Excellence in the Law: Up & Comer Honoree Profile - Jennifer MikelsMay 14, 2021 – Publications / Mentions
A trial lawyer specializing in professional liability defense and complex commercial matters, particularly those involving business divorces and unfair business practices, Jennifer L. Mikels has tried many cases to verdict in court and private arbitration. She actively participates in bar association and other professional activities, including volunteering for the National Trial Competition. Below is Q&A with Jen, as conducted by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as featured in the Excellence in the Law Awards honoree program book, which highlights Jen's recognition as an "Up & Comer" in the legal industry. Click here to view a PDF of the profile.
Q. What’s the most satisfying case or matter you’ve worked on so far?
A. For the past four years, I have been representing an individual, pro bono, who is currently living as a refugee in the Middle East after fleeing his home country with his wife and young children in the face of severe persecution. In 2018, my work led me overseas to help prepare this client for a high-stakes interview in connection with his pending application for resettlement in the United States. Meeting his family in person for the first time was an experience I will never forget. The matter is still pending.
Q. What is the best piece of professional advice you ever received?
A. When I was a very junior associate, a great mentor of mine said to me, “Don’t try so hard to be a good lawyer.” What he meant was to stop sweating the small stuff and be fearless. Do not be afraid to look for creative solutions and step outside the box because that is what can turn a “good lawyer” into a “great lawyer.”
Q. What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
A. When I was younger, I sang as part of a choir at Carnegie Hall.
Q. How has the pandemic affected your life and career?
A. I never thought I would spend my days trying to be a full-time lawyer and a full-time stay-at-home mom at the same time. While the constant mix between work-life and home-life is challenging, it has also been incredibly rewarding to spend so much time with my 15-month-old son.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started practicing law?
A. The bar is a small, tight-knit community. The relationships you build with opposing counsel are very important, as your “adversary” one day may well be your “ally” the next.
Q. What makes someone a really good lawyer? Are you there yet?
A. Empathy, passion, experience, and the drive to do better. We are all striving to become “really good lawyers.” I like to think I possess the qualities and am on my way.