One to Watch

ONE TO WATCH » Jennifer Hanson Copus

By Stephanie Castellano

With her lilting Southern accent and ready laugh, Jennifer Hanson Copus is one of the most disarming young women in her profession. She’s also one of the most successful attorneys in her area, and that’s a statistic: the Martindale-Hubbell Directory gave her a visibility ranking of 16 out of 118 lawyers in Fort Walton Beach. She was recently appointed to the First Judicial Circuit Bench & Bar Professionalism Committee and is listed in the Honors edition of Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals. Copus has been working for the firm of Chesser & Barr, P.A. since May 2007, directly across the hall from her husband, who is an associate at the same firm. Her areas of concentration include real estate, business law and civil litigation.

In law school at Loyola University New Orleans, Copus was more interested in criminal law, working on gritty cases involving the New Orleans poor. She was recruited by the public defender’s office in Shalimar after graduation, eventually working her way into business law.

Asked if she feels as though her profession is male-dominated, she says “yes” immediately. “It’s changing every year; more women are coming into the profession, but it is a boys’ club, especially in this area.” While she may not be a member of the boys’ club, Copus is the vice president of the Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association and the chair of the Florida Bar First Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “B”. And watch out, boys: when asked if she has any specific career goals, Copus promptly replied, “I’d love to become a judge.”