Padua Academy


Legal Shadowing Program Welcomes President Judge Jan Jurden


Legal Shadowing Program Welcomes President Judge Jan Jurden

“The only thing better than being a lawyer is being a teacher or a judge,” said President Judge Jan Jurden to Padua’s Legal Shadowing students.  The Legal Shadowing program was honored to welcome the President Judge of Delaware’s Superior Court on November 28th.  During her visit, President Judge Jurden described her distinguished career path from the United States Army to the head of our state’s highest trial court.

When she was in high school, President Judge Jurden wanted to become a journalist.  Her passion was writing, and her inspiration was her father and grandfather’s military service in both World Wars.  At age seventeen, she enlisted in the United States Army; she was stationed in West Germany in telecommunications and attended college courses in the evenings.  Upon her return from overseas, President Judge Jurden pursued her undergraduate and law degrees.  Her desire was to join a profession that would advance the cause of justice and enable her to showcase her writing skills.  As the President Judge emphasized to the students during her presentation, “You must write well to be an attorney.”

President Judge Jurden worked as an associate and then partner at Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, in the fields of commercial, corporate, and personal injury litigation.  After thirteen years in private practice, she applied for a vacancy on the Superior Court Bench to continue her mission of advancing the cause of justice in a different capacity.  She attributes her many years of trial experience to her nomination and ultimate appointment to the Superior Court in 2001.  On January 13, 2015, she was elevated to President Judge, a role she likens to being CEO of a 300-person corporation.

President Judge Jurden shared with our students her enthusiasm for her work because it offers new challenges every day – “every day is different.”  She also stressed the importance of being able to apply concepts to new situations, rather than simply memorize, as a law school student, an attorney, and a judge.  This is something we teachers tell our students every day! During the spring semester, two fortunate students will shadow President Judge Jurden to witness her decision-making and management skills first-hand.

By: Susan E. Poppiti, Esquire

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