Paula Juels Jones (1972–)
Paula Juels Jones is arguably the finest women’s tennis player that the state of Arkansas has ever produced. She has also served as a civic leader and lawyer focused on public service.
Paula Juels was born on April 23, 1972, to Woody Juels and Laura Juels. Her father introduced her to the game when she was eight, and she had earned a high ranking within the state by the time she was ten. She competed in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) 18s tourney as a fourteen-year-old in 1986, and in addition to winning USTA state championships in 1986, 1987, and 1988, Juels was the Southern 18s champion in 1990. She was a member of the Arkansas Junior Wightman Cup team from 1985 to 1989, and in 1988, she was the recipient of the state’s highest tennis honor, the Raymond Rebsamen Award. Juels was ranked number one in Arkansas in every age group from the time she was fourteen until she was eighteen.
Entering North Little Rock High School in 1986, she began to compile a noteworthy high school career. Over four years, she crafted a record of 61–0 in singles matches, a performance that remained a United States record in 2023, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. The record streak began in the spring of 1987 and culminated in 1990 when she won her fourth straight Conference, State AAAA, and State Overall singles titles. In addition, she led North Little Rock High to State AAAA team championships from 1988 to 1990. She was a four-time Prince High School All-American and a four-time Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette Tennis Player of the year, and in 1990 she was selected by both papers as the Arkansas Female Athlete of the Year.
Following her high school graduation in 1990, she attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on a tennis scholarship. For four years, she was a constant in the Lady Vols line-up playing both singles and doubles, and she lettered each year. As a senior, she played number one singles and doubles and was the recipient of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award. Her ninety-one career singles wins ranked fifth all time for the Lady Vols. She received her BS in 1995 with a major in sports management.
After completing her playing career at Tennessee, she spent the summer playing in the Women’s Pro Satellite tour, achieving success in both singles and doubles. Juels then returned home to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where she continued her education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock while also serving as assistant women’s tennis coach. She first earned an MBA with an emphasis in finance in 1997, and she received her JD in 2000. She married lawyer Will Jones; he was elected prosecuting attorney for the Sixth Judicial District in 2022.
After completing law school, Paula Juels Jones went to work for the Arkansas Securities Commission, where she investigated and prosecuted securities-related white-collar crime. In 2001, she joined the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a deputy prosecuting attorney, a post she held until 2007. In that capacity, she was involved in more than fifty jury trials dealing with drugs, sex-related offenses, murders, and general crimes. In 2007, she joined the North Little Rock Attorney’s Office as an assistant city attorney. From 2009 to 2013, she served as deputy prosecuting attorney in the Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Too, she played a central role in the creation of North Little Rock’s Teen Court and became actively involved with the program at both the state and national levels.
From 2010 to 2012, Jones was an instructor in the Lawyering Skills Workshop at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, teaching trial advocacy skills to law students. In 2011, she was selected by the state bar association for the state’s Leadership Academy, and from 2014 to 2016, she served on the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence.
Jones has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Argenta Community Theatre, the Central Arkansas Boys and Girls Club, and the North Little Rock Boys and Girls Clubs Foundation. She also served as chairman of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in 2020.
In 2016, Jones was elected a judge. Running unopposed in the general election for the North Little Rock Department Division 1 seat on the Thirty-first State Judicial District Court, she succeeded Jim Hamilton, who retired after twenty-two years on the bench. Jones was reelected in 2020.
Jones continued to play tennis while pursuing her legal career, playing in USTA League Tennis and winning three national championships. In 2006, she began competing in national senior women’s age group tournaments and was that year’s USTA Public Parks National Champion for Women’s 30. In 2008, she won the National 30s Mixed Doubles Championships, earning the coveted gold ball that national tennis champions receive from the USTA. At the 2012 International Tennis Federation World Individual Championships, she finished in the top eight for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. In 2005, she appeared in the Tennis Channel reality show Bragging Rights.
In 2008, she founded Ace for the Cure, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization benefitting the Arkansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Ace for the Cure, a yearly women’s doubles tennis tournament in which all profits benefit breast cancer research, has donated more than $50,000 to Komen Arkansas.
Jones was inducted into both the Arkansas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. Jones’s contributions to the community have also been recognized, most prominently in 2017 when she was the recipient of the Pulaski County Youth Services Visionary Award.
Jones and her husband live in North Little Rock with their two children.
For additional information:
Brantley, Max. “Paula Juels Jones Announces for North Little Rock Judgeship.” Arkansas Times, May 27, 2015. https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2015/05/27/paula-juels-jones-announces-for-north-little-rock-judgeship (accessed January 25, 2023).
“NLR Lawyer to Run for District Bench.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 28, 2015. https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2015/may/28/nlr-lawyer-to-run-for-district-bench-20/ (accessed January 25, 2023).
Perkins, Pete. “Laying Down Law on Court, in Court.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 29, 2016, pp. 1C, 5B. Online at https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/feb/29/laying-down-law-court-court/ (accessed January 25, 2023).
William H. Pruden III
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