Jessica Lourdes Pearson, J.D. was the managing partner of Pearson Specter Litt. She began to her legal career after being hired by Charles Van Dyke, one of the three name partners at Gordon Schmidt Van Dyke, due to the fact that she was black and female and the firm wished to fulfill a diversity quota. She made her way up the firm's ranks and, after becoming a senior partner, conspired with Daniel Hardman to oust the three partners and restructure the firm as Pearson Hardman, with Hardman taking over the reins as managing partner.
However, when Jessica discovered that Hardman was stealing money from the firm and its clients in order to fund an extramarital affair, Jessica and her associate Harvey Specter blackmailed him into resigning from the firm, with the public story being that Hardman stepped down of his volition to take care of his wife, who had cancer. Jessica then became the firm's new managing partner and Harvey was promoted to junior partner, and the firm flourished.
Five years later, Hardman returns after his wife passes away, and successfully regains his former position as managing partner. With the help of Mike Ross, Hardman is ousted for a second time and Jessica is able to regain her title. With their financial funds being depleted after Hardman allies with the firm's enemies, Jessica merges with Darby International to form Pearson Darby, which becomes Pearson Darby Specter when Jessica promotes Harvey to name partner. Mike, Harvey and Jessica eventually evict Darby, and the firm undergoes a name change once more by becoming Pearson Specter, and again to Pearson Specter Litt when Louis Litt discovers Mike Ross' secret and leverages himself to be name partner. After working with Rachel Zane on a case, Jessica realizes she forgot why she became a lawyer in the first place and steps down, leaving the firm to Harvey and Louis, with the former taking over as managing partner.
When she was 16, her parents had split up, due to her father Alan, who was a surgeon, prioritizing saving the lives of patients over his family. She and her father had a falling out as he disapproved of her decision to become a lawyer than a surgeon; her mother Virginia had given her a car as a gift, which Jessica hated. However, that was the car that she used to get to school. Jessica had received a full scholarship to Vassar, and then went on to Harvard for three years, before becoming to the first black woman to work as a judicial clerk at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. By 2003, Jessica was a senior partner of Gordon Schmidt Van Dyke. Shortly before Harvey joined the firm, Daniel Hardman and Jessica, led a successful coup against the name partners, creating Pearson Hardman. The takeover was supposedly very fast and took the name partners by surprise, as described by Harvey Specter.
In 2008, Jessica notices that someone had been stealing from the firm by looking at the firm's books. She sends Harvey to investigate, promising him partnership if he succeeds. After it was revealed that the thief was Daniel himself, she approached him, asking why was he stealing the firm's money. He said this it was for his wife, who was just diagnosed with cancer. Jessica believed Daniel but not Harvey, who found proof that Daniel was having an affair. Armed with this knowledge, Jessica and Harvey force Daniel out of the firm, and Jessica becomes the leader of the firm.
Louis Litt came to her and told her that Gerald Tate had arrived and wanted to know what was happening to his deal. Jessica told him to go get Harvey, causing Louis to look at her before she turned her eyes from her computer to him as he decided to do what she had ordered. While she and Gerald talked, Harvey walked in. Jessica introduced the two and stated that he was their best closer. Harvey managed to tell Gerald off, even telling him that he had his balls. While Gerald asked Jessica if she was going to let him talk to him like that, Jessica related that Harvey spoke for the firm.
After Gerald departed, Jessica got up and took a paper out of Harvey's pocket, telling him that they had been paid before Gerald signed the deal before walking away after Harvey told her that she was the blue team captain and that she would have to wear a fire hat.
After Daniel Hardman returned to Pearson Hardman with the intention of reclaiming his position as managing partner, Jessica had to fight for her firm. After she discovered the truth about Mike Ross, she chose to let Harvey be the one to fire him. However, when it became clear that Harvey would leave the firm before firing Mike, Jessica chose instead to allow Mike to stay, realizing that she would need the support of both Harvey and Mike if she was to win the fight against Daniel.
