Lynette Carrington 2014-02-27 23:03:46
Carrying on a Tradition of Legal Excellence As a principal of Ryley Carlock & Applewhite and the practice group leader of the bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and lending practice group, W. Scott Jenkins, Jr. knows that it is the strength of all the principals that continues to propel the group forward. The values and legal expertise of Jenkins are ones that took root at a very early age, courtesy of his father. Great Beginnings and a Solid Support System… “Having a father as an attorney, allowed me the opportunity to see what I was getting into,” said Jenkins. “My brothers and I would work at his firm after school or during the summers to make some money and we would help out with the grunt work such as filing and deliveries. It was always interesting to me to sit in his office and listen to him talk to clients and to try to solve their problems. He was great about talking to me about his cases and seeing him practice was where my interest in law really took off. There was never a solid Plan B, but to go to law school.” “My uncle, Tom Reilly, worked at Snell & Wilmer for a number of years and was a great mentor for me as well,” Jenkins noted. As his father was part of a small firm and his uncle was part of a larger firm, he was able to “pick their brains” and weigh the pros and cons of going with a big firm or choosing a small firm. Ultimately, Jenkins was hired by Ryley Carlock & Applewhite right out of law school and he has thrived there since joining the firm in 2002. Jenkins father, Scott Jenkins, Sr. is currently practicing with Myers & Jenkins, P.C. Now that he is in his own firm he still compares legal notes with his dad. “Absolutely, all the time,” said Jenkins. “As a young associate, it was always a great thing to be able to call my father or uncle about a tough project or to get some practical advice. I could call him and say, ‘OK, where do I start?’ and I probably came off looking better than I would have on my own.” A Legal Home Base That Fits When he first joined Ryley Carlock, Jenkins was splitting his time between commercial litigation and the bankruptcy group. “However, when the market started to change, my practice shifted more into the lending and creditors’ rights area. Ryley Carlock’s bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and lending practice group, which consists of 12 attorneys, has always been one of the firm’s strongest groups since the firm was started in 1948,” said Jenkins. The group represents a large number of the national and community banks throughout Arizona and Colorado. As with any successful firm, it is the synergy and knowledge of many that make Ryley Carlock the success that it is. John Fries and Mike Ripp are two of the major contributors to the firm’s and the group’s success. “John Fries is a senior bankruptcy attorney with over 30 years experience and Mike Ripp (with the firm since 1986) is one of our senior banking lawyers. Both are absolutely the best at what they do and have been great mentors for many of the group’s attorneys,” Jenkins explained. Fries is certified as a bankruptcy specialist by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and as a bankruptcy specialist by the American Bankruptcy Board of Certification. He is also listed in the Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers legal directories. Fries is a frequent lecturer on bankruptcy issues at continuing legal education seminars. “The strength of our group comes from our focus on the needs of our clients and showing our collective experience and expertise,” Fries notes. Ripp has published articles regarding real estate and commercial lending, loan enforcement and income tax issues, and often lectures to attorney and banking groups on the same topics. He is also listed in the Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers legal directories and is a certified public accountant. “Our group has had heavy exposure to the banking business in both good times and bad and we are keenly aware of the pressures and challenges our clients face on a day-to-day basis,” Ripp explained. The trio of attorneys has worked together since Jenkins joined the firm more than a decade ago. “We pretty much handle our own caseloads, but they are great resources and it’s common in our group to bounce ideas back-and-forth off each other. It is exactly how I think a firm should work,” stated Jenkins. The Ryley Carlock & Applewhite Difference “I think the attorneys in our group are all cross-trained on different aspects of our practice area. We have the depth to be able to handle a lot of different cases. When a new case comes in, we assess what level works for that case and staff it accordingly to provide the client with the best value for that particular engagement,” Jenkins explained. As with any successful firm, the right group of attorneys and staff is key. Jenkins is a member of the firm’s hiring committee and he assists with getting the Ryley Carlock team in place. “There’s a recruiting committee that I’m a part of and we have been charged with finding similar minded attorneys to help us continue to grow,” he stated. “I look for attorneys that like practicing law. Our firm is very collegial. We’re not the type of shop where you go in and shut the door and come out 10 hours later. With the changes in the legal market, there’s a premium on attorneys that really embrace the service nature of the practice of law and the importance of being able to develop business. Those are the things I really look at.” “Our firm consists of really top notch attorneys as well as great people. That’s one of the main reasons I’m still with Ryley Carlock. I’ve always been amazed with my access to some of the best lawyers in town in their particular areas,” said Jenkins. “I like the challenges of originating work, but to do so, you really need to have attorneys that are willing to step in and take care of your clients.” The caseload has shifted slightly over the past years as a result of changes in foreclosure and bankruptcy laws, too. “As a result of the downturn and the flood of creditors’ rights and bankruptcy cases, we’re just now seeing the court decisions come out over the last couple of years that are better-defining what the laws are in this space,” Jenkins explained. “These are all things that would have been good to know a couple of years ago. But, I’ve been fortunate in that I have witnessed the largest economic run-up and crash within the first 10 years of my career. I’m hoping that experience serves me and my clients well in the future as we all try to avoid the mistakes of the past.” Personal Interests and Community Involvement Jenkins is still committed to his alma mater. “I’m a strong supporter of the Arizona Wildcats and Saint Mary’s High School as well as the local professional teams. “We’re a big sports family and we like to get out to as many games as we can,” stated the attorney. Jenkins’ two sons also like to get out and play on their own teams. In addition to being an avid sports fan, Jenkins enjoys traveling, spending time with his family and is also an involved member of the community. “I’ve been on the board of Junior Achievement and Saint Mary’s High School Scholarship Fund for years and I’m currently on the Fiesta Bowl Committee. Those are three important organizations that I volunteer my time with. But, our firm does a really good job supporting a number of community groups. Everyone is encouraged to get involved and does something different.” “Another group I participated in is Valley Leadership. I completed the Leadership Institute program a couple of years ago (Class 31) and I thoroughly enjoyed that experience. It is a great group of professionals that have similar community-related interests,” Jenkins said. The one-year program is a professional leadership development program that includes a significant service project. A New Generation of Jenkins Attorneys? If Jenkins was legally inspired by his father, his own sons are expressing some different interests. “My sons have expressed zero interest,” Jenkins mused of his own sons’ interest in a law career. “They think I just go to work and just play on the computer and hang out with my friends while they are forced go to school. My 7-year-old switches between wanting to be a shark catcher or a snake catcher. Whatever they want to do, I will support them. It’s been a great career for me, but they have to do what they want to do and find their own passion; no pressure from Dad.” Ryley Carlock Moving Forward “My father had made one move (the firm his father is with just celebrated their 30th year) and my uncle had been with Snell & Wilmer his whole career. I’ve always respected that and I feel that it’s unfortunate that the legal profession has shifted to people bouncing around a lot assuming the grass is greener on the other side,” Jenkins explained. Although it may not be as risky or adventurous as capturing snakes or sharks, Jenkins has taken his inspiration in law that was first instilled by his father and fully embraced the unique opportunities and experiences that exist at Ryley Carlock. “I see myself at Ryley Carlock for my entire career. I like being a part of helping the firm continue to grow by being the practice group leader of one of our largest and most successful groups and also having a hand in recruiting. It is very rewarding to be able to work with people you truly enjoy and respect.”
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