The Briefcase of Juris P. Prudence
Lawyer Parents — back again, this book review is for you! Targeting books explaining our profession to kids, now for the slightly older second- to sixth-grade audience, The Briefcase of Juris P. Prudence earned a 4.5 star rating from my 8-year-old book-loving daughter who co-writes this review to legitimize it for the intended audience. Author J.N. Childress is a Washington, D.C., lawyer and chief executive dreamer of Juris Prudence, LLC, a content company based on Childress’s first book. The book is the first in a four-book series about the legal adventures of Juris Providence Prudence (J.P.) and her law firm friends Sofia “Sofie” Flores-Ramirez, Isabel “Izzy” Carrington, and Madeline “Maddy” Rosenfeld. With a name that means “the study of law” and an affinity toward reading, J.P. was destined to become a young legal eagle, attending the National Kids Leaders Academy since the age of five. In their first legal quest, the 11-year-old lawyers set out to get kids the right to vote. Their journey is necessitated by an upcoming mayoral election between Sylvester Sullivan and Marty Goodlittle. Ominous headlines preview Sly’s plans to axe healthy school lunches and close children’s homeless shelters. With negative impacts on kids’ lives at stake, J.P. and her friends think the law prohibiting kids from voting should be changed so they can vote for the kid-friendly Goodlittle. The young lawyers embark on a crusade to have kids’ voices heard. In relatable prose, young readers are exposed to the legal process as J.P. & Associates begins prepping their case. Mirroring reality, Sofie is tasked with conducting legal research to find arguments supporting their position that kids 7 to 17-years-old should be allowed to vote, introducing concepts like constitutionality, equal protection, and how to change a law. Izzy must investigate their opponent and Maddy tracked their supportive constituency. In anticipation of a legal battle, J.P. — a three-time debate team champion — is slated spokesperson, prepared to argue their position in court. Legwork done, with 500 signatures on a petition and brief in hand, J.P. rides her bike to the U.S. district court to file their action. Culminating in oral argument before a woman judge, J.P. & Associates win kids the right to vote. With kids in the voting ranks, good Goodlittle is elected mayor. My young reader loved that kids changed the law — a reflection of their capability in overcoming challenges — and this lawyer parent loved the introduction to lawyer life and lawyers’ role in resolving societal issues. Also great, the book showcases a diverse cast of characters and backgrounds, subliminally encouraging diversity in the legal profession among a young audience. After finishing the book, we learned about Childress’s website, which provides a range of additional educational materials such as a coloring book, a virtual mock trial academy for aspiring attorneys, an “intern case kit” to practice lawyering, and leadership development tools for children. The book is a fun read for lawyer parents and their young bibliophiles.