Before Jeanne Reed decided to go to law school, she was deep into the building construction industry. Since receiving an associates degree in Building Construction Technology, she had spent seven years working in a business as a construction estimator. Then one morning she woke up and thought, “this isn’t enough.”
“I realized I just wasn’t happy and felt like I’d maxed out in what I was doing and where I was going in this line of work,” recalled Jeanne. “Going to law school was a total leap of faith. I had never once in my life thought of myself as lawyer until I found myself listening to my friend talk about how excited she was about going to law school. It had always been her dream. It hit me that moment that law school might be right for me too. It’s funny, but I saw it as a sign.”
That night Jeanne jumped online to see what she needed to do get into law school. She checked out WMU-Cooley Law School’s website and discovered that they not only offered great scholarships, but they offered an option, unlike any other Michigan law school, where she could go to law school only having an associates degree.
“It seemed like all stars were aligning. From my perspective, I didn’t believe getting a bachelor’s degree would make me a better lawyer. What I wanted to do was start now, not years down the road. I took the LSAT practice tests and based on those results, I figured I had a chance to get a full ride. Well, I ended up with an 85 percent scholarship, so pretty close!”
“Even though I was 29 years old at the time, I went to an Open House with my dad at Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus soon after I got my LSAT scores. I remember getting to meet lots of people from the law school, but I especially remember my dad insisting on meeting and talking to the dean. Well, Dean Miller happened to be right next to us! We all had a wonderful conversation, and to this day, I absolutely love the dean and the professors. They were fantastic.”
I met Jason (Eggleston) in a small class during my first term in law school. We hit it off right away. Both of us were non-traditional students. He was from Greenville (a small town in Michigan). We both loved being part of a small town where everyone knows each other and you have a real connection to the community. We started talking early on about building a business together.”
“I started out in law school thinking that I would end up doing something along the lines of contracts and business,” said Jeanne. It was my mock trial experience though that inspired me to follow the path I’m on now. I did a complete 180! So many people have told me since that I have the heart of a criminal defense attorney. I believe that is what makes me good at what I am doing.”
Jason joined up with his brother in a family owned firm right after graduation, but a new opportunity opened up when his brother got a new job. “Again, it seemed like divine intervention, said Jeanne. ” Jason’s brother was appointed as the Montcalm magistrate and that got us talking again about working together in practice. We both knew that we wanted to handle our business differently than most law firms. We wanted to represent folks in our community that really needed help. And that if you call, we will answer our phone. We want people to know that we care for our clients.”
“Our mantra is ‘know your rights.’ So many of our clients desperately need legal services, but can’t afford to travel to Grand Rapids to hire a big firm lawyer. We are absolutely committed to offering professional, accessible, and affordable legal services. And I am so thankful for Cooley. If they hadn’t given me the opportunity to attend law school when I did, things could have been much different. In fact, our business mirrors many of the same qualities that I admire and respect in Cooley – professional, accessible, and affordable.”
Jeanne Reed is a single mom taking care of sons Bryce, eight, and David, six. Jason Eggleston is married to wife, Chelsa, raising their two-year-old son Dawson. Jeanne and Jason now work together in their firm Eggleston Reed Law in the small town of Greenville, Michigan.
If you are on facebook, you can find them at https://www.facebook.com/jeannereedlaw.