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Philadelphia

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Insider Profiles

Country Girl Finds Her Flight — and Her Fight — in Philly

Jessica Richman"It's a nice little place to live and recharge."


Growing up on a horse farm in upstate New York, Jessica Richman loved her life. But the call of bigger dreams led her to the city. And when it was time to put down new roots, she chose Philadelphia.

In 2004, a few years after getting her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Richman decided to buy a house. One location in particular beckoned: Fairmount.

"The area in Fairmount was still developing, so I could get a lot more bang for my buck out here," she says. "It's close to the park, it's easy for me to go for a run and to have access to grass and trees like I need.

"It's also very rich in art and getting to be rich in places to eat. A lot of artist studios are right next to the Philadelphia Art Museum, and we have the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum. It's a nice little place to live and recharge."

The location is also just a few miles from her job as an associate at Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads LLP, where she specializes in product liability. And it's near the boxing and mixed martial arts studio she co-owns, Brazen Boxing & MMA.

Yep, the country-girl-turned-big-city-lawyer operates a boxing studio. And why not? She's an amateur competitive boxer herself, having first become interested in the sport during law school when a friend suggested she give it a try.

"People think of it as a very brutal sport, but it's got the term 'the sweet science' for a reason," she says. "It's like a physical version of a chess game. You're looking for openings in a defense to execute your offense and it's about how you defend yourself and how you put things together that makes you a better fighter."

Those same skills have also helped in her law career: Super Lawyers magazine named her as a "Rising Star" for three consecutive years.

She gives back, too. Through her studio, she organized an event where participants climbed 53 flights of stairs at the Mellon Bank building to raise money for the Special Olympics. She also led a benefit for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, as well as a program that brought awareness to people suffering with autism.

"We feel strongly we want to make a difference in our community and support those who are struggling to make their lives better," Richman says.

When not boxing or teaching studio classes, she has a few favorite spots she likes to visit. At Los Catrines Tequilas, both the authentic Mexican food and margaritas are knockouts, she says. When indulging after a fight, she likes PYT Philly in Northern Liberties for fun burgers, like sliders on Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and adult shakes made with ice cream and spirits. At Mugshots Coffeehouse & Cafe, she enjoys "fantastic protein smoothies and really great baked goods."

"The country will always have a special part in my heart, but in terms of cities, there is not a place as special to me as Philly," says Richman.

Check out Jessica's Philadelphia.