Attorney Profile

Jo Bess Jackson

Dallas, Texas
phone (214) 219-2285

Jo Bess Jackson with pet dog. THE BEGINNINGS. Jo Bess’s education began in her hometown of Sonora, Texas, where she won honors in music and was the high school class valedictorian. Her first job was as a reporter for the local weekly newspaper. She began her college life as a music major at UNT Denton, and graduated with Highest Honors (B.A. English) from Southeastern State University.

TEACHER.  Returning to her first love, Jo Bess began teaching music and entered the graduate program at SMU School of Music in 1973. In 1975, she was awarded a Masters of Music degree, with Highest Honors.

MUSICIAN. Jo Bess pursued a career as a musician, performing with the Dallas Civic Orchestra, the Ft. Worth Symphony and other area ensembles. She was a member of the adjunct faculty of the TCU School of Music..

SOLOIST. Before attending law school, Jackson founded and performed with the Windrose Ensemble, a chamber music group in Indiana. While there, she was Principal Clarinetist with the Fort Wayne Symphony Orchestra and appeared as a frequent soloist in the area.

LAW SCHOOL HONORS. In 1982, Jo Bess returned home to Texas, where she received her J.D. degree with high honors (cum laude) in 1985 from the Southern Methodist University School of Law. Jackson’s law school honors and activities include the following:

  • The Order of the Coif
  • Southwestern Law Journal
  • Outstanding Advocate, Team Winner: Moot Court Competition
  • Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Team
  • Eldridge, Goggans & Weiss Award for Excellence
  • American Counsel Association Scholarship Award
  • American Jurisprudence Awards: Torts, Legal Writing
  • Criminal Justice Clinic

LEGAL CAREER.  Following her law school graduation, Jackson was an attorney in Civil Litigation with the Dallas offices of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. In 1990, Jackson opened her own firm, Law Offices of Jo Bess Jackson, P.C. Today her practice is limited to Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration. She is a frequent presenter on Estate Planning issues.


  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Probate and Estate Planning Section (DBA)
  • Dallas Estate Planning Council
  • Dallas Bar Association and North Texas Legal Services
    • Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award – 1988
    • Pro Bono Service Award – 1987
  • Admitted and qualified to practice as an Attorney in the District Court, United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, January 1986

Jo Bess volunteers her services with Legal Hospice of Texas. She also gives time to numerous charitable causes and business organizations in her community.

PERSONAL. Jo Bess has two children: USAF MSgt. Joseph, Music Director and lead jazz trombonist, USAF Airmen of Note; and Elizabeth, a full-time mother and active church volunteer. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren: a 12-year-old master of Flash technology, a 10-year-old who loves horses, a four-year-old who can recite the Pledge of Allegiance with flair; and a two-year-old with unlimited promise and a smile as big as Texas. Hobbies: yoga, genealogy, duplicate bridge, and time with her newest family member, Beni-Jun, a white Labrador Retriever.

Areas of Practice:
25% Estate Planning
50% Probate & Estate Administration Trusts
25% Wills

Bar Admissions:
Texas, 1985

Southern Methodist University School of Law, Dallas, Texas, 1985
Honors: Cum Laude
Honors: Order of the Coif
Honors: Outstanding Advocate, Team Winner: Moot Court Competition
Honors: Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Team
Honors: American Counsel Association Scholarship Award
Honors: Eldridge, Goggans & Weiss Award for Excellence
Honors: American Jurisprudence Awards: Torts, Legal Writing
Honors: Criminal Justice Clinic
Law Journal: Southwestern Law Journal

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 1975
Honors: With Highest Honors

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, Oklahoma, 1965
Honors: With Highest Honors

Honors and Awards:
Dallas Bar Association and North Texas Legal Services: Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award, 1988

Dallas Bar Association and North Texas Legal Services: Pro Bono Service Award, 1987

Professional Associations and Memberships:
State Bar of Texas Member Dallas Bar Association Member Dallas Estate Planning Council Member

Pro Bono Activities:
Volunteer, Dallas Legal Hospice