The first person to tell Julie Jordan DiPalma she was being inducted into the Auburn Alumni Hall of Distinction was the same person who gave her news that stuck with her decades ago.
Jordan DiPalma, a personal injury lawyer, said she was informed of the honor by William Tenity, who picked her for the title role in the musical "Cinderella" when she was in sixth grade. She originally eyed a chorus role, but her mother, Sue Jordan, convinced her to go out for the lead. Snagging the spot at such a young age was monumental for her confidence at the time, she said.
With obvious excitement in her voice, Jordan DiPalma said hearing about two important achievements from the same person has been special. She will be placed in the hall's ranks by the Auburn Education Foundation in May. Jordan DiPalma, who has operated her own firm, The Law Offices of Jordan DiPalma PLLC, in the Monroe County town of Pittsford for around two years, said she was thrilled by the news.
One aspect of the induction the 1997 Auburn High School graduate is looking forward to is setting up contacts who can help her "be a resource to the foundation and the community." Her plans include getting involved with the foundation, creating a scholarship and mentoring Auburn students.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity to even be in a place to be able to give back to the community, because that's what I believe people should be striving to do," Jordan DiPalma said.
Jordan DiPalma, whose mother was a longtime Latin teacher in the district, praised the instructors she had, saying they encouraged her interest in music. That interest stayed with Jordan DiPalma after graduation, to the point that she almost majored in opera while she was at the University of Rochester from 1997 to 2001. She double majored in political science and health and society, before she opted to go into law.
She went to the Syracuse University College of Law from 2001 to 2004, when she worked for the firm Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP in Rochester until 2010. After that, she was at the firm Faraci Lange Attorneys in Rochester until 2017, when she started her own practice. She recently took over a practice in Palmyra from an attorney who has retired, and she said she has enjoyed operating in two communities.
Her previous experience included both advocating for people who received life-changing injuries and their families, along with defending corporations and other businesses, she said, but ultimately, "my heart is on the plaintiff side, always," she said.
Jordan DiPalma said her goal is use to use the justice system to help clients get compensated and receive closure.
Jordan DiPalma said she hopes upcoming Auburn graduates will "pause and be thankful" for their time there as they pursue their goals, and support Auburn students who come after them. She said she is grateful for the support of her husband, Jeff DiPalma, her children Josh DiPalma, 15, and Grace DiPalma, 7, and her mother.
Marianne Berman, who taught English in the Auburn district for decades, said she nominated Jordan DiPalma for the honor. Berman said her room at the former West Middle School building was right next to Sue Jordan's room, and said she has known Jordan DiPalma since she was in preschool. Berman said she believes Jordan DiPalma does not actively seek out the limelight and always "gives 100 percent" in everything she takes on.
"She does what she does as well as she does because that's who she is," Berman said.