In 2024, it is sometimes fascinating to believe Black people are still becoming the first in specific fields. While this speaks to a significant systemic issue that has and continues to hinder the progress of BIPOC individuals, it does not take away from the impactful work they are doing in and outside of their industry. 

Chief Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is an example of that. But, the gravitas of her story does not begin with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and later moved with her family to Florida to support her father’s law school endeavors. While in the coastal state, Forbes reports, Jackson thrived in school while her parents also made strides in their careers.

Her mom rose to become a principal at a premiere magnet school, and her father became the county school board’s attorney. This model, along with her debate and speech club experience, would be the greatest contributor to Jackson’s success and future. Post high school, Jackson was accepted into Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1992.

Before enrolling in Harvard Law School, Jackson spent a short time as a reporter for Time magazine. She then began a robust legal career after graduating from the prestigious law school in 1996.

As a self-proclaimed legal vagabond, Jackson has navigated the legal sector in different ways. She clerked for two judges right out of law school, including her Supreme Court predecessor Justice Stephen Breyer, and steered from job to job between Boston, MA, and Washington, elevating her income potential with each move.

While the 53-year-old is far more settled in her career today, it is a lesson she uses to encourage those seeking a similar path.

“My professional story is truly Exhibit A of how quickly things can change and how adaptation is one of the keys to success, which you will all soon discover as graduates of this fine institution,” Brown told a group of law school graduates at Boston University in 2023. “Being a lawyer can be one of the most brilliant jobs, but take it from me: Change in the legal profession can also be a lot.”

Her diligence and preparation led Jackson to the historic moment in 2022 when she was appointed 116th Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Forbes estimates that Jackson’s hard work has earned her a net worth of $2 million. Although her legal career is a significant part of that fortune, she’s made other moves to increase her wealth as well.

Jackson’s Legal Career

According to Forbes, after navigating several jobs, Jackson landed a counsel position at an appellate firm in 2009. Because she opted out of the partner track to have better control over her schedule as a mother and wife, she raked in a more modest salary of $184,500.

Jackson has stayed within government roles ever since, and she has seen an increase in her net worth over time. In 2012, she was selected for a lifetime judge appointment in the D.C. district court. On the required paperwork, she reported a net worth of just under $700,000.

This overall number includes the salary earnings, investments, and retirement savings she and her husband, Patrick Jackson, have made over several years. Once her new role was confirmed, her updated working salary was $174,000 — a reduction from her previous position.

Through gradual increases, Jackson’s salary went up to $218,600 in 2021.

Real Estate Investments

Jackson and her husband purchased a Maryland home in 2002 for $650,000. They would sell that home in 2007 for $875,000 to upsize to a $1.2 million home, supporting their growing family.

The couple would move again in 2013, purchasing their current home in D.C. for just less than $1.9 million. While the house is still under a mortgage, a recent appraisal estimated the home’s value at $2.4 million.

In addition to Jackson’s primary residence in the DMV area — the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia — she has a 20% stake in a West Virginia vacation home worth $400,000.

Upcoming Net Worth Increases

Forbes reported Jackson entered her tenure as a Circuit judge with a net worth of $1.7 million. Within a year of her time on the bench, when she was nominated to the Supreme Court, that number had increased to $1.8 million. Considering her investments and real estate moves since, Forbes estimated her current net worth to be $2 million.

However, People reports that number may be about to increase. Jackson’s memoir, “Lovely One,” is set to be published in September 2024.

“Mine has been an unlikely journey,” Jackson said in a statement, per the outlet. “But the path was paved by courageous women and men in whose footsteps I placed my own, road warriors like my own parents, and also luminaries in the law, whose brilliance and fortitude lit my way. This memoir marries the public record of my life with what is less known.”

Like many high-profile politicians before her, the memoir will likely be a best-seller, adding to her net worth and increasing her earning potential over time.