Gina Coggin was looking for a “get out of jail free” card when she decided to become a lawyer.
Coggin was home from college and “in trouble with my parents”. So she decided to go downstairs to her father John Coggin’s study, read his law books and just try to get back in good graces.
“I stayed down there forever,” she said. “I was just fascinated.”
The pre-med major went back to the University of Alabama, took a few law-related classes and just got the bug.
She then began going with her father, who was a district judge at the time, to hear cases. Her fate was sealed by two of her father’s actions: his involvement in a domestic case and his work in juvenile court.
“I went with him to hear a domestic case in Scottsboro and it was a particularly difficult case, it involved allegations of Satan worship..it was one of those bizarre cases that come along now and then,” she said. “During that case I realized how important law was relating to the lives of people.”
Then-Judge Coggin’s office also was filled with mementos from kids who had gotten in trouble. Mementos that thanked him for saving their life, talking the time to turn their life around.