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Culture 2020 40 Under 40: Jodie Connaughton

2020 40 Under 40: Jodie Connaughton

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pharral@bizpress.net
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

JODIE CONNAUGHTON, 39

ATTORNEY, METHODIST JUSTICE MINISTRY

Jodie Connaughton is an accomplished and capable attorney who represents clients who have nowhere else to turn. She never loses a case when representing women and children who have been impacted by family violence and neglect, said Melanie Hanna of Methodist Justice Ministry, who nominated her.

She has a case load of between 40 and 50 clients – and also nurtures and mentors a law school student

Previously, she worked for Patsy’s House, Children’s Advocacy Center in Wichita Falls, SafeHaven of Tarrant County and briefly a Joshua law firm where she practiced family law.

Connaughton has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in English, both from Midwestern State University, and a law degree from the Texas A&M School of Law.

“Jodie makes a difference in the lives of our clients that we serve everyday leading them out of a life of domestic violence by handling the toughest of the tough cases that require a tremendous amount of time researching and securing documentation to present in court,” Hanna said.

Many of the cases involve locating absentee fathers and about 80 percent of her cases involved abused children. About 20 percent of the cases focus on providing legal representation to both women and their children, Hanna said.

“Jodie does this work every day without any accolades or financial gain. This is truly her mission and calling,” Hanna said.

– Paul K. Harral

Where did your first paycheck come from?

Dixie Café. I was a hostess/cashier.

What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?

Matlock

What other profession would you like to try?

I would like to own my own bakery.

Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or she was important.

My mother has been a significant influence on my life. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was 27. By the time I was born when she was 40, she was in constant pain. Her hands and feet were deformed. She could not move some of her fingers. She had to wear special shoes.

I only ever heard my mother complain about her health or about being in pain a handful of times that I can recall. My mother demonstrated compassion for others and put others’ needs before her own. She was the most calm and empathetic person I have ever known.

She encouraged me to pursue my dreams, regardless of how out of reach those dreams might have been. She lived long enough to see me graduate with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree but unfortunately did not get to see me graduate from law school.

I try to live my life every day in a way which honors my mother and carries on her passion for helping others. I am blessed to be an attorney at Methodist Justice Ministry. In this role, I help women who are fleeing from domestic violence situations by helping them get divorced and get protective orders against their abusive partners.

I always knew that I wanted to be an attorney and my mother encouraged me in that goal. She is the one who inspires me to spend my life helping others.

What is your favorite song?

Dream On – Aerosmith

Is there anything you want us to know about you that we didn’t ask?

I am the proud mother of six children who we adopted out of foster care and the proud wife of an Air Force veteran. I love animals, and we have four dogs and four cats. Two of our dogs only have three legs.

Tell us about your photo shoot prop.

My prop is a ring which was my mother’s. She received it for her eighth-grade graduation. I had it resized after she passed away and wear it on days when I feel like I need a little extra support.

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