To Top

Meet Jennifer O’Connell of Queener Law in Downtown and the Highlands

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer O’Connell.

Jennifer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I started practicing law, I was in a small firm with a lot of cases, but not a lot of experience. In the first few years, I was thrown in the deep end and learned to swim by just staying afloat. I wanted to carve out something better for myself, so I looked for mentors with more experience than the partners at my firm, people who could take me to the next level. I had some good and bad experiences with mentors. I had one who was extremely kind and sharing but was so overloaded with his own practice that he had little time for me or the cases on which he was assisting.

The next mentor simply took over the cases I needed his expertise on and sent me a little bonus after he finished them himself. It was a true Goldilocks experience. Finally, I landed on a mentor who walked me through each and every tedious step of the most complicated cases I had in my portfolio. He called me at every step along the way, and pushed me to do things on my own and not look to him for the answers all the time. We soon became co-counsels in the truest way, each of us adding our best attributes to each case.

After several years of growing at my firm, with my mentor’s help, I reached what I felt like was my limit of growth there. I had been looking for an overall life change, so I moved to Denver. I joined a firm where I thought I could grow into the next level of legal achievements and practice. Unfortunately, it was not the right fit. And that is okay. Just like mentors, the job search can also be a real porridge-too-hot or porridge-too-cold scenario. I was still in consistent contact with my mentor, sharing with him my frustrations. And he had a solution.

Henry Queener, my mentor, is now my business partner. Together, we opened a third branch of Queener Law in Denver. I am now Managing Partner of my own business, allowing me to take things in the direction I think is best, focus on what I think is important, and grow in the way that is best for me and my clients.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth roads do not exist, in life, in business, or otherwise. That’s just not reality. When I started this business, I understood that, but not as well as I should have. I saw a bumpy road, but I did not foresee all the hurdles, being a first-time business owner. I now know lessons like these: it always takes longer to make money than you think, customer acquisition rises and falls, and things that work for others may not work for you and that’s okay.

I have not only had sleepless nights but if I am being honest, I have had moments where I planned to call my business partner the next morning and give up. I can remember each occasion as clear as day, and I want to always remember those moments. It not only helps me through other seemingly unconquerable mountains in my path, but it reminds you at each milestone that it took to get there.

In any aspect of life, I have learned that appreciating the highs is vital to longevity. Remembering exactly how you felt in the lowest of times should not be boxed away once you make it out. They should always stay front of mind so that when you hit your highs, they mean something and keep you steaming ahead. Even the littlest of wins.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
We are a civil litigation firm, focusing in personal injury. That means we represent the little guy against companies and injury victims against the negligent. Common circumstances include wrecks with commercial vehicles/trucks, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability injuries, auto accidents, and the like. We are most known for handling complex truck collisions and falls due to unsafe conditions with serious bodily injury.

When Henry Queener and I were working simply as co-counsels at separate firms, we prided ourselves on not turning away from the hard ones, the cases no one else took because it was a long shot. Sure, we definitely found out the crowd of naysayers was correct from time to time. But more often than not, after elbow grease and long hours, we would bring in wins for our clients that allowed them to cover their medical costs, provide for their families despite their serious injuries, and provide themselves with the future care they need. I am unabashedly proud of that.

Another piece that sets us apart is that we are open to all. We are selective with the cases we take, but that solely depends on the facts of the cases themselves and whether we can see a light at the end of the tunnel for the client. We do not make decisions based on how big or small the case is or where the client is positioned in society. We are not out to only represent the who’s who. We have had, and still have, high profile clients, but we also have clients who no one knows and who don’t go home to seven-figure homes. We represent everyone with a legitimate case. That is the only line we draw. Of that, I am extremely proud.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Work-Life Balance. Survival requires it. If you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of your business or your clients/customers. When I was practicing back home in Tennessee, I did not understand that and I let work take over every aspect of my life. My family and friend relationships took a back seat, as did my health. With that lifestyle, you will absolutely start making mistakes, missing little things, and losing the love you have for that you are doing.

I am a cyclist, a hiker, and runner. I am also a lover of my friends and my family. I know that I will have long hours ahead, and I am careful to make time for the other important things amongst all the chaos. I put workouts, cycling, and hiking on my calendar and try to hold firm to that. I do the same with my family and friend time. If it means staying up late a few nights to make up for it, I do that. I take advantage of times when no one is around so I can knock out big projects or just catch up on things so that when my family and friends are with me, I can focus on them and my own physical and mental health.

It takes time to trust, but your business will not suffer because of self-care. I promise.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Katie Moore

Suggest a story: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative

    The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us...

    Local StoriesJuly 7, 2020
  • Denver’s Most Inspiring Stories

    The heart of our mission at VoyageDenver is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the...

    Local StoriesSeptember 14, 2021
  • Denver Artist iBleazy releases Higher

    Today we’re connecting again with iBleazy to discuss his new song and lyric video Higher. iBleazy is  a content partner. Content partners...

    Local StoriesAugust 27, 2021
  • Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 3

    We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha...

    Local StoriesAugust 25, 2021
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesAugust 19, 2021
  • Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 2

    We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha...

    Local StoriesJuly 21, 2021
  • Heart to Heart with Whitley: Episode 3

    During Women’s Month I had the honor of having a heart to heart with two powerful women in the creative space....

    Local StoriesJune 26, 2021
  • Community Member Spotlights

    It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them...

    Local StoriesApril 21, 2021
  • Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 1

    We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha...

    Local StoriesMarch 22, 2021
  • Heart to Heart with Whitley: Episode 1

    We are so thrilled to present Heart to Heart with Whitley, a high-energy talk show hosted by the brilliant and empowering...

    Local StoriesFebruary 1, 2021