Partner, Sykora & Santini
When Jennifer Santini graduated from law school in 2009 and moved to the Twin Cities, it wasn’t a great time to look for a job. At the depths of the Great Recession, law firms certainly weren’t doing much hiring and many were even laying off attorneys. Joining forces with another new lawyer, Jayne Sykora, the pair boldly took control of their own destinies and started Sykora & Santini in Minneapolis.
Not only were both attorneys fresh out of law school, neither went to law school in Minnesota and Santini also was new to the area. To her advantage, though, was her strong experience at Boston’s Putnam Investments in marketing, financial planning, securities regulations, and legal issues. She calls on that experience at Sykora & Santini, where the partners built a strong book of business in estate planning, estate administration, and business law.
With her financial planning background, Santini started volunteering at Wills for Heroes, a nonprofit that helps first responders draft wills. She realized how much she enjoyed helping people through the estate planning process, including having those tough conversations about wills, guardianship for dependents, and health care directives. “I really like working with people, and it’s a nice practice area,” says Santini. “It’s tangible to say I know the service I’ve provided for them.”
Santini also volunteers for the Minnesota State Bar Association new lawyers section, currently serving as treasurer and on track to serve as chair in 2014. Ultimately through pro bono and her strong networking skills, Santini has proven her legal and entrepreneurial prowess. It wasn’t necessarily her first choice to start her own practice, but Santini is glad she and Sykora did.
“I realize this isn’t a normal path for a lot of people, but the more I do it the more I realize I enjoy being my own boss and being in control of my destiny. In a sense, we are small business owners,” says Santini. “It’s been really rewarding having our own practice. I know every day what I’ve done to aid in the growth of our business. In that sense, there is extra pride in your work.”