Jennifer Kenedy is the managing partner of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell’s Chicago Office and co-chair of the firm’s Board of Directors. She represents clients as national counsel in trade secret and commercial litigation in front of state and federal courts and arbitration panels around the country. She co-founded her firm’s Women’s Initiative and sits on several Boards.
Why did you become a lawyer?
There is something very unique about our civil justice system. When I was 12 years old I met a trial lawyer and asked him about his job and I was hooked. I was always intrigued about the prospect of standing up in front of 12 people in my community charged with the task of persuading them that justice is ruling in favor of my client’s position. The most fun I have in my job is those times when it is just me, the judge, jury or a witness, and the opportunity to persuade.
What advice do you have for law students?
I know times are tough but be true to yourself and what you want from a career. Sometimes detours happen for a reason so be open to new opportunities you may not have thought of before. I tell this to associates too but make a two-page business plan for your career and execute it. There is no substitute for hard work. Become an excellent lawyer and success will follow.
What is the biggest way that your practice has changed since you first started working in that area?
I am a commercial litigation trial lawyer with half my time spent on the litigation of trade secret cases. My practice has become more like running a business. With the economic downturn clients are expecting to be educated on cost and risk up front so their investment is more certain. Additionally, while my practice was very Chicago-based as an associate, now it is truly nationally focused with most of my cases outside of my hometown.