It's a Family Thing: Anne Dwelle and Karin Jones
By Stacie Jones
Originally published in the 2013 Idaho Law Magazine
As an eight-year-old girl perched at the kitchen table while her mother prepared her favorite chicken dinner, Karin Jones '03 got her first glimpse at the legal world.
"I remember helping my mom study for her torts and contracts classes as she cooked," Karin said. "We would use flashcards with hypothetical situations to quiz each other. The puzzle solving was a lot of fun for me. It was like a game."
At the time, Karin's mother, Anne Dwelle '88, was in her first year in the University of Idaho College of Law after more than 10 years as a stay-at-home mom of two. Watching her mother juggle parenting with the demands of full-time law school — and subsequently begin a successful law practice in Moscow, Idaho — left a lasting impression on Karin.
"Seeing her succeed at law school and then in her legal career made me feel like it was something I could do, too," Karin said. "I think it's inspiring to see your mom succeed in any professional career."
After completing her undergraduate degree in 2000 at Whitman College, Karin returned to her hometown of Moscow, Idaho, to begin her own law school journey, but not without a few reservations.
"In some ways, I hesitated to go to law school because I wanted to forge my own path and do my own things," she explained. "I wasn't sure I was doing it for the right reasons, or if I was just falling into that path because I was familiar with it."
Fortunately, Karin said, the University of Idaho and the legal field were both a good fit. Today, she is an associate attorney at a law firm in Seattle, Wash.
For Anne, having her daughter return home to become a second-generation University of Idaho law graduate was a rewarding experience that required a delicate balance between providing Karin support and encouraging her independence.
"I was delighted that she chose the University of Idaho because I knew she was going to get the same caliber of education that I received," Anne said. "But I tried to stay clear so she could chart her course and do it her own way. She was way smarter than I was, so I had no doubt that she could do it."
A few years ago, Anne and Karin once again found themselves gathered around a table discussing the law, but this time as attorneys collaborating on an adoption case for a lifelong family friend.
"I just never thought I'd see my name side by side with my daughter's at the bottom of pleadings," Anne said. "It gave me an incredible charge. That case was wonderful on so many levels."