Purifoy’s police aspirations evolve into legal career

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

March 14, 2013

Shayla Purifoy majored in urban studies – a mixture of history, political science and sociology – at Rhodes College. Her senior seminar was on community policing.

“It was so much fun, it was so exciting,” she said about her time spent shadowing police officers on the job. “They were helping people and they really were impacting that area, which was the Madison Heights area.”

With this experience, and the mentorship of Mike Kirby, her professor at Rhodes, a goal was realized.

“I decided that I was going to be a cop and no one could tell me any differently,” she said. “I started gun training, I started doing pushups and sit-ups, I was crawling over the wall at the police academy so I could run on their track to be prepared. And then I changed my mind.”

She’d stopped along the way to the police academy just long enough to take the LSAT, she said, “just in case.” It would turn out that law school had a stronger pull than the police academy and she found herself at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She took a social welfare and policy course, and entered into the general civil litigation clinic to work on domestic violence cases.

The clinic is held now at the law school, but was held at Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. at that time … (read more)