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Community Advocacy Organization

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword-Attorney Jennifer Paine

Courtesy Photo-Attorney Jennifer Paine and Father

Sometimes, when making career plans, the best thing you can do is never lose sight of who you are. Attorney Jennifer Paine opened her law firm in March of 2016. “Never let others define who you are,” said Paine. The name of Paine's law firm is Pinnacle Family law. The two main offices are in Novi and Grand Rapids, with satellite offices in Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Ann Arbor Michigan.

Paine notes that she must give her dad credit for coming up with the name for her firm. "I wanted the practice to focus on family law," explained Paine. The two were at a golf store when discussing possible names. Her father spotted something with Pinnacle in the name and said, "how about calling it Pinnacle Law firm. "Yeah, that sounds good," said Paine.

Paine decided she wanted to be a family lawyer at age five. Her grandfather lived with the family while Paine was growing up. “My grandfather used to tell me that I sounded like his divorce attorney,” explained Paine. Paine also noted that she had no idea what that meant at the time. Grandfather also was fond of saying that Paine’s grandmother was his real wife, noting that his two previous wives were just practice. That concept stuck with her. Well, she thought, grandpa thinks I sound like a lawyer, I think I want to be a lawyer, admitted Paine. Her grade schoolteacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, "I want to be a divorce lawyer," Paine proudly exclaimed.

In high school, Paine's mom arranged a job at a law firm for her daughter. "I think she wanted me to show firsthand what lawyering was all about," said Paine. The whole experience backfired as the job deepened her resolve to not only practice law but divorce law. The attorney's office was in downtown Bay City, Michigan. Paine's new boss exposed her to the first-hand experience with clients. "I fell deeply in love with the law," said Paine. "I want to be a divorce attorney more than anything." Paine worked at the law firm all through high school and college. In her second year of law school, Paine interned at a firm in East Lansing. Paine graduated from Michigan State's College of Law. "The school used to be Detroit College of Law," said Paine. "And, depending on the age of other attorneys you tell that too, they react. Some attorneys are a stickler for old school ways, I guess.”

Paine attended Albion College for her undergraduate studies. She weighs 100 lbs. soaking wet and is five foot, four inches in height. Paine related an experience when her college professor stated, "You are not going to be a good litigator," she said. "You don't fit the look!"

In law school, Paine was known as the tiny dangerous one. "I try to be nice," said Paine. "But sometimes you have to turn on the fire.” Shortly after graduating from law school, Paine recalls working at the Abood Law firm in East Lansing. She was assigned to help with the Scott Peterson case. "This was a case out of Chicago," said Paine. "Among other things, I worked on the family law side of the defense's case. The family law side of the case did not get a lot of media attention. The decision on where to place the children needed to be determined. The dispute was between Peterson and the grandparents as to who should get custody of the children. Paine smiled when noting that she was a brand-new baby lawyer, maybe being licensed for a month. This was cool," thought Paine.

In Paine's law firm, one of the areas she deals with is U.S. Department of State cases involving child kidnapping. "I get much business from Mexico and Japan," stated Paine. "'When the case involves a child, I have to file a lawsuit to get the child returned to their proper home."

Paine acknowledged that getting in there and dealing with everyday people and their problems gets her jazzed up the most. "I like helping people," said Paine. "That's what it's all about."

As a female litigator, Paine acknowledges that there is some gender bias toward female attorneys. "It's very much an old boys club," said Paine. "I am glad to have started my firm. I get to decide on what cases, who, and where to want to spend the bulk of my time."

Cases involving helping children and domestic violence are at the top of Paine's list. "I like having an impact on reuniting parents and children," said Paine. On the business side, Paine likes going to court. “I’ve tried cases all over the state,” said Paine.

What makes Pain's family law practice unique is that she has a statewide practice, and in some cases, it is good to get an attorney that’s not local. “that way, you are not part of the click,” explained Paine. The second thing that makes Paine’s Law firm unique is that everyone is allowed a payment plan. “I want clients to receive an effect attorney even if they don’t have the resources to plop down a large sum to get started,” said Paine. The third thing that makes Paine different is that all of her domestic violence cases are pro bono. In a nutshell, Paine describes her law practice scope as anything that includes the family is her area of expertise.

In parting, Paine says, “It’s important to stick with what you want to do. People are quick to offer advice on what other people should do with their lives. Often, it doesn’t take into account who, what, or how you see yourself. Stick to your guns and remain true to yourself."

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