Over my ten years of practice, my focus has evolved from solely medical malpractice defense to litigating a broad scope of tort matters. Today, 90% of my practice focuses on tort defense litigation, primarily in the areas of insurance defense, medical malpractice, products liability, premises liability, auto accidents and municipal civil rights cases. I spend the remaining 10% working on commercial law matters.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
Attorneys now, are much more technologically savvy than we were even a few years ago. And for good reason. With the emergence of social media, tort-defense attorneys would be remiss in ignoring possibly litigation-changing evidence, which sometimes can be found right on a Plaintiff’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other posting that may become popular page. Moreover, the increasing availability of reasonably priced technology allows small and mid-size firms to continue to practice at a very productive and competitive level; which is comparable to that of large firms.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
The advice I would give young attorneys would be to work hard and really learn your craft because you will face challenging opposing counsel, clients and judges. Also, get involved in bar associations. I am involved in numerous bar associations such as: the Illinois State Bar Association, American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Foundation, Cook County Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers’ Association and the Northern Illinois University College of Law Alumni Council. Through these associations I have met great friends and mentors who have helped me develop both personally and professionally. I have received various speaking opportunities and accolades that have helped me to build my reputation in the legal community and become a better lawyer.
What is the one technological device you could not function without daily?
I cannot live without my smartphone. It is always with me. I am always checking my phone (disclaimer-some people find it to be an annoying habit). With the smartphone, I can check my business emails and voicemails and manage my caseload while out of the office. I can even scan documents and send them out with my smartphone. It is great to know that I can be productive even when away from my office.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
When I interact with attorneys who are professional, I take note of the characteristics that I find appealing and effective in representing their clients and I try to emulate that. It helps make me a better lawyer. I also prefer litigating cases where opposing counsel is organized, ethical and professional. Not only do they make better advocates for their client but their professionalism helps move the cases along more smoothly. For example, in one case, the opposing counsel was extremely passionate about his case, but remained polite and professional throughout. This allowed us to move forward and learn the appropriate facts and damages without unnecessary theatrics or “drama.” Most importantly, the case was resolved in a timely manner. The practice of law is a sophisticated and honored endeavor. Lawyers can passionately and intelligently represent their clients without being impolite or unreasonably obstinate.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with my son, Corey. I enjoy taking him on walks through the park and watching him learn to stand. My husband and I really get a kick out of dressing him in his custom-made Chicago Bears game day outfit and cheering on the Bears with him. I also enjoy going to the various museums and spending time with my friends, family and colleagues.
Kenya Jenkins Wright practices tort defense, commercial litigation and employment law at Greene and Letts in Chicago. She received the 2012 and 2013 Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star award and made the 2013 Lawyers of Color Inaugural Hot List (Midwest Region), among other honors. To read her full bio, click here.