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Clerk focuses on legal details, client service

October 31, 2020
Est read time: 2 minutes

Joe Iennaco made the decision about his life’s future a couple of years ago. He intends one day to be a judge.

Now a clerk at Jeffrey S. Howell P.A. Attorneys at Law, Iennaco found himself a bit at sea two years ago after earning his undergraduate degree at Florida State University in Editing, Writing and Media.

A bit like the Benjamin Braddock character in The Graduate — without a well-defined aim in life, Iennaco’s father took the situation in hand and suggested a direction. Dad asked son, “Do you ever think you might make a good judge?”

Given that his parents are both attorneys in Orlando, retired after long careers, his interest was piqued. So he took the Law School Admission Test and scored high enough to earn a scholarship.

“That was encouraging to me,” he says.

That led to him entering the FSU School of Law and applying at several law firms before being hired by the Howell Firm. He considers that a stroke of luck: “They do enrich here, the clerk says. “I am glad this was the one.”

That enrichment includes drafting pleadings, legal research, reviewing documents, and getting information from people who “who aren’t always very easy to get in touch with.” He also works on civil defense cases, workers’ compensation, licensing, and, of course, the firm’s main concern: health law, which now holds particular interest for him.

“It’s a great experience for us when we go to pass the bar.”

Asked whether the Howell Firm was what he expected a law firm to be like, he said, “I think maybe I knew better than to have any set expectations” so his default idea was “my expectation was to be surprised.”

“The first several months I was working here almost everything I did was something new to me, and something I had to learn and learn fast. It takes a while for you to get on top of what’s going on.”

Iennaco is proud of the firm’s reputation for personal interest in its clients. He said he’s willing to put in long hours researching in order to find “that little thing that completely turns around the case as far as for new strategies, finding the thing we would have been unprepared for.”

He also aims to “make sure the clients have the kind of contact with us that I would be looking for if I was in their situation.” He explains: “It’s a very scary situation for our medical clients especially. … Sometimes decades-old charges are brought up … The last thing they want is to be kept waiting by the law firm while they don’t know what’s going on.”

Iennaco says when he finishes law school in about a year he’d like to be a lawyer within the four-office Howell legal universe. “Oh, yes. Jeff. He’s the rainmaker. He likes talking with people, and having lunch with everybody.”

That quality reflects one oft-repeated lesson, Iennaco says: “What they keep telling us in law school is that one of the best qualities you can have as a lawyer is being good at communicating with your clients, so I try to bring that to the table as much as I can.”

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