Born in Biržai, he studied law at the University of St. Petersburg, graduating in 1914. After he returned to Lithuania, he worked in Vilnius for various political causes centering around independence, and taught at the Vilnius Gymnasium, as well as editing Lietuvos žinios (Lithuanian News). He helped organize the Vilnius Conference, and was elected to the Council of Lithuania, signing the Act in 1918.
After independence Šernas served in the organizations working to establish democratic institutions in the new state, including the Ministry of the Interior. He founded and edited the journal Savivaldybės (Self Government), and was appointed director of the Commerce and Industry Bank.
- " Šernas, Jokūbas". Encyclopedia Lituanica V: 123. (1970-1978). Ed. Simas Sužiedėlis. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. LCC 74-114275.
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