For Jennifer S. Kingston, the practice of law is like figuring out the answer to a puzzle.
The Rolla native, who now lives in St. Louis, said a client comes in with a question, and it’s up to her to help investigate and find a solution.
“I find that to be very motivating, how best to help a client,” she said. “Not just with a particular case, but with their business and helping them to move forward.”
As an undergraduate student, Kingston was drawn to law school by her teammates on her basketball team at Washington University in St. Louis. Her friends went on to law school and shared their experiences.
“It seemed like something I’d be interested in,” she said. “It seemed like a good fit for my personality and skill sets.”
Kingston went on to join them, earning her law degree from the University of Missouri in 1999. Out of law school, she joined Bryan Cave, then took a leave of absence as she clerked for U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey of the Western District of Missouri.
She said Laughrey “was an incredible teacher and mentor and really helped me improve my writing and research skills.”
She worked at Bryan Cave for slightly more than a decade, making partner there. In 2010, she moved to Dowd Bennett, where she is a partner.
Kingston represents defendants in complex commercial litigation, class actions and employment law.
She said she has started focusing on commercial litigation and product liability. In recent years, she’s moved into the area of class actions and employment law, based on the needs of her clients.
“My cases have always been client-driven,” she said. “I’ve built a relationship with a client, and depending on what their needs are, I have changed throughout the years what my focus is.”
Kingston said the work of which she’s most proud involved defending large companies in nationwide discrimination lawsuits in recent years.
“I was very proud of the work we did as a firm to defend them and to really work with the client to make sure they were treating all their employees fairly and to continue on with that,” she said.
Kingston said employment law is “a fascinating area of the law.”
“I think most companies and employees want to do the right thing, are trying to do the right thing,” she said. “The law is changing, it’s just a matter of keeping up and ensuring [clients are current on the law]. It’s really rewarding to try to guide them through these changes and ensure employees are taken care of.”
Outside of law, Kingston is serving as president of the board of directors for Susan G. Komen Missouri. In 2009 and 2010, she served as chair of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in St. Louis.
Kingston said she was inspired to get involved in breast-cancer fundraising and awareness efforts by her late grandmother, who was a breast cancer survivor, and by close friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer at young ages.
“I have a daughter,” she said. “It became very important to me that we continue to raise money to not only find a cure but also to help those who are battling metastatic breast cancer and other diagnoses.”
Another title Kingston holds is that of coach — she coaches children’s basketball.
“I love coaching them and working with kids to try to help them,” she said.