School & Family Magazine Newstand Frisco ISD November 2017 - Page 24

Centennial Graduate Helps Entrepreneurs Navigate Business Law Jessica Vittorio, Class of 2008, is giving back to the community and supporting small business owners. Jessica Vittorio has maintained relationships with her former teachers at Centennial High School, where she helps mentor and coach students interested in law careers. Attorney Jessica Vittorio found her passion as a seventh grader at Frisco ISD’s Wester Middle School, where she was a member of the Mock Trial team. “I knew then that I wanted to be a trial lawyer,” she said and then laughed be- cause her law firm focuses on business law more than criminal or civil litigation. “My parents are small business own- ers,” she said. “I realized they and their friends with businesses sometimes made some silly decisions that ended up being expensive because they didn’t want to pay a lawyer.” She graduated from Centennial High School a year early in 2008, determined to work toward the goal of going to law school and becoming an attorney. While at Centennial, she participated in Debate, Business Professionals of America 24 | FOCUS (BPA) and the Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) program. Her ISM men- tor was attorney Lance Baxter, who now serves the community as the judge of Collin County Court at Law 3. Vittorio stayed on track and fin- ished her undergraduate degree early at Southwestern University. From there, she studied law at Baylor University while working for a mid-sized law firm. After law school, she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked in Congress for a year. “It was good experience, but I didn’t want to live in D.C.,” she said. “I’m not married. I don’t have children. So, I can af- ford to work on building up my own firm.” Vittorio sees her firm as a place to help people who own their own businesses or are aspiring entrepreneurs. In study- ing how to support entrepreneurs from a legal perspective, Vittorio says she has found herself helping really creative peo- ple do really interesting things. Not yet 30, this focused young wom- an is all about serving the community she calls home. Vittorio practices here in North Texas, teaches business law at Collin College and helps organize 1 Million Cups Frisco, a weekly networking opportunity for entrepreneurs. She also serves as a volunteer Mock Trial coach at Centennial, where she shares advice with current high school students. “My grades weren’t that great if you look at my transcript,” she said, noting that studies indicate good grades don’t always lead to success. “I tell them to stay focused and to have a passion.” n