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“Disabled” is not a dirty word, but there is still a lot of stigma attached to it.

A Conversation On Leadership & Life In The Law With Attorney Kendall Lovell

Kendall Lovell is an associate in our Las Vegas office who works in our Business Litigation practice group. Her practice is concentrated in commercial litigation and intellectual property. We recently had the pleasure of talking with Kendall about lessons learned and her life in the legal profession.

In October, Fennemore proudly honors National Disability Employment Awareness Month. So, in honor of this special occasion, in this week’s leadership profile, we turn the spotlight on attorney Kendall Lovell to help raise awareness for the contributions of workers with disabilities.

What does this month mean for you, especially in regard to disability employment issues, as well as disability rights and equity and inclusion issues?

In 2021, only about 1% of attorneys reported being disabled. I am one of those attorneys and, although I am open about my disabilities, I understand why attorneys are hesitant to identify as disabled.

“Disabled” is not a dirty word, but there is still a lot of stigma attached to it. National Disability Employment Awareness Month is part of a broader effort to destigmatize disabilities by focusing on the varied and significant contributions disabled individuals make to our workforce. Not only is this important to further the understanding of those without disabilities, but it is important for people like me to see others with disabilities flourishing in their careers.

Tell us about your service dog – and your passion for animal advocacy and rescue.

There aren’t a lot of perks to being disabled, but having a service dog is one of them.  My current service dog, Chico, is medical alert and mobility assistance trained. Some of his tasks include warning me prior to a medical instance, so I can get somewhere safe, retrieving my medications, and physically supporting my weight, so I can continue to move around. He is a delightfully goofy Doberman.

However, it was my first service dog, Butters, who really ignited my passion for animal advocacy and rescue. Butters was an Instagram famous English bulldog. At the height of his popularity he had over half-a-million followers. Bulldog rescues began reaching out to me for help placing dogs and to bring more attention to their organizations.  Eventually, I joined the board of an English bulldog rescue in Southern California. I am in the process of working with a friend to start our own rescue.

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on in the business litigation and intellectual property sectors?

Every matter is intriguing if you have the right mindset! That being said, I was recently brought onto two intriguing cases – one in Nevada and one in California. Both present vastly different issues and both look like they will actually head to trial, which is a young litigators dream.

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at the University of San Diego School of Law now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

I would tell myself that you don’t have to change who you are to be successful, you can carve your own path. And, you can do it in heels.   

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

I don’t think there is just one person.  Afterall, it takes a whole village!

After a bad car accident left me disabled, my neurology and biosciences professor,  Keith Ogawa, mentored me and helped me graduate. My personal injury attorney, Dennis Schoville, gave me my life back and is the reason I became an attorney.  Finally, the federal judge I clerked for, the Honorable Carla Baldwin, taught me discovery is better in Dolce & Gabbana and continues to shape me into a better human.

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

I have accrued plenty of failures in life. However, I prefer the word “challenge,” since what matters is how you recover. One that readily comes to mind is my first semester in law school, which was an unmitigated disaster. I come from a science background and thought only the black-letter law mattered. I didn’t understand that it is what you do with that law that really matters. Needless to say, finals did not go well for me.  However, I took the time to reflect and identify the issue. Once I realized the problem, I retained a bar writing tutor and began reading guides to legal writing. I practiced constantly and I never did poorly in law school again.

It is often difficult to be honest with yourself about why you failed, but most failures are an opportunity to learn.

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

The best advice I have received is to know how much you don’t know, learn from everyone you work with.

The worst advice I have received is to never let anyone you work with know who you are beyond your career.

What are you currently listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

I listen to a bunch of true crime podcasts. One that I really enjoy, due to the historical twist, is Noble Blood.

I am currently reading Start Without Me (I’ll be There In A Minute) by Gary Janetti, which is very tongue-in-cheek.

I am watching Cobra Kai (I know I’m late to the party on this one).

Last, but not least, what’s your go-to Karaoke song?!

Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield.

Many thanks to Kendall for your inspiring words – and courageous outlook on your life and career. For more information on Fennemore’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, please visit: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/about-us/diversity/

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