Alexis Jones’ Law School journey is one of self-discovery, community building, and unwavering commitment to justice.
Friday, February 16, 2024

Growing up in the vibrant city of Chicago, Alexis Jones, the eighth of ten children born to Kevin and Lisa, found solace in the world of basketball. Her passion for the sport eventually led her to Iowa, setting the stage for a remarkable journey in law.

During her undergraduate years playing basketball at Augustana College in the Quad Cities, Alexis immersed herself in political science and French. While the idea of a legal career began to take shape during college, Alexis had always sensed its resonance in her life.

"I've always been fascinated by the law, especially after observing its influence throughout my life. Witnessing my parents lose their house in 2008 was my initial encounter with the complexities of the legal system, and it’s what motivated me to broaden my perspective,” says Alexis. “Pivotal moments like the Trayvon Martin incident in 2012 further solidified my interest in the law, as I found myself drawn to its impact on society.”

After graduating from Augustana College in 2020, Alexis navigated the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by taking a gap year and working at a law firm specializing in real estate. However, the desire for a legal education guided her to Iowa Law, drawn by the prospect of international law and inspired by the esteemed faculty.

“Iowa Law was my top choice, especially because I wanted to stay in Iowa. I loved it when I was in the Quad Cities,” recalls Alexis. “At the time, I thought I was going to pursue international law, and I knew that Iowa Law professor Adrien Wing was phenomenal in that area.”

In 2021, Alexis’ legal education officially began. Following her first year of classes, she discovered a shift in her interests from international law to progressive prosecution. 

“With my French background, I thought I would go into international law. But when I started law school, it was different than what I expected,” says Alexis. “I later took a progressive prosecution seminar that resonated with my passion for social justice within the criminal system. This marked the beginning of my interest in criminal law.”

The progressive prosecution seminar, led by visiting professor Ben Cohen, shaped Alexis' evolving interests. Despite being her first exposure to the subject, Professor Cohen attests to Alexis’ commitment to learning and her exceptional ability to think outside the box.

“One of the most exciting parts about teaching at Iowa Law was working with students like Alexis. She thought both creatively and pragmatically about addressing the pervasive problems in our criminal legal system. Alexis grasped the power of acting as a problem solver, which I’m certain she will use well as an elected prosecutor, a judge, running the Department of Justice, or as a lawyer on the front lines administering justice,” says Professor Cohen. “Of the many things I saw that makes Alexis special is how she helped make everyone around her better. She exemplified the skill of encouraging her peers’ ideas, even those she disagreed with. I look forward to seeing what Alexis’ future holds.”

In the summer of 2022, Alexis began her professional experience through a series of internships, where she worked as a Legal Intern in San Francisco, California, and later in Chicago, Illinois. In 2023, she was a Judicial Extern at the New Mexico Supreme Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Most recently, she spent the fall 2023 semester in Washington, D.C., for an internship with the U.S. Department of Justice. Alexis says these real-world experiences allowed her to find confidence in her career path.

"I found inspiration for my internships when I realized that traditional classroom settings weren't my forte,” Alexis recalls. “A conversation with an Iowa alum further fueled my determination to prioritize experiential learning over lectures. Embracing this mindset, I entered law school intending to pursue as many real-world experiences as possible, which definitely paid off.”

Beyond the classroom, Alexis's journey at Iowa Law has been about more than pursuing her passion in law, but about self-discovery and community-building. Joining the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), she found a support system that helped her navigate the challenges of law school. 

“During my first year of law school, I took a challenging course that made me question if law was for me. However, when I joined BLSA, I had the opportunity to network with Black attorneys and other Black students at law. I realized that how I felt wasn't abnormal,” says Alexis. “I realized there are many aspects to law, and you shouldn't count yourself out just because a certain area isn't your thing. I feel that BLSA helped me regain confidence in my abilities and shaped my identity as I am today.”

From serving as a 1L Rep to leading as the president of the Alexander G. Clark Sr. & Jr. Chapter of BLSA, Alexis has immersed herself in promoting diversity and supporting minority law students.

