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Jarrett Adams

Defense lawyer and author of Redeeming Justice

  • About Jarrett Adams

    Jarrett Adams is a prominent criminal and civil rights attorney and author of Redeeming Justice. His motivational story of resilience extends beyond his triumph against a flawed justice system into his success in founding his own multi-city law firm. Adams spent nearly a decade behind bars after being wrongfully convicted. While incarcerated he diligently studied legal textbooks in the prison’s library and learned how the justice system and his own defense attorney failed him. With this knowledge and help from the Wisconsin Innocence Project, he was able to successfully overturn his conviction. His transformative journey from victim to advocate and successful businessman serves as a driving force for positive change.

    Fueled by an unwavering commitment to justice, Adams pursued and earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, simultaneously making impactful contributions as a federal investigator for the Illinois Federal Defender’s Program. Recognizing his dedication, the National Defender Investigator Association honored him with the prestigious Investigator of the Year Award for his pivotal role in securing clemency for Reynolds Wintersmith which was granted by President Obama in 2014.

    Adams continued to hone his legal expertise as a public interest fellow with the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the very court that rectified his wrongful conviction. His legal journey extended to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, followed by a groundbreaking role as the Innocence Project’s first exoneree staff attorney.

    In 2017, Adams founded the Law Offices of Jarrett Adams, PLLC.,passionately practicing law in federal and state courts across the country. With offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York, Adams remains at the forefront of championing justice and challenging systemic injustices.

    Beyond the legal arena, Jarrett Adams co-founded Life After Justice, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to empowering exonerees. The organization is committed to post-exoneration support, advocating against unjust policies, promoting economic justice, and establishing a holistic empowerment ecosystem with a special emphasis on mental health and wellness.

    As a motivational speaker, Adams seamlessly weaves his legal insights with personal triumphs, inspiring audiences to overcome adversity, pursue justice, and unlock their potential for growth. His narrative goes beyond exoneration, serving as a powerful testament to the human spirit and the transformative impact of resilience. Jarrett Adams embodies the pursuit and achievement of justice, making him an engaging and inspirational speaker for diverse audiences.

    Contact us about booking Jarrett Adams for your next event.

  • Speaking Topics

    Redeeming Justice

    Jarrett Adams was convicted at age seventeen of a crime he did not commit and sentenced to twenty-eight years in a maximum-security prison. After serving nearly ten years and filing multiple appeals, he was exonerated with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Adams used the injustice he endured as inspiration to become an attorney and advocate for the underserved. In this uplifting speech Adams shares his life story encouraging audience members to persevere in the face of adversity.

    Fixing a Broken System

    Speaking from experience as a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, experienced investigator, and exoneree Jarrett Adams discusses the need for criminal justice reform and an end to racial injustice in our legal system. In this lecture Adams looks at the racist tactics used to convict young men of color, the unique challenges facing exonerees once released, and the lack of equal representation in our courts, illustrating how upholders of the law have a collective responsibility to push social justice reform forward and how they must be more proactive in the space.

    Keeping Faith

    In this motivational lecture, Adams speaks on how to keep faith during times of hopelessness and despair; touching on the importance of family units and support through prayer.

    Confronting Burnout in the Legal Industry

    Low morale and burnout are major issues for workers across industries, and the legal profession is no exception. In this encouraging talk, Jarrett Adams helps lawyers and legal professionals identify the signs and symptoms of burnout and low motivation. He shares actionable steps for setting personal and professional boundaries clearly and confidently as well as rediscovering inspiration and motivation, while continuing to help clients and customers.

  • Video

  • Praise for Jarrett Adams


    Roosevelt University was honored to have Attorney Jarrett Adams speak at an event on Criminal Justice Reform, which attracted over 200 guests. The authentic energy and passion Attorney Adams brought to the conversation on his work and how to address inequities in the justice system was exceptional. We received a tremendous amount of positive feedback on how Attorney Adam’s boldly shared his story and his fight to help people in the circumstances he faced. Not only did he engage the audience, but he left them inspired and full of hope.

    Roosevelt University

    What a pleasure it was to meet you and hear you speak! You have a powerful story to share, and one that I hope will increase awareness of the problems that need addressing within the criminal justice system. Your passion for change and your commitment to the issue was clear from your thought-provoking and meaningful presentation.

    State Bar of Wisconsin

    Praise for Redeeming Justice

    Nothing less than heroic.

    John Grisham

    Redeeming Justice is a beautifully written vessel of hope and redemption—each page a daring act of justified defiance in the face of a brutish penal system.

    Shaka Senghor, New York Times bestselling author of Writing My Wrongs

    In a moving and beautifully crafted memoir, without hyperbole or rants, Jarrett Adams compellingly demonstrates the institutionalized racism of the American criminal justice system. When you finish, you will be grasped by two emotions: unbounded admiration for the author, and a need to scream, ‘We must do something.’

    Scott Turow, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent
  • Books by Jarrett Adams

  • Media About Jarrett Adams

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  • 212 572-2013

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