Joryn Jenkins: Founder & Attorney
Open Palm in Tampa, Florida, is proud to present our firm’s founder, Joryn Jenkins, who is changing the way the world resolves conflict. Please take a moment to read about her qualifications to assist you. We also invite you to view her resume.
In the beginning, Ms. Jenkins worked for one of the ten largest law firms in the country in its Washington, D.C. office. After nearly three years practicing in all aspects of regulatory law, she took a break from big firm life to work exclusively for one of her own clients on a class action involving more than fifty sex discrimination claims in California.
When she returned to the East Coast, she accepted an offer from the state attorney in Tampa, E.J. Salcines (later an appellate judge). For the next three years, she spent nearly every workday in court, prosecuting both jury and non-jury trials.
After becoming division chief, she accepted an offer from a highly regarded boutique litigation firm. She remained there for five years, handling all of the firm’s appeals and bankruptcy matters, as well as routine commercial disputes, such as:
- Tortious interference with a business relationship;
- Constructive discharge of an employee by an employer;
- Breach of a construction contract involving one of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the State of Florida;
- Fraudulent inducement to purchase a truck stop restaurant;
- Breach of the fiduciary relationship between the real estate broker of a home and its purchaser;
- Breach of a non-competition covenant between an employer and its erstwhile employee;
- Theft of trade secrets between two competitors;
- Environmental contamination of real property by the owner of a neighboring property; and
- Legal malpractice against the lawyer representing a medical products manufacturer.
Before becoming a member of the Stetson faculty as a full-time professor of law, Ms. Jenkins briefly joined a well-known Tampa law firm as head of its bankruptcy division. There she handled all types of commercial disputes, in both state and federal courts, and also in the bankruptcy courts.
She also represented creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, challenging the dischargeability of certain debts and the debtor’s entitlement to a discharge of all debt. She represented the interests of Jim Walters Corporation in one such proceeding. She later not only prosecuted creditors’ rights, but also defended debtors in need of bankruptcy protection.
Joryn Jenkins founded Open Palm in 1994, when she had more than 14 years of experience in the practice of law. Although she was still carrying a full-time teaching load as a professor at Stetson University College of Law, her first case as a solo practitioner was a successful appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
Ms. Jenkins is the only practicing lawyer in Florida to have been awarded the prestigious A. Sherman Christiansen Award, presented in the United States Supreme Court. Only 1 person annually since 1986 has earned this honor.
Most of Ms. Jenkins’ early clients were referred to her by attorneys familiar with her ability and skill as a lawyer. As she developed her own client base, however, clients began to make their own referrals.
Among her civic contributions and community service, Joryn has served as a Girl Scout leader and a volunteer in various legal and not-for-profit organizations. She currently serves on the referral panel for AARP.
Joryn was a United States Steelworker when she was nineteen, laboring in the Jones & Laughlin Steel Mill tin-plating factory in Pittsburgh, PA. She waited tables throughout college and during a year in Hawaii between college and law school. Her experience in the service industry provides her with an invaluable perspective through which to view the legal problems of others.
She has worked as a government attorney; she has worked in a large national law firm, in a mid-sized local law firm, and in a small boutique law firm; she has taught law school and now, in her small firm practice, is, herself, a small business owner. Her experience provides her with a well-rounded perspective, which permits her to understand how her clients think and what they need.
Ms. Jenkins’ most admirable traits are her “dedication, innovative spirit, and hard work,” as a federal judge once explained. She works hard at every task she undertakes, and has dedicated herself always to hone the excellence, ethics, civility, and professionalism of her practice. Joryn loves the practice of law, and, as her grandmother used to say, “A job ill done is not worth doing!”
She lives with her husband on Davis Islands. She enjoys writing on the side with a long history of published material, including poetry, creating new law, and a memorabilia cookbook for her step-daughter called “Alexis Cooks!” In 1994, Lexis published her “Florida Civil Motions Practice,” and she has recently also published five books on collaborative practice. Her husband is a commercial real estate appraiser who also teaches a graduate course at the University of Florida. Together, they have raised his daughter since she was four years old.