Our spotlight this month features Kelly T. Bennett, the newest partner to join the Greenberg and Sinkovits family. Kelly is an award-winning family law attorney who tirelessly works on behalf of her clients to ensure the best possible outcome for them as they move through life’s major transitions. We sat down with her to find out more about what motivates and inspires her to do what she does. Here’s what she had to say…
When did you join G&S? What prompted the move?
I made a lateral move to Greenberg & Sinkovits as a partner in 2021. I knew that it was time to make a change in my career and it came at the same time that Michelle and Stephanie were expanding their firm and looking for someone to head up the family law side of the practice.
What led you to focus on family law/real estate law?
I focus on a variety of areas that I consider to be legal family life transitions. That encompasses family law, guardianship, adoption, estate planning, and probate administration. I started as a family law attorney and that was my sole focus for my first five years of practice. Over the next five years, I deepened my understanding of probate law, guardianship, and estate planning. When I moved over to Greenberg & Sinkovits, I really expanded my practice to include these other areas of the law. Each area – from adoption to minor guardianship, prenuptial agreements to divorce, and estate planning to name changes and probate administration – is about helping clients in their major legal family life transitions. What drives me to focus on these areas is my ability to help my clients get to a new and better chapter of their lives. Whatever brought them to me was because they needed a change, and I can help them do that in a way that minimizes the harm and confusion that they may otherwise experience from the legal process.
What made you want to become a lawyer?
As a kid, I always said I either wanted to be an actress or a lawyer. But honestly, I don’t think I knew of many other career options! As I made my way through high school and college, I participated in theatre and speech competitions. Speaking competitions and events like debate and communication analysis fostered my love for solving problems with research. I was a theatre and public communications major in my undergraduate studies and although I loved the performance aspect of theatre, I learned that I didn’t want to be an actress. Instead, I leaned towards dramaturgy, which is a research career. A dramaturge’s role is to provide the cast and crew with knowledge, research, and interpretation of the theatrical work in question so that they are better able to do their jobs. I considered either getting my Master’s Degree in Dramaturgy or going to law school. Law school won! But before I attended law school, I actually thought that I would concentrate on Entertainment Law.
Why do you do what you do?
I bring compassion and realism to my practice of law. Sometimes the facts for your client are not great and they need to know what is worth the fight and what are the likely results. On more than one occasion, I have helped redirect my clients on how to handle their ex-spouse with whom they must continue to co-parent. Several clients have come back to me to thank me for how I helped them and even send pictures of their children as they grow. To know that you have helped someone who could have continued on a disastrous path with their co-parenting relationship if they didn’t have a compassionate but realistic attorney guiding them makes it all worth it.
Tell us all about your family!
I am married and live in the city of Chicago with our preschooler. We are “city people” and we hope that we can continue to make it work raising our child in the city.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love taking my preschooler to museums, parks, and live performances, and teaching her how to do arts and crafts.
What are you watching lately?
My current favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries, which I have watched several times. It’s like a warm blanket. I can pay attention or it can be running in the background.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can make a macrame plant holder or wall hanging!
What else should people know about you?
I am a founding member of the Force of Lawyers Against Sexual Harassment (FLASH), a task force formed to combat sexual harassment in the legal profession. As women lawyers, we often deal with bullying behaviors from others in the profession, and I believe it is time to call it out and stop it. Young female attorneys often experience inappropriate treatment by older attorneys, from the less offensive but unacceptable use of patronizing gender-specific terms to the use of power dynamics to control associates. I believe that we need to give young associates the tools to not only stand up for themselves but also to have the resources to escape situations where they are afraid that they may be blacklisted in their area of law.