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Elizabeth Wente, 40

Partner, Spencer Fane, Springfield

wente-elizabethPractice Area: Labor and employment

Law School: Southern Methodist University

From conducting manager training to advising human resources, labor attorney Elizabeth Wente works hard to prevent problems for her clients before they happen.

“Plus, as employers, we often forget to arm our managers with the skill sets that they need to actually manage people,” she said. “For that reason, many of the attendees appreciate the training as well.”

And she loves doing it. Clients have certainly come to appreciate Wente’s counsel as they navigate laws pertaining to harassment, discrimination, family leave, disability protections and wage and hour issues.

In addition to her firm’s diversity committee, she has also been active in the wider community with the Child Advocacy Center and the Junior League of Springfield.

What advice do you have for young lawyers? 

Have professional goals for your career but be flexible. Accept opportunities when they come your way even if they do not line up with your exact goal. I also try to remind young attorneys that when any of us started practicing, we did not really know how to practice. Law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer but actually practicing is a different ball game. The best thing you can do in the first couple of years in your practice is to approach it with a learning mindset. Your colleagues expect you to have questions, so ask them.

What inspired you to get involved in the legal profession?

My grandfather. He was a tax attorney which is what I originally thought I wanted to do. Once I actually started practicing though, I was drawn to the labor and employment area. My practice constantly keeps me on my toes and is very rarely boring.

Up & Coming Awards 2021