Harvey is Jessica's protégé. She saw his potential when he was working in the mailroom at Gordon Schmidt Van Dyke, and spent her own money to put Harvey through Harvard Law School, and later made him a senior partner. He is the only person she trusts and he fuels her ambition to win at Pearson Hardman. Although Harvey's attitude is slightly more affectionate toward Jessica, she maintains a hardcore business demeanor, although it is clear they are somewhat friends. They understand each other and work well together, even reading each other's minds and thinking ahead, which is one of the reasons why Pearson Hardman is such a successful firm.
However, in Season 3, their relationship is somewhat strained as Harvey is bitter towards Jessica regarding the merger. Jessica feels the same way when Harvey tells her the truth of the deal he made with Edward Darby. She eventually goes to Harvey's house to open a bottle of wine Harvey gave to her for "emergencies," as they were in the middle of a murder case. She said she wanted to stop feeling betrayed by him and they started being friends again. Harvey said he was wrong to go after her, and admitted that he did not want to be managing partner even though Jessica admits that Harvey "could be managing partner."
Jessica does not appear especially close to Louis, and it is clear she does not fully trust him. She initially believed Louis was stealing money from the company, given his financial expertise, only to later discover that he had been set up by Daniel Hardman. Louis is angered by Jessica's favoritism of Harvey, and often questions her decision to promote Harvey to senior partner over him. His anger towards Jessica and his hatred of Harvey initially prompted him to side with Daniel when he returns to the firm, until Louis learns the full extent of Daniel's actions.
Initially indifferent towards Mike being a rookie associate, Jessica notices his potential in assisting Harvey. During the mock trial, Mike backs down from hurting Rachel, and Jessica takes this as a sign of weakness, that he will not move in for the kill when he is asked to. She soon finds out that Mike never attended Harvard Law, and has no degree from any colleges. She orders Harvey to fire Mike, but when he refuses, she realizes that she will need both Harvey and Mike to keep her firm and get rid of Daniel Hardman.
Though she never quite forgot the bind Harvey put her under because of Mike, over the course of season 2 she had come to respect, and even rely on Mike's work during tough situations. One such situation is when Mike's quick thinking had saved Jessica and Harvey's jobs and got Hardman kicked out of the firm. During the second season finale, after Mike's betrayal of Harvey, Jessica stops Mike from being fired despite Harvey wanting him gone, a complete opposite of the positions they each held at the beginning of the season.
At the beginning of season 3, after Mike gains leverage over Jessica to not expose him, she compares working with Mike as working with a tiger. Over the course of the season, Jessica continues to rely on Mike's work much more than before. Despite not having the type of relationship they maintain with Harvey, they can be seen bantering. This can be seen when both Jessica and Mike blame Harvey for slowing Jessica down when Mike arrived at the conclusion to collect money from Folsom Foods an hour before Jessica.
During season 4, Jessica is seen to be strongly against bringing back Mike to the firm as she does not want to go back to hiding his secret once more. She however is left with no choice when Louis hires Mike back. Shortly after, Katrina reveals to an unemployed Louis that VersaLife (a client) will most likely be dropped by the firm due to a SEC rule, leading to VersaLife being poached by Louis. Jessica blames this on Mike as she thinks Mike did this to return the favor of Louis hiring him back before he himself got fired. After Mike manages to get VersaLife back by beating the rule, Jessica expresses to him how he always manages to come though just as she sees no reason to have him around.
Since discovering Mike's secret, the trio (Jessica, Harvey, Mike) have handled the firm's worst cases, some of which include Folsom foods' gender discrimination lawsuit, Ava Hessington's murder trial, the dissolution of Pearson Specter and Darby International back when they were merged as Pearson Darby and later as Pearson Darby Specter the SEC's charges of collusion against the firm. This has led to comments such as Daniel Hardman calling them "The Three Stooges". For Jessica to trust Mike, an uneducated first year associate, with such responsibilities over countless other actual Harvard educated associates, many partners and several senior partners show just how much she values his work.