Today in the OJD Spotlight we have the new juvenile defense contractor of Davie County, Cindy Ellis.
Cindy knew she wanted to be a lawyer even when she was little. Back then she thought it would be glamorous, but now she says she knows it can be one of the most stressful, yet rewarding career choices.
In law school, she had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in a wrongful convictions clinic. During that clinic, she and her classmates studied and watched an actual case of innocence unfold and a man released from prison. It impressed upon her the importance of what lawyers do and how they do it.
Cindy became motivated to join the juvenile defense field after seeing too many children making mistakes that haunted them for years.
“So many studies have shown that our brains are not fully developed until well after the age of 18, yet we punish kids as if they fully understand their actions and the consequences of them,” she said. “The cycle needs to be broken. I want to help find ways for kids to make better choices and grow up without the stigma that accompanies a criminal history.”
Her greatest personal success in life is not one particular thing or moment. Cindy said she is extremely proud of the fact that she has worked full-time since she was old enough to have a job. Through undergrad and law school, she worked a full-time job.
When asked about her greatest professional success, she said this is also difficult to pinpoint. “Anytime I have been able to help someone, not just with his or her case, but also with the things that landed him or her in court initially, I feel like I have been successful.”
In life and in her professional practice, the Davie County attorney says there is one maxim she chooses to apply in both. “Life is about choices. I remind myself that the key difference between defending and being a defendant can be as simple as one bad decision. Have empathy and follow the golden rule.”
As far as words of wisdom to impart on others, Cindy only said, “I am positive the juvenile defense community has many more words of wisdom to share than I, so please share with me (and with each other)!”