Julie was born and raised in Hazen, Arkansas, where she graduated from high school. Following high school, Julie attended Ouachita Baptist University where she obtained a degree in Political Science. She next attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law where she received her Juris Doctor.
Julie was appointed Chief Deputy Attorney General by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in January 2015, and served through her entire eight-year administration. During her tenure at the Attorney General’s Office, she was sworn in as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the purposes of working on Project Safe Neighborhoods. In September of 2022 she traveled to Malawi, Africa, as part of the Attorney General Alliance – Africa Partnership for Justice where she taught on “Handling of Digital Evidence in the Prosecution of Corruption and Organized Crime.”
Prior to being appointed as Chief Deputy, Benafield was president of The Benafield Group. From 2009 through 2013, she was the Director of Regulatory Affairs with UnitedHealthcare. In 2004, she was appointed by Gov. Mike Huckabee to be the Insurance Commissioner for the Arkansas Insurance Department, where she served through 2008. She previously served as Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission and as General Counsel at the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Benafield was the Attorney Supervisor of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit of the Arkansas Insurance Department and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Arkansas 6th District.
Throughout her career, she has served on numerous committees and has been a frequent speaker in Arkansas as well as other states.
Member of Little Rock Police Foundation