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2021 Unsung Legal Heroes: Jennifer L. Copeland

Information Technology: Director of Information Technology, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard

jennifer-copleandJennifer Copeland supervises the IT department staff for one of Missouri’s largest law firms, identifying and implementing its technology goals. That ranges from overseeing cybersecurity measures to managing software licensing to helping Sandberg Phoenix’s leaders make long-range technology decisions.

In 2020, that also meant serving on the firm’s COVID-19 Emergency Core Team, helping make a shift to virtual operations and using the opportunity to further enhance the firm’s technological capabilities.

By necessity, much of Copeland’s work is behind the scenes. “While what she’s done may not always be visible,” her nominator wrote, “her dedication to the firm and her commitment to keep us smoothly functioning and connected, especially during COVID, is apparent.”

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

In 1998, I accepted a position as an application support specialist for a law firm. I quickly adapted to the legal environment and enjoyed providing support to those members. Since that first opportunity, I have never looked back and have enjoyed helping to steer the firms toward the future in technology. The uniqueness of the legal environment is challenging and rewarding. I continuously have the opportunity to implement new technologies and strategies, which is very rewarding.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I have ever received is also the best “life” advice I have ever gotten. “Treat others with kindness and respect.” I believe that being able to do this is the most important “skill” or attribute to have as a leader. I have found that when this advice is followed, projects get completed, innovation is fostered and positive outcomes occur. It is important for everyone to feel they are valued and in turn that helps the firm provide first-class service to our clients.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I have an undergraduate degree in anthropology. I worked as an archaeologist after college and have been a part of excavating several sites in the Midwest region of the country. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this and my passion for technology grew while I created technical drawings of archaeological sites for Department of Natural Resources reports during this time.

Unsung Legal Heroes 2021