“As president of BLSA, my goal and the mission of the organization is to help Black and other minority law students in any capacity they need,” Alexis says. “Whether it's job fairs, résumé reviews, or networking, we help connect law students with resources and other attorneys through specialized programming. I really enjoy it, and being able to give back to my peers has been very rewarding.”

According to Iowa Law professor Adrien Wing, Alexis’s ability to help others extends beyond her contributions to BLSA, underscoring her promising potential for post-graduation success.

“In her role as my research assistant this year, Alexis has been fabulous. She is very dedicated and hard-working and has also been an amazing leader for BLSA,” says Professor Wing. “Based on my nearly 40 years as a professor, I predict she will be a wonderful alumna and role model for many others in a career as a progressive prosecutor or whatever else she chooses to do.”

Iowa Law professor Emily Hughes echoes Alexis’ exceptional leadership skills, acknowledging her ability to create an inclusive community where everyone feels heard. 

“Alexis constantly thinks about ways to improve the wider community inside BLB, across Iowa, and even across the whole country,” says Professor Hughes. “She thinks broadly about building bridges, listens to different voices, and considers multiple viewpoints—skills that will be incredibly useful to her no matter what kind of law she wants to do.”

Alexis Jones

“As president of BLSA, my goal and the mission of the organization is to help Black and other minority law students in any capacity they need. I really enjoy it, and being able to give back to my peers has been very rewarding.” - Alexis Jones


Alexis credits many of her achievements and opportunities in BLSA to the faculty at Iowa Law, who she says have supported her mission within the organization.

“I genuinely tell people that my law school experience wouldn’t have unfolded as it did if not for the nurturing environment at Iowa Law, and this sentiment extends to the faculty. Their level of support has been amazing,” says Alexis. “I’ve taken weeks away from classes to contribute to BLSA, and their response has always been understanding. It really speaks to the culture at Iowa Law, where faculty have a commitment to empowering students to do what they love.”

Recognizing the many influences at Iowa Law, Alexis attributes her success to mentors such as Daria Fisher Page, Ben Cohen, Emily Hughes, and Adrien Wing. The guidance from these mentors, the supportive faculty and staff, and the collaborative culture at Iowa Law have significantly enriched her overall experience.

“The commonality of the faculty at Iowa Law is that they’ve been instrumental in my professional development. Not only are they great teachers, but they’re amazing people. They're willing to meet you whenever, wherever, and I want to model myself after them,” Alexis says.

Professor Daria Fisher Page, leading the Community Empowerment Law Project in Iowa Law's legal clinic, has developed a profound understanding of Alexis beyond the conventional classroom setting. She expresses unwavering confidence in Alexis' success after graduation, highlighting not only her legal skills but also her compassionate approach to the law.

“Alexis is empathetic and fair, qualities I know will help her succeed as she navigates the complex web of stakeholders and values involved in progressive prosecution.” 

With Black History Month on the horizon, Alexis and BLSA aim to raise awareness of Iowa's rich history of Black attorneys. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2023 decision to cease affirmative action in higher education, the organization has intensified its efforts during this significant period.

“After the affirmative action decision, the significance of Black History Month influenced my perspective on the crucial role BLSA should play within the law school,” says Alexis. “This year, we are orchestrating a big cookout, accompanied by a social media and on-campus campaign. Our goal is not only to celebrate Black History Month but also to shed light on lesser-known Iowa Black History facts. Iowa has such a rich legacy of Black attorneys, and that’s just one of the reasons Black History Month is important to me."

After graduating from Iowa Law in May 2024, Alexis will return to New Mexico to clerk on the Court of Appeals for Judge Megan Duffy. Her advice for incoming students echoes the importance of finding one's niche while prioritizing grades.

“My advice for incoming students is to find your niche. At the same time, while exploring diverse opportunities is valuable, always prioritize grades. It's easy to get swayed, as many in my position have, dedicating excessive time to student organizations and accidentally overlooking the essential task of securing a job after graduation. Remember to find a balance and make sure you have that one thing—your unique passion and focus.”