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Justin Jenkins

Breaking the Ice: New firm focuses on affordable housing disputes

Name: Justin Jenkins

Title: Attorney/Partner, BC Davenport

Education: B.A., political science, St. Mary’s University; MBA, J.D., Texas Tech University

Attorney and partner Justin Jenkins has teamed with managing partner David Davenport to launch BC Davenport, a Minneapolis-based law firm focused on representing developers, nonprofits and others in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) matters.

Jenkins began working on LIHTC cases with Davenport while both were shareholders at Winthrop & Weinstine. They announced formation of the firm, which is affiliated with Byrd Campbell in Orlando, on Jan. 28.

LIHTC, which provides tax incentives that Jenkins said generate billions of dollars of private investment in affordable rental housing, is “the most successful government-sponsored program that exists.”

Jenkins also believes that BC Davenport is “on the right side, doing important work for the affordable housing industry” in challenging financial firms that seek to extract “unintended value” as affordable developments reach the end of a 15-year compliance period when tax credits have vested.

Joining BC Davenport as associates are attorneys Sean Zaroogian and Alex Hagstrom, also formerly of Winthrop & Weinstine, along with support staff.

Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I love to brag about my family. I have an incredibly talented wife, Dustee. She leads communications for Spotify, and two amazing kids. Havanna is my oldest and my son Hutch is 4.

Q: Why did you study law and pursue it as a career?

A: I always wanted to be a trial lawyer. I was an athlete growing up. I played baseball through college at St. Mary’s and I’m just super-competitive. Lawsuits for me gets those competitive juices going. When you add in that you get to make an impact in helping people’s businesses or lives like we get to do, it’s a perfect combination.

Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A: I am rereading one of favorite books “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” by Mark Sullivan.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: Rudeness. I can’t stand people when they’re not kind. I teach it to my kids. It’s the No. 1 rule in our house. Whether it’s personally or professionally, rudeness is a big pet peeve.

Q: What do you like best about your work?

A: Being in the courtroom. This practice is allowing that to happen a lot more. It’s fun. I love trying lawsuits.

Q: What do you least like about it?

A: Every lawyer hates time entry.

Q: What’s do you like to do away from work?

A: First is my family. After that I’m a pretty avid golfer. I’m a member at Minikahda.

Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do there?

A: I grew up in Austin, Texas. We Texans are proud people. I would probably take them to a big lunch at a Tex-Mex restaurant or a barbecue joint and a Texas Longhorns football game.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you most admire? Why?

A: [Winthrop & Weinstine attorney and co-founder] Bob Weinstine. I love his aggressiveness in both strategy and preparation. We always outworked everybody. From the strategy standpoint there’s nobody more aggressive. That’s something that I learned from him. In any setting, whether before a jury or a judge or clients or opposing counsel, he uses humor, he uses metaphors, and he’s a really good storyteller, and he has a way of identifying with people, that people gravitate to him and he’s really magnetic.

Q: What’s a misconception people have about your work as an attorney?

A: That I know anything about criminal law. I don’t think people understand how much time goes into trying a lawsuit. It’s all about the prep. I tell clients all the time the reason that we will be successful is we’re going to be better prepared.

Q: What’s a favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers or the legal profession?

A: “My Cousin Vinny.” It’s right blend of funny and Southern charm, and the fun stuff about trying lawsuits too.

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