Sophia Timba | August 21, 2023

Make the Case

Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson ’88 fights for his clients in the courtroom and analyzes the law on national television.

Joey Jackson '88, Criminal Defense Attorney & CNN Legal Analyst

Joey Jackson’s ’88 career in law has taken him to heights he never imagined, including the 23rd floor of a Manhattan skyscraper where he operates his own law firm. His firm is conveniently located a few blocks away from the CNN News Studio, where he makes regular appearances to offer on-air legal expertise.

“I was fortunate enough to start doing legal analysis, and what a legal analyst does is explain complicated legal issues for the masses of people,” Jackson explained. “When I’m on TV, I get to give my perspective about what’s what, and I get to do it in a way that relates to people.”


Joey Jackson Joey Jackson


Jackson believes his success would not have been possible without his start at Brockport.

“It all started at Brockport. I have to tell you that, because I had a mentor at Brockport who was a lawyer,” Jackson recalled. “I never saw a lawyer before I went to Brockport. I didn’t know what a lawyer was. I didn’t know how to spell lawyer before I went to Brockport.”

As a high school student, Jackson struggled to take his studies seriously. He was accepted to Brockport on the condition that he pass three trial courses over the summer, in what was called the “transition program.” After arriving in Brockport, he decided things were going to be different.

“I figured I was going to start working hard. And so that summer I started working hard, got an A in all three of those classes, and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Jackson said. “When I went to Brockport, I said, ‘I’m going to give myself an opportunity.’”

Now, as a criminal defense and labor attorney, Jackson uses the work ethic he developed at Brockport to defend and protect those who seek his help.

“The stakes are always high. People come to you because they are at risk of losing their liberty, of going to jail for the rest of their lives, of losing their job.”
Joey Jackson

“It gives me great satisfaction to be able to say I’ve affected a person, I’ve saved a family, and I’ve really done what I’ve been fortunate enough to do,” Jackons said.

When it comes to his success, Jackson believes it is important to “pay it forward.” He continually recruits students and young professionals to ensure they get the same chance that Brockport afforded him.

“We have to understand that every well we go to to drink water, someone built the well before us,” Jackson said. “So it’s important to me to work with young people so that they can reach their full potential. If I was left behind, I would have never reached mine. And I’ll always remember that.”