SEO Alumni Spotlight Jaimie McFarlin

Jaimie McFarlin, SEO Law Class of 2012, is not your average lawyer.

Originally from a small town in the Hudson Valley of  New York, her grandfather, who had a first-grade education, as a child worked on a dairy farm and lived in a barn with the animals. Two generations later, Jaimie is a litigator for the President of the United States.

Jaimie attended Washington University in St. Louis where she completed both her Bachelor of Arts and MBA. Not only did she complete rigorous study during her tenure, she was also captain of the women’s basketball team, leading her team to a national championship in 2010. Her time as a student athlete, coupled with the values instilled as a Washington University student, taught her valuable skills, including aspiring for excellence, working hard, and perhaps most important, leadership.

Five years and two degrees later, Jaimie had the qualifications to begin many different careers. But her love of basketball and a thirst for adventure called her name, and in the summer of 2011, she packed her bags and flew to Copenhagen to play professional basketball. While living abroad was a challenge due to the language barrier and vast cultural differences, Jaimie’s experience living and working in Copenhagen was an incredible one. However, after one season and an acceptance to Harvard Law School, Jaimie chose to return stateside to continue her academic journey.

An SEO Law Fellowship alum, Jaimie graduated with her law degree from Harvard University and pursued a career focusing on white collar crimes. In early 2020, Jaimie took a break from the law when she decided to apply the skills she learned in business school to start a fashion technology company. The startup, For by Four, founded by four women of color, allowed Jaimie to tap into her creative side while simultaneously addressing an industry-wide problem: the sizing disparity in the women’s apparel industry.

It’s undeniable that Jaimie’s varied professional and educational accomplishments are impressive, spanning several different industries and skillsets. However, one element that remains consistent throughout the years is her desire to help others through service.

Jaimie’s experiences as a student athlete of color, inspired her to start a non-profit AdmitLink in 2013 alongside her brother. They recognized that there was an inconsistency in the colleges of which students of color were applying. Many did not have the knowledge or support to know that they could aim for top tier colleges or be selected for academic or athletic scholarships. That’s where their organization comes into play. AdmitLink is a college and graduate school admissions consulting firm advising students and training other non-profits regarding the application process, in addition to assisting high school athletes seeking to earn NCAA scholarships.

While Jaimie is no longer an active contributor at AdmitLink, she carried that civic-minded attitude with her to the White House when she decided to volunteer her skills with the Biden Administration to advocate for positive political change. A few months later, Jaimie received a full-time offer to work for President Biden’s team of changemakers.

For Jaimie, the opportunity to work for the Biden Administration has been an experience like no other. She currently works on the most diverse team since her career began for an administration that truly values diversity. The culmination of her own experiences coupled with the unique perspectives of her colleagues contributes to the success of the team. Jaimie has always understood the value of diverse educational and professional experiences — every step along the way, she’s added another tool to her toolbox, whether intentional or by happenstance, which has led her to excel in her current position as Deputy Associate Counsel to President Biden.

Although Jaimie is responsible for her own success, she still values the advice and support she’s received from mentors throughout the years. One piece of advice from her SEO days that still resonates with her is the power and importance of nurturing both personal and professional relationships. Her introduction to some of the best law firms in the world also taught her how to set quality expectations and having the personal drive to achieve them, regardless of whether they seem attainable in the moment.

A mentor during her time as a SEO Law Fellow gave Jaimie profound advice: Always compete with yourself. At the end of the day, you’re on your own journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. You must be happy with yourself and your accomplishments while always be striving for more. It’s that attitude that gets you to the White House.