By Hayes, Cassandra
Black Enterprise , Vol. 25, No. 5
Former New York City assistant district attorney's star shines in Hollywood
Star Jones' twinkle has worked like a beacon, launching the New York attorney from the courtroom to Hollywood. The former NBC News legal correspondent and current host of Jones & Jury may have found a talisman in a nationally syndicated series that combines two of television's most successful formats - the courtroom drama and the talk show.
Laughter frequently punctuates the 32-year-old Jones' conversation. Her relaxed style and keen jurisprudence helped Jones land the half-hour series - which debuted this September - and also served her well when she was a Brooklyn assistant district attorney.
"I chose prosecution over defense and any other aspect of the law because it's the only avenue of the law where you can do the right thing," she says. "The law shouldn't be influenced by politics or the next job you're trying to get, but because it's the right thing."
Starlet Marie Jones spent the first six years of her life with her grandparents in Badin, N.C., and later moved to Trenton, N.J., with her mother and stepfather. It was her grandmother's daily soap operas that helped influence Jones' future career choice. "My grandmother used to watch Another World, and for one character, in particular, she would always say, `That child needs a lawyer.'"
Jones put herself through American University by taking clerical jobs and racking up student loans. In 1986, after receiving her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, she joined the Kings County District Attorney's office in Brooklyn. She served in the General Trial and Homicide bureaus before being promoted in 1991 to senior assistant district attorney.
The transition from practicing law to analyzing it came easy for Jones. When an associate at the district attorney's office turned down an offer to do legal commentary for cable television's Court TV she recommended Jones. That windfall was a direct result of contacts made through networking, Jones now says. …