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Solo Practitioner Jonathan Newton, ’17, Profiled by WJLA News, Signs Book Deal with NYU Press

Thursday, May 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: UDC Law Staff
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Jonathan Newton, ’17, shared his remarkable success story with WJLA news this past month. Newton worked as a police officer in Georgia when, in 2011, he blew the whistle on a corrupt sitting sheriff, who then retaliated with a string of false accusations that resulted in Newton’s indictment on trumped-up charges. Jailed for 14 days before clearing his name, Newton decided then and there to pursue a career as an attorney dedicated to remedying injustice. "Our job is to make sure the system does carry forth its mission to deliver due process," Newton told WJLA, an ABC affiliate serving the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Screenshot of Jonathan Newton on courthouse steps captioned Ex-Cop Becomes Lawyer After Time in Jail
Screenshot: WJLA

Newly admitted to the Maryland bar, Newton recently set out a shingle in Largo, Maryland with the launch of the Law Office of Jonathan Y. Newton, LLC, and he is already hard at work with a busy docket spanning criminal defense, family law, police misconduct, and personal injury representation.

Just this month Newton celebrated yet another triumph when New York University Press agreed to publish “The Law of Law School,” a primer he co-authored with Professor Andrew Ferguson. The book offers key insights to newly admitted law students who have no lawyers in their family and who may not be familiar with the methods and process of legal education, to better prepare matriculating law students for academic success. The text grew out of Newton’s efforts as a student leader of the Academic Collaboration for Excellence, a group formed by students helping other students succeed in law school.

Meanwhile, Newton continues to advocate for police accountability and an end to mass incarceration as President of the National Association Against Police Brutality (NAAPB), a national network of legal experts he founded while a first-year student at UDC Law. He and fellow law student Makeda Crane, ’18, established the network in 2014 in the wake of the policing killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

The network made headlines early on with the launch of an online tool to field complaints from victims of police misconduct and connect them to legal support and social services. Through the NAAPB, Newton also organized direct actions and important events including the UDC Law forum “Confronting Institutional Racism: Steps to End Police Brutality and Fix Our Justice System” in the spring of 2015. The event brought together leading legal experts such as Angela Davis and Jonathan Smith for a broad-based discussion of criminal justice reform and racial equity in law enforcement.

While studying toward his J.D. as a Medgar Evers Scholar at the law school, Newton remained actively engaged in UDC Law’s vibrant student life, including as President of the Student Bar Association, and in addition to his work with the NAAPB, Newton volunteered his time as a law student for a variety of important causes. In his first year at the school, Newton and a group of UDC Law students partnered with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project to provide much-needed legal support to immigrant families held at a detention center in Dilley, Texas. This and many other volunteer efforts earned Newton the UDC Founder’s Day Award for Student Humanitarian & Civic Engagement in 2014, and the law school honored Newton with the 2016 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service and the Richard H. Semsker Award in Civil Rights Law upon his graduation in 2017.

Newton is looking forward to extending his track record of public service with pro bono work through his solo practice. He also hopes – as a late-breaking lawyer himself – to return to law school one day to teach adult learners and “help them get to the next level of their life” just as he has.


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8/4/2020 » 8/7/2020
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8/6/2020 » 8/14/2020
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