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La'Verne Edney Profiled in Jackson Publication


While growing up in Arcola, Mississippi, attorney La'Verne Edney witnessed firsthand the impact generosity and compassion can have.

Her parents, the late Rev. Theodore Roosevelt Ford and Essie Mae Ford, not only reared Edney and her brothers and sisters, but they opened their home to 11 foster children, two of whom they adopted.

"Watching my parents give back the way they did had a great impact on me. I got an opportunity to see my mom really nourishing and taking care of those kids (who) had nothing when they came to us. That kind of formed, really, my whole life—of at least trying to give back," she says.

Edney's interest in law began when she watched TV shows such as "Perry Mason" and "Matlock" when she was young. But her early inclination was pushed aside as Edney focused on typing proficiency. In 1988, she obtained her bachelor's degree in secretarial science from Alcorn State University. While working as an administrative assistant at the Mississippi Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning, the attorneys she worked with encouraged her to pursue her dream.

Edney earned her law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law in 1996 and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar the same year. She began her litigation career at Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC in Jackson in 1998. In 2009 she took a two-year leave to work as general counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, a nonprofit that provides legal aid to financially disadvantaged people. "It was the best thing I could have done," she says of the experience.

In 2011 Edney joined the Jackson office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, where she is a shareholder. Her trial work primarily focuses on nursing home and medical negligence, and premises liability.

The 40-something Clinton resident has been the recipient of numerous honors including the Mississippi Business Journal naming her one of Mississippi's "Fifty Leaders in the Law" in 2012 and being named as Mississippi Women Lawyers Association's Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2011. She has also served on the Mississippi Supreme Court's Task Force for Gender Fairness, and former Gov. Haley Barbour appointed her to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. Edney's commitment to public service extends to local community organizations, and she serves on several boards. "It's really important to stay involved in the community. That's where you get to try to make the difference," she says.

Edney says she is most appreciative of finding success in doing what she loves while remaining active in the community and raising her two sons, E.J., 25, and Jaylon, 17.

"I know where I've come from," she says. "I'm extremely grateful for my life."

Reprinted with permission.

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