Linley Jones, J.D. ’92, is admittedly intense, a quality that has served her well in the courtroom and in front of the camera.
A trial lawyer and guest legal analyst for CNN Headline News, Jones says she and female courtroom colleagues regularly joke about their high testosterone levels since they heard about well-known research by Georgia State psychology professor James Dabbs. Dabbs found that most trial lawyers have high levels of testosterone, a male hormone associated with persistence and aggression.” Fortunately, I haven’t sprouted any hair on my chest yet,” jokes Jones, 34, who comes across as feisty yet feminine in her high heels and short skirts — much closer to Ally McBeal than Matlock.
Jones has thrived on challenge ever since growing up on St. Simon’s Island, Ga., where teachers steered her toward a legal career because of her argumentative nature.
“I have a passion for helping clients who need a good, devoted trial lawyer —when someone’s future really hinges on it,” says Jones, who, with the firm Jones &Bell, handles all kinds of civil litigation, including personal injury and medical malpractice. “I like to fight for the little guy.”
A hunger for new horizons led a teenage Jones, already a year ahead in school, to convince Emory University to allow her skip her senior year of high school. She forewent earning a high-school diploma out of fear she wouldn’t feel challenged in the company of senior slackers. “I can’t stand to be bored,” says Jones.
When a friend referred her to CNN in late 2001, Jones jumped at the chance to take on television duties, though she had no experience. She says she loves the excitement of filming as many as five live segments a week, lending a trial lawyer’s perspective to cases ranging from actress Winona Ryder’s shoplifting charges to Andrea Yates’ drowning of her five children.
Jones says she can’t always be available when CNN wants her because her clients come first. She often works past 7 p.m., losing herself in the stack of legal work on her desk until her growling stomach reminds her to head home. Her husband, singer/songwriter Greg Roth, whom she married in August, is just as busy, frequently touring with his band, Blankety Blank.
“Of course,” she adds, “my clients love it when their lawyer is on CNN.”