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Inside the Courtroom
Judge Jones reflects on her years of practice
Judge Dorothy Mobley Jones’ journey in the legal profession started long before she was elected to the family court Fifth Circuit. After almost 14 years serving on the bench, she starts retirement Dec. 1.
Jones graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1974 and taught English and French classes at Newberry High School for one year before attending the University of South Carolina School of Law. In 1978, she received her law degree and had the honor to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Rodney A. Peeples.
After learning under Judge Peeples, Jones entered private practice with the firm of Yarborough, Fallon & Mobler in Florence. She practiced in criminal and civil cases, and in 1983 she focused exclusively on domestic statewide practice until her election in February 2005.
Jones took time to reflect on her years of practice and offered advice to those who are starting their legal careers.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
My highlight is helping neglected or abused children and finding stability in their lives, adoptions and working closely with lawyers to achieve best results. In 2014, I received the Matthew J. Perry Award for Civility, and it means the most to me. I thoroughly enjoyed working will all the attorneys and staff throughout the years. I’ve made many friends and experienced different counties across the state.
Most challenging part of your career?
The most challenging is hearing all those cases over the years and trying to make best decision for each child and for the families.
What advice would you give someone who is starting their judgeship?
Consider each case on its facts and take time as long as needed to fashion the right decision for each case. Do not rule rashly or angrily. Never exhibit anger toward a litigant and try to calmly explain the ruling and why you ruled that way. Be kind and courteous to everyone including staff, deputies and other who work within the court system. Give back to our profession by speaking /planning CLE seminars. Serve on committees. Be active.
Now that you’re retired, what’s next for you?
After 40 years in law, I am very excited to announce I am opening a mediation practice to enable litigants to reach settlements quicker and to treat each other with more respect by avoiding acrimonious litigation. The children suffer from those scars. It is my passion, and I will continue in the third phase of my legal career by engaging in mediation as a retired family court judge.