Chansonique Rutherford experiences success in her final year of law school

Alcorn State University alumna Chansonique Rutherford is on pace to being one of the top students in her graduating class.

Rutherford, who studies at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas, is in the top 20 percent of the class of 2017. She reflects on the steps she took to reach this point, and how her commitment to her studies has garnered her current success.

“It’s an absolute honor to be one of the students at the top of my graduating class,” said Rutherford. “Law school has required more reading, studying and time management than I have ever been required to do in my life. To see all of my hard work and dedication pay off has been truly rewarding. It is also addicting because it makes me want more success.”

It was during an internship under Judge Tamika Irving at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Fayette, Mississippi where Rutherford found her passion for law. She credits her hands-on experience while shadowing Irving as the driving force behind her pursuit of a law career.

“While there, I noticed how many people were affected by the legal system and were often afraid and did not trust the people that worked in the legal field. I decided that I wanted to be a part of that and strive to be the advocate for people who could not advocate for themselves. I also discovered my passion for juvenile justice while working with Judge Irving.”

Rutherford, who aspires to become a lawyer, wants to make a difference by preventing African-American males from going down the wrong path.

“I want to help keep young black males out of the criminal justice system. I feel that as a juvenile justice and criminal law attorney, I can do this by helping them know their options when faced with criminal charges and doing everything I can to keep their records clean and rehabilitate them.”

After graduating in May 2017, Rutherford said she plans to prepare for the Texas Bar Exam in July 2017. She also plans to seek full time employment at the Office of the Attorney General so that she can gain experience and open her own practice.