"When I started, I would not have imagined myself as a litigator. "
Kelli Lueckert is a senior associate with AndersonGlenn who specializes in insurance defense and warranty law litigation. She recently was appointed chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association Law Week Committee.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer?
Originally, I wanted to be an actress but I quickly realized that was not my calling. Then I wanted to join the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which led me to psychology. My professors at UF encouraged me to consider a career in law. It is a privilege being a lawyer, especially in this community where I get to work with such talented people.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law?
I majored in psychology with a focus on behavior analysis. The ability to connect with, understand and empathize with people helps me in everything I do from taking a deposition to speaking with a witness, negotiating a claim or working with opposing counsel. Making people feel liked, respected, understood and seen goes a long way. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that?
When I started, I would not have imagined myself as a litigator. My interest in the criminal justice system led me to start my career as an assistant public defender, which led me to civil litigation. I often work with clients who are going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. I have the opportunity to help clients through those times by providing them the information they need to make informed decisions and recommending the best course of action.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law?
Providing more affordable legal services to middle-income citizens. More than 50 percent of Florida attorneys practice in small firms or are solo practitioners. I am currently chair of the Prepaid Legal Services Committee of The Florida Bar. While Prepaid Legal Services was established more than 45 years ago, a lot of lawyers do not know what it is and how it can work in their practice. It’s an arrangement whereby a sponsor contracts directly with a managing attorney for the provision of legal services to its members. You can reach out to groups such as churches, educational institutions, credit unions, employing units and associations about services that a managing attorney can provide.
What community service have you pursued and why that?
My family and I are puppy raisers for K9s for Warriors. We currently have a golden retriever, which my son named “Alli” after “alligator” because he knows I love the Gators. She eventually will become a service dog for a veteran. I also am involved with The Florida Bar, the Jacksonville Bar Association and Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association. This year, I am the chair of the JBA Law Week Committee. The committee is involved in several Law Week events which span from March through May. Through JWLA, I have participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, establishing the Nursing Room in the Duval County Courthouse, mentoring and promoting and supporting local leaders.
What’s your advice for new lawyers?
Get involved. I did not recognize right away how essential that is. I have met the most amazing, hardworking individuals who are not only my mentors, but my friends. Being a working parent is often not easy. Getting involved has allowed me to meet others who have gone through the same things and are able to give me encouragement and advice.