Vindication: Attorney goes to bat for terminated workers

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Attorney Jennifer Lord's dream in high school and college was to become a U.S. Senator a dream that took her, as a freshly minted University of Michigan grad, to a job as a legislative assistant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the nation's capital.

The work of drafting legislation and working with a wide variety of interest groups gave her valuable insight in the interpretation of federal and state law and the ability to work proactively in the midst of conflict.

"I was star-struck at first, walking down the halls with people I saw on the nightly news, riding in an elevator with Edward Kennedy and chatting with Wonder Woman Lynda Carter at a party," she says. "Unfortunately, I felt like a lot of time was spent asking donors for money, not 'making a difference.' So I shifted gears and thought that maybe I could make a difference as a lawyer."

Moving home to the Detroit area, Lord attended Wayne State University School of Law, where she earned her J.D. cum laude. In law school, she was elected to a Moot Court National Team that won the regional finals, and was named best oral advocate.

"I loved moot court. That's where I learned that even though I had a fear of public speaking, I was actually pretty good at it," she says.

Law turned out to be an excellent choice for Lord, who has been recognized by her peers as a Michigan Super Lawyer, and who has achieved the highest ranking possible, AV, from Martindale-Hubbell's peer review.

She launched her career 18 years ago as an associate at Pitt McGehee Palmers & Rivers in Royal Oak; and worked for a firm in Bloomfield Hills before returning to Pitt Law in January as a partner.

"When I first came to the firm as an associate I was truly learning the ropes," she says. "Mike, Cary and Peggy all made me feel welcome and went out of their way to help me succeed. Now I'm back and everybody has been welcoming and helpful again. It was kind of like coming home, except the family has gotten bigger."

Devoting her career to vindicating the rights of employees, Lord specializes in race, sex, gender, disability, age, whistleblower, breach of contract, class actions, and Family and Medical Leave Act claims. She also has extensive experience in severance negotiations, including C level negotiations. She has fully litigated claims in federal court, state court, and arbitration and has successfully argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Michigan Employment Lawyers Association, Michigan Association for Justice, State Bar of Michigan, State of Michigan Labor and Employment Law Section, and the Oakland County Bar Association, Lord has been drawn to civil rights issues for as long as she can remember.

"Employment law is a perfect niche to advance and protect those rights on an individual basis," she notes. "It's such an honor to work with clients over months and years, and to watch them move from what is one of the more traumatic events of their lives losing a cherished job - to feeling empowered and taking an active role in fighting an injustice."

Since employment cases generally go on for a long time, Lord enjoys the opportunity to really get to know and appreciate her clients and immerses herself in their professions in order to fully understand what went wrong.

"It's fascinating to get a snap shot of very different and interesting jobs," she says. "I did enjoy learning about how a morning radio station operated when I represented an on-air radio personality."

A Detroit native, Lord now makes her home in West Bloomfield, with her children: Jack, 19, Katie, 17, and Laine,12.

Lord's leisure pastimes include art, film, travel, and exploring restaurants, with her favorite place being The Homestead in Glen Arbor. She recently took a spur of the moment mini-vacation to Nashville.

"The energy and vibe is terrific and the food is out of this world," she says. "I even got to meet the '80s band The Bangles."

Published: Mon, Jul 27, 2015

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