jennifer kincaidOur Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.

Jennifer Kincaid is a Partner at Pepping, Balk, Kincaid & Olson Ltd., a general practice firm in Silvis. Jennifer’s focus areas are in estate planning, probate, adoption, guardianships, real estate, corporate, small claims, and evictions.

How has your practice evolved during the last few years?

I had to give up my general litigation practice because I just didn’t have the time for it anymore with the other areas of my practice growing.

We also had a tremendous increase in business because there are fewer attorneys in our area, so setting expectations for clients about response time has been a huge issue.

It’s a fantastic problem to not be able to keep up, and also incredibly scary and overwhelming.

What’s one piece of technology you couldn’t function without?

My VPN at the office. Being able to work from home was and is a blessing.

How do you remain civil in tense situations?

Practice. I try to remember to take a slow breath before I speak and to make sure I am listening to the other person.

I try to smile when I feel myself getting upset. I sometimes say a short prayer in my head for peace, to stay calm, and to give grace even when I don’t feel it’s being given to me (James 1:19-20). I am Irish though, so it doesn’t work all the time.

How can attorneys advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession?

It is every attorney’s duty to ensure that the members of the legal profession and our clients are treated with respect and dignity, and to remember that our differences make us stronger as a profession. A group should not be marginalized for their difference.

What is an attorney’s role in furthering public confidence in the rule of law?

I think this ties into the ABA Law Day 2023 theme: Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration. The reason for the theme in 2023 was that people have a distrust in our institutions, a lack of respect for one another, and a seeming lack of willingness to collaborate to address the issues affecting the nation.

Attorneys need to remember our role in our local, state, and national politics: to be involved, to make our voices heard, and to stand up for the fair application of the law. We need to work within those institutions to effectuate change where needed. We need to be involved in our communities.

If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?

Get involved outside of your office with the bar associations, a board, a non-profit, your church, a young professionals group, etc.

A successful law practice, at least in a rural community, is all about relationships. You need people to call when you have questions, when you need a favor, when you need to refer a client out, when they need someone to refer a client to, or even if you just need someone to vent to who has been through what you are going through.

Personal connections with other attorneys, their staff, the courthouse staff, and judges are absolutely key to survival.

What do you do for fun?

I spend time with my husband and my dog—a Westie named Paisley—and friends. We like to try new restaurants and breweries and travel to places we have never been.

Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys here.

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