Jasdeep Pannu started out as an intern at the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office. He eventually worked at the Law Office of Stephen Mackenzie before beginning his own law firm in 2007.
Mr. Pannu has practiced law as a solo practitioner focusing on civil, criminal and family litigation and is admitted to practice in all Vermont State courts, the United States District Court for the District of Vermont and all New York State courts.He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina in 1992 and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1995. After finishing law school Mr. Pannu traveled extensively throughout the United States and Asia until settling down in Vermont with his beautiful wife and daughter. He has experience in over 50 jury trials, both civil and criminal, and has argued numerous cases in front of the Vermont Supreme Court and speaks Korean
I was born in India. My parents and I immigrated to Florida when I was about seven. I attended middle school and high school in Florida. Eventually I went to the University of South Carolina for my undergrad. I had a great undergrad experience there, but with the topic at hand I found there to be a real sense of racism in South Carolina. You can feel the tension sometimes when you go to certain places. Luckily there were only a few isolated incidents, but it’s a very different feeling than living in Vermont.
I also spent one semester in Miami and one semester in Kentucky. I ended up in Texas for Law School where I attended Thurgood Marshall School. Similar to South Carolina, there were isolated incidents of racism I experienced in Texas.
After law school I went to L.A. in hopes of becoming an actor. During my time there I found myself getting pulled over by the police, as they were probably mistaking me as Mexican. This was the most blatant form of racism I found in L.A.
After L.A, I went to South Korea where I met my wife. I flew back and forth to Vermont and New York from Korea to sit for the BAR exams in both states, while still working full time. The plan was that I would come to Vermont to do an internship and go to New York to work. There is something about Vermont that makes it hard to leave, it just sucks you in. I was interning and working part time when I got a contract and decided to stay long term. I am now in Essex with my wife, raising our beautiful daughter.
There is just a totally different feeling here [in Vermont], in comparison to any other places I have been. I have been here for eight years and I think Vermont is the best place to raise a family. There is such an emphasis put on family, and I really like that about the area. My wife and I had a bit of a hard time coming from South Korea; it was a big culture shock for the both of us. I ended up coming back to the states along and my wife joined me a year later. She had a hard time adjusting, but living in Vermont made it easier and she really enjoys living here now. She always says how great it is for raising a family.
Vermont’s stereotype of having all white people is not a stereotype. It is mostly white people. It’s just a fact. But, living here has always been a positive experience for me.
I also experience the white superiority complex much less in Vermont than in many other cities I have lived in. It used to happen in a lot of different cities. It happened all the time when I was younger in Florida as a child and throughout high school. It would happen at bars, in class, or even out shopping. But, like I said it rarely happens to me here. I have been here for eight years, much longer than some of the other cities I have lived in. Fortunately, the only thing bad about Vermont is that it’s so expensive.
My dad was first generation here in the U.S., so obviously he had a harder time than someone like me. He immigrated to the States from India, later in life. Unfortunately, he has had some issues in the past because he is a very traditional Sikh and wears a turban. I think anytime there is terrorist news or big terrorist activity my dad has had some isolated experiences during his time in Florida. He has been in Florida now for 40 years so he has gotten to know a lot of people. I’ve lived in these big cities and I just prefer Vermont to spend time with my family. I don’t worry about my daughter being excluded because of her race. I obviously hope that my daughter doesn’t face race issues, but that’s not a thing I stress out about here in Vermont. I don’t worry about her ever being excluded for the reason of race. It’s just a totally different feeling living here in Vermont.