Jessica Gooding is the paralegal for the Civil Rights group. Prior to joining McEldrew Purtell, Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in history and English from the University of Pennsylvania. There she was a recipient of the Kathryn W. Davis Fellowship and the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge for her volunteer contributions. She was also a member of Project HOPE, which was awarded the President’s Engagement Prize.
Jessica is an award-winning writer that has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. She interned at a Philadelphia-based newspaper, while simultaneously being mentored by an editor at the Washington Post. Jessica uses her writing as a platform for advocacy. An article written by Jessica and published on Juneteenth in 2020, resulted in the University of Pennsylvania announcing its decision to remove a troubling statue of George Whitefield that had stood on its campus for over 100 years.
Jessica gained prior legal experience at multiple Philadelphia area law firms, specializing in wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, estate planning, child abuse, sexual abuse and disability rights. Jessica is a proponent for criminal justice reform. She has worked with Philadelphia based non-profits, the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office on strategic reentry planning for returning citizens. She also interned at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in the Conviction Integrity Unit, which has exonerated an unprecedented number of innocent individuals in the last few years.
Jessica devotes her time outside of the firm to art, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.