40 Under 40: Juli Pierce, senior deputy Yellowstone County attorney

2012-02-01T00:00:00Z 40 Under 40: Juli Pierce, senior deputy Yellowstone County attorneyBy TOM HOWARD Billings Business The Billings Gazette
February 01, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Juli Pierce says her parents, both teachers, had a big influence on her when she was growing up in Billings.

“They always instilled values of taking care of other people and giving back to the community,” Pierce said.

While completing her degree in sociology and criminal justice at Gonzaga University, Pierce met someone else who influenced her career path: Georgie Ann Weatherby, a criminal justice and sociology professor at the university.

“Dr. Weatherby always believed in me,” Pierce said. “She encouraged me to go to law school before I had even considered that as a career choice. Without her, I would not be where I am today.”

After graduation, Pierce went to work at the Child and Family Services Division of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services because she still wanted to be involved in social work. Working for the state gave Pierce valuable experience for the next stage of her career.

“I thought I could help children who were victims of crimes by going to law school to become a prosecutor,” Pierce said. “I interned both summers during law school at the County Attorney’s Office and then was hired here after law school.

“I began my time at the office by working on the civil cases involving child abuse and neglect. After about a year and a half, I moved to prosecuting criminal cases,” she said. “Thanks to my past and present supervisors, I am fortunate enough to be able to prosecute the cases that continue to be near and dear to my heart. I enjoy working with children and other victims who need assistance.”

What’s the toughest challenge you face in your job?

It is a constant challenge to balance justice for victims in the criminal justice system with the constitutional rights afforded to offenders. Both are important, but many victims feel traumatized, used and re-victimized by the system.

If you could make one positive change for Billings, what would it be?

Families need more access to housing and services in our community. Many children and their parents, especially low-income families and those suffering from chemical dependency problems or domestic violence situations, have little understanding how to find agencies and people that can assist them. Providing access to affordable housing is a positive change we need in our community.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?

Of course, I feel I am doing my job as a prosecutor when an abuser is held accountable for his or her actions. But I also strive to make victims’ experiences in the criminal justice system as positive as possible given the circumstances. If I can restore a sense of safety to a victim and his or her family as well as protect the community in my job, then I am successful.

Which living person do you most admire?

That has to be a tie among my parents and Dr. Georgie Ann Weatherby.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Winning the Charles Z. Smith Public Service Student of the Year in law school (at the University of Washington), which was voted on by my peers.

I’m happiest when...

I’m at a Washington Huskies or MSU Bobcats football game.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Billings Gazette

Activate Full Access RED

Popular Stories

Monthly Features

Engineering firm rides Bakken wave to downtown Billings expansion

Engineering firm rides Bakken wave to downtown Billings expansion

Just two years ago, Anvil Corp. was a sleepy little engineering firm on the Billings West End that focused on design for the oil and gas industry in Yellowstone County.

September 21, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Loading…

New sugar beet harvester has wow factor

New sugar beet harvester has wow factor

HARDIN — On his second lap around his sugar beet field south of the Crow cutoff, Brett Nedens looked up from his harvester’s controls and realized he was again being followed.

September 19, 2014 6:00 am Video Photos

Photos

Loading…

Futurist urges Chamber to be open to learning from young workers

Futurist urges Chamber to be open to learning from young workers

Starting at the bottom and clawing your way to the top of the corporate ladder worked for baby boomers and their parents.

September 18, 2014 4:28 pmLoading…
Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses