Jared Donaldson has always had a passion for serving others.
With the military in his family history, Donaldson was inspired to enlist as an officer in the Army/National Guard in 2014 after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of South Carolina.
In between active-duty assignments, which included the 2016 Hurricane Matthew relief efforts, he obtained his MBA from Anderson University and was encouraged by a mentor to pursue his law degree.
In 2017, Donaldson enrolled in North Carolina Central University School of Law’s Performance Based Admission Program (PBAP), with an initial goal to pursue corporate law; however, through participation in one of the law school’s clinics, he was led to pursue criminal law.
“I was attracted to NCCU School of the Law because of its clinics,” Donaldson said. “Through the Criminal Defense Clinic, I received hands-on experience with all aspects of misdemeanor criminal court proceedings while under the supervision of professors.”
However, Donaldson’s law school career would be placed on hold in 2019, when he deployed to the Middle East for military operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield. One not to back down from obstacles, upon the end of his deployment, Donaldson returned to law school determined to graduate with the spring 2021 class.
After passing the bar, Donaldson plans to work either as a public defender or in a district attorney’s office, with the ultimate goal of owning a criminal law firm and playing a key role in reforming the justice system.
“Growing up as a Black man and watching how we are mistreated within the justice system has encouraged me to help others who look like me and find ways to directly impact the system,” he said.
Donaldson’s advice for future Legal Eagles? Discover your passion and let it guide you through life.