Spotlight on Seniors: Julia Cox ’23 Prepares for Law School with Advocacy and Philosophy

By Mirabella Miller ’24

Scripps College student Julia Cox '23 holds up her thesis in front of the Denison Library doors

Think of the last time you saw a female lawyer represented on screen. What was she wearing? How was she portrayed? Was she a villain, a savior, or something else entirely?

For Julia Cox ’23, a dual major in politics and film studies with a minor in philosophy, depictions of female lawyers in film proved to be the perfect thesis topic, allowing her to combine her two majors to investigate a phenomenon that aligned with her academic interests.

For the project, she analyzed various depictions of female lawyers from different historical eras through a lens of costuming and gender performance. “This topic seemed like a great way to address the intersections of my majors in a way that was still engaging and new for me to consider, and I ended up learning more about portrayals of women in media more generally,” she explains.

But for Cox, representations of female lawyers are more than a thesis: They’re a matter of personal significance. She’s always been drawn to the structured nature of law, she says, as well as its emphasis on writing. An internship at the district attorney’s office in Wichita, Kansas last summer confirmed her interest in the field.

“I enjoyed the challenge of reviewing and filing legal documents while also reflecting on the law and its impacts on people,” she says. “I like the idea of being presented with a particular set of rules and interpreting them in a way that benefits the people I’m working with.” After graduation, she will be joining Los Angeles-based trial-focused law firm Hueston Hennigan LLP as a trial fellow, and plans to eventually go to law school.

Politics and film have been intersecting interests for Cox since high school. Her politics classes at Scripps deepened her curiosity by introducing organizational and theoretical approaches to the field, and she was attracted to the discipline of philosophy as preparation for law school.

Armed with a diverse liberal arts education, Cox feels prepared to take on challenges in her future job. “My philosophy coursework in particular has helped me improve my critical thinking skills, and my film coursework has allowed me to develop my analytical approaches to situations, even when they don’t involve art,” she says.

Cox has also built her leadership skills and gained confidence through her involvement in various on-campus organizations. One of her most impactful roles has been leading the Scripps Advocates, a confidential support resource for survivors of sexual assault, for the past two years.

“Scripps Advocates has been a huge part of my college experience and growth as a leader at Scripps. I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to lead such a wonderful and passionate group of students in what I believe is one of the most important student organizations on campus,” she says. The role has taught her how to set attainable goals and delegate work in order to turn organizational vision into concrete change, a skill she says she’s excited to bring to her role as a trial fellow.

“I don’t think I would have developed into the self-assured and confident person I am today if I had gone to a bigger school or one without a liberal arts focus,” she says. “I’ve been very thankful for my time at Scripps, and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned during my time here into my future.”