Kristina Nelson is chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association Environmental & Real Property Law Committee.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? My parents, although neither is a lawyer. My dad is a doctor here in town and I truly thought I would follow in his footsteps. I like to help people and I saw how much he helped his patients. My mother also is very passionate and driven. She’s always been involved with our community whether through nonprofits, at our school or through our sports activities.
Someone other than your spouse or partner who inspires you: My law partner, Rich Maguire, who is now deceased. He was a mentor to me and always encouraged me to look at the big picture. He was a good person and truly cared about his clients.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I have an engineering degree, which is not typical for a lawyer. However, I believe it helps me understand complex environmental reports and technical issues that I review on a regular basis.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? While in college I took classes as part of my environmental engineering degree that introduced me to environmental law. I knew then I wanted to pursue law instead.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? I think employers are becoming more open to allowing attorneys to be flexible and work from home.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would: Find a way to make it more straightforward.
What community service have you pursued and why that? I am the board president of Groundwork Jacksonville, a nonprofit focused on restoring and connecting the streams and parks of Henry Klutho’s Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace is made up of the waters, greenways and trails encircling the urban core. The mission lines up well with my environmental practice as well as my love of this city.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Talk to other attorneys and learn what you can from them.