BY SUSAN MURPHY (JACKSON COUNTY)
agnes jury, mason county
For the summer newsletter, we meet one of our newest referees, Agnes Jury, who has an international background, being a citizen of Poland and Canada. She is the domestic relations referee in Ludington, located in Mason County.
Agnes was born and raised in Poland until she was 12 years old. (That would be just a few months before the fall of communism in Poland for you history buffs.) Her parents divorced, so her mother brought Agnes and her older brother over to live in Canada. Agnes remained in Canada until she graduated from University earning a degree in Cultural Anthropology. Upon her graduation, Agnes returned to Poland in hopes of resuming a life there.
After struggling to find a career in Poland, she chose to join her mother, now living in the United States, and help her mother build a successful cleaning business in the Chicago suburbs. Shortly after doing so, Agnes met the owner of a landscaping business who was working for a mutual client. They started talking. Before long, talks with John became dates, and dates eventually led to their wedding.
In 2001, Agnes entered the former John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She would take a few years off in between, but completed her degree in 2007. Despite the recession and lack of hiring by Chicago’s law firms, she opened her own office. Her practice was in family and immigration law. John remained in the landscaping industry until 2008, when he started working for Xerox.
In 2015, the family moved to Traverse City, Michigan to be closer to extended family. At that time, Agnes joined the Sterling Law office where she continued her practice in family and immigration law until December 2020. As the new year of 2021 started, Agnes returned to private practice solely focusing on immigration law. She deeply cares about her clients achieving their dreams of living in the U.S. or having family join them in the U.S. In late 2021, Agnes was still having difficulty with her decision to step away from her 14 years of family law experience. She eagerly accepted parttime employment with the Mason County Friend of the Court as its domestic relations referee.
Agnes loves her life. By day, she can do very important work for immigrants and help families with their custodial needs. Again, she wishes her immigration clients knew how much their needs affect her emotionally. Agnes brings that same enthusiasm to the families she works with at the court. She beams when expressing that becoming a referee is a high point in her career.
While Agnes was building her legal career in the Traverse City area, John began his work with an area property management company. She and John have a 14-year-old son, Hayden. They enjoy Hayden’s joy in playing airsoft and Hayden’s commitment to the civil air patrol. Agnes loves being a mother. She recalls receiving advice to enjoy every minute of her pregnancy and with her child because time goes by super-fast. Now, one of her most significant concerns is the future of mankind and the world her son will live in.
The family shares their home with three dogs and two cats. Agnes does most of the dog walking and care of the animals. She laughed, explaining she can’t decide if she likes dogs or cats better because she thinks their animals all have identity issues. Her dogs lay on the top of the couch like cats typically do, while the cats act like they are dogs.
Agnes also enjoys traveling. Agnes and her family have traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe but the most indescribable sight she experienced was the Grand Canyon. Agnes’ favorite U.S. vacation destination is South Dakota where she and her family went camping in Sturgis, South Dakota, and was surprised they were there during the Sturgis motorcycle rally. She shared that the experience was amazing as they were the sole motor vehicle on the road surrounded by motorcycle riders. We compared notes on the conversations she had with those bikers at the rally and my discussions with bikers at West Branch’s annual Days of Thunder. We agreed that being at a motorcycle rally type event enables you to meet the most interesting people from all walks of life.
Agnes brings diverse topics to the conversation. Sharing her preference for audio books these days, she is currently listening to The Secret of Life by Howard Markel. (That’s the book about the race to unravel the complexities of DNA’s structure.) But, like every trial attorney, her favorite movie is 12 Angry Men. Evidence of her diverse interests continued to appear as she responded to those “what if” questions. If given the chance, she would swap a day in her life to be a Sentinelese: a member of the North Sentinel Island of India’s Andaman Islands which experts think is the most isolated tribe in the world. If money and practicality were no object, she’d like to drive around in a classic car like a 1952 Jaguar XK120. And her quest for insight is demonstrated when she shared that she’d love to enjoy dinner with the Christian God, Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), and Allah.
I didn’t tell her about Trivia. That will be a surprise for Agnes when she attends our in-person RAM conference in 2023. But I do think the depth of Agnes’s background and interests could make her a ringer. For now, Agnes, welcome to the ranks of RAM, and we all look forward to meeting you soon.