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winter 2018
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Wofford and the Law

James A. Jones ’94: Paying it forward in the courtroom and community

As assistant chief counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, James A. Jones ’94 spends much of his days making tough decisions and praying.

“We have one of the most aggressive caseloads in the country,” says Jones, who is in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., three to four days each week, working on up to 50 cases. “Given the restraints that come with the job, we’re trying to use the tools that we have to make the best decisions we can make.”

It’s a high-stress job, but Jones feels grounded in his support network of childhood mentors and Omega Psi Phi brothers. His first order of the day is a 6:30 a.m. prayer call with the fraternity.

Jones followed his mentor James Cheek ’73 to Wofford and into the fraternity, then on to law school. Now Jones and his family are back in Spartanburg building a better community for everyone. He supports a scholarship for a Wofford student as well as projects to address challenges such as homelessness, domestic violence, disaster relief and public health. He volunteers with several mentoring programs and always is willing to talk with Wofford students about careers in the law.

“I encourage students to tap into the network of alumni who are practicing law,” says Jones, who advises students to take as many classes as possible that require writing. He also recommends philosophy classes to build critical thinking skills, even film or theatre or art classes to boost creative problem-solving. “We are all a part of the same Wofford family, and Wofford alumni love to see students come along and do well.”

By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington '89