Church Bombing Prosecutor Urges Law Students to Seize Opportunities

Published on September 22, 2014 by Cassady Weldon  
Doug Jones
Doug Jones, a 1979 graduate of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law and a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, was the first speaker in the law school’s Called to the Bar series for the 2014-15 academic year.

As a United States Attorney, Jones (right) led the team of prosecutors and investigators in the reopened historic “cold case” of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Jones served as the lead trial attorney in the successful prosecutions of two former Ku Klux Klansmen for the murder of four young girls killed in the bombing.

“When I was sitting where you are sitting today, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to do something that’s meant so much to so many people,” Jones said. “You don’t know if you’re going to have that opportunity… . What you do now to prepare for that is going to guide you for the rest of your life. So take advantage of it, and when you have that opportunity, seize it and don’t let it go.”

Called to the Bar is a part of the Lawyering and Legal Reasoning course that begins during orientation and focuses largely on professionalism, ethics and the duties of lawyering. Eight required sessions are held during the year. The program also includes a forum for students to receive personal guidance and support through mentoring, as well as individual assistance on written assignments. Lawyering and Legal Reasoning (LLR) is a six-hour graded course for first-year students that provides hands-on, practical experience in basic lawyering skills.

Jones is currently with the Jones & Hawley, P.C. firm in Birmingham, where he represents individual, institutional and corporate clients in complex civil and criminal litigation. For more information about Jones, please visit: http://joneshawley.com/attorneys/g-douglas-jones/.

Cassady Weldon is a journalism and mass communication major and news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.

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