or Poppin’ Fresh. (It’s the last name, and apparently I’m a fast worker.)

I can’t go a day without … coffee. Yes, I’ve tried green tea.

I get angry when … I spill coffee on my keyboard. I have to own two so I can dry the other out.

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I really like roller coasters. 

When I was a newbie lawyer, I … was fortunate enough to have an attorney I’d only spoken to over the phone tell me I should pursue medical cannabis law. I’m not sure what he saw, but it was a good idea.

The lawyer I most admire is … a friend of mine who went to federal prison when he was young. He graduated college at the top of his class, went to law school and has become a successful criminal defense attorney in Chicago.

When I started, I wish I knew … that virtually nothing I had planned was going to work out: career path and more. But it ultimately worked out better. So much of your life is what happens to you and how you react to it, not what you try to will into happening.

If I weren’t a lawyer … it would be fun to be a film historian. I’m a huge movie buff and get into not just the films themselves but all the stories surrounding them and the people who made them.

My favorite movie is … The Shawshank Redemption. Though I’ve seen Beetlejuice more times.

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … pretty much anything by John Irving. Random moments from The Hotel New Hampshire or A Son of the Circus pop into my head all the time.

My fictional hero is … my hometown girl, Veronica Mars—dogged, independent and fighting cruelty at all costs. 

The craziest thing I witnessed in a courtroom is … a witness yelling at me during cross-examination over the time The Muppets aired on ABC. 

My favorite song lyric is … “I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down/Gonna stand my ground/And I won’t back down” – Tom Petty

If I had a morning show, my co-host would be … Henry Rollins. I wish I could tell stories one-tenth as well as he can.

My favorite word is … not fit to print. My favorite word that is fit to print is asinine. 

My least-favorite word is … utilize. What is wrong with use?

My favorite podcast is … Criminal. It’s stories around crime, investigations, law enforcement and the spaces in between.

My motto is … take the work seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. 

If I won the lottery I’d … take a year off, visit all the places I dream of seeing and then come back to work as an attorney pro bono.

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