Senior Partner, Jessica L. Kopas, Featured In Fort Lauderdale Magazine
Our Senior Partner, Jessica L. Kopas, was recently featured in Fort Lauderdale Magazine’s August Issue. Her Q&A advertorial provides some insight as to who she is as a lawyer, what her views are regarding diversity, equity and inclusion and more. Jessica is located in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office where she focuses her practice on commercial litigation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights.
Over the course of her practice, Jessica has advocated the interests of her clients – including Fortune 500 companies – in a wide variety of disputes in and out of court. She has appeared before state, federal district and federal bankruptcy courts in Florida. She also has participated in mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, including accomplishing complex settlement agreements as alternatives to trial.
Prior to joining the firm, Jessica worked for several commercial litigation firms in South Florida, where she litigated large, complex commercial cases as well as adversarial bankruptcy proceedings.
Jessica is also the first woman to earn the title of senior partner at the firm and has been certified by The University of South Florida Muma College of Business in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She completed a rigorous seven-week program designed to educate business and community leaders on the essential practices and tools designed to increase employee diversity and to create a business model that embraces equity and inclusion.
“This certification is one of our 2021 initiatives to ensure that the future of the firm continues to build on a foundation of diversity and inclusion,” said Kopas.
What has been your proudest career moment and your biggest hurdle? As to both: preparing for trial. It is stressful and rewarding at the same time. I have had the privilege of preparing for trials in large complex cases over the years. Each case has been both a challenge and an invaluable learning experience. I feel the most pride in knowing that I always honor my responsibility to my clients.
What professional lessons have you learned from the coronavirus pandemic? Zoom is efficient in certain circumstances, but I still believe that being in person is best. There is nothing more valuable than being face-to-face with a witness.
How would you advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace? Step one is developing deeper understanding through communication and action, both internally and externally. We don’t all see the world through the same lens. Therefore, if we are willing to have (sometimes uncomfortable) conversations, we can learn how other people see life. From there, we can treat people how they want to be treated, which is not necessarily how you want to be treated. At our firm open communication is critical. We also invest in our community and support important programs that help create opportunities for underserved populations to pursue careers in law.
What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why are these principles important? Diversity, equity, and inclusion is about seeing talent and potential in everyone, and making sure everyone at our firm feels safe and comfortable. Creating opportunities for each member of our team, allows the entire Firm to grow. Everyone should get a seat at the table.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Be patient with yourself.