BY MYRA BEAN
She could be called the voice of the people.
Mona Pittman describes herself as “a lawyer, sure, but first I’m a mom. I’m a wife, and I’m a daughter.”
She has no problem taking the proverbial bull by the horns for the causes she believes in and holding out for the victory.
Pittman is a Mississippi State graduate and a 1989 graduate of Cumberland Law School at Samford University in Birmingham.
She met her husband, Adam, on the first day of law school. They married their last year in law school in 1992. From there they moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., where she represented the defense in personal injury cases. In Mississippi, she represents the plaintiff in personal injury cases.
They moved back to Batesville in 1994 to help take care of her sister, who was suffering from a rare strain of diabetes, and who later died in 1995.
They work in the law firm with her mom, Helen Kelly, but does not know if she is a partner or not. “Since it is a family affair, it’s nice that we all work together,” Pittman said.
The Pittmans have three children: Emma, 6, a student at Batesville Elementary; Anne Elizabeth, 2, “who is just like her mother – bad”; and Cady, 5-months-old.
In her work, Pittman said she mostly deals with cases involving juries. She has not had any cases to go on appeal in Mississippi, but she did argue a few in Florida.
In personal injury, Pittman sees mostly injured people. “That’s hard to deal with,” she said. “We have a lot of difficult situations we have to deal with diplomatically because it is no fun when someone has his foot cut off or is killed in an accident. That’s what I enjoy doing for some reason.”
She also has to take some insurance companies to task in order to get her clients the damage relief to which they are entitled.
Another aspect of Pittman’s life is approaching the legislature on areas of interest to her personally, as a citizen, and areas in relation to her clients.
Pittman does defend her profession on the charges of the country being “sue happy.”
“We try to educate people,” she said. “You can take two sides of a story and make both of them sound like roses. There are some problems with litigation. I don’t think there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits. I don’t think people are just going out there suing people for no good reason.”
Pittman is also involved with the local Boys and Girls Club, and serves on the board of directors.
Pittman accompanied her mom to a Rotary Club meeting the week Boys and Girls Club executive director Dennis Hoskins was speaking. “That was just a heartstring thing,” Pittman said. “Sometimes you just feel pulled. I completely believe it was divine intervention telling me this is something to do. I have been wanting to get involved and help children in our area.”
Pittman reiterates what a great organization she thinks the Boys and Girls Club is. “I would love to see us with a two-story building, swimming pool and a tennis court,” Pittman added. “One of my biggest pet peeves is that people say it is for black people. It is located where it is because Mt. Zion said we could have the building for free. No one else came up and said that.
“Thank God for them,” Pittman continued. “Thank God for us having that place over there. Maybe it will get to another area and people will feel more comfortable about it. But it’s working. I want my kids to go. When my kids get school age, I want them to be able to go after school and in the summertime.”
Pittman believes it is the greatest place for children to be. “I just want people to wake up and smell the coffee,” Pittman said.
As a board member in the beginning, Pittman said everybody did everything. It is a non-profit organization. Pittman did the paperwork to get the Boys and Girls Club set up legally correct, so it can receive donations tax free.
As a woman lawyer, as in other fields, Pittman has had to confront some inappropriate behavior and discrimination of some form from male counterparts. She said she took care of those situations as diplomatically as possible and advises others in her situation to do the same.
At last count, there were over 47 percent of women enrolled in law schools across the nation. In Mississippi, that number is around 30 percent.