Jennifer Lowis is Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ San Diego office. She was recently promoted to lead the firm’s growing medical malpractice group. Prior to joining Tyson & Mendes, Lowis was a partner at Lowis & Gellen, a firm she founded in Chicago in 1995. A seasoned trial lawyer, Lowis has tried many high-exposure jury trials and successfully settled hundreds of other cases short of trial. She specializes in defending high-stakes medical malpractice lawsuits – including catastrophic injury and death cases – on behalf of teaching hospitals, community hospitals, long-term care facilities and physicians in virtually every field of medicine. Learn more about this accomplished Chicagoan turned San Diegan below.
T&M: Where did you go to undergrad and law school?
JL: I attended University of Missouri for undergrad and Chicago Kent College of Law.
T&M: What did you like most about Chicago?
JL: Other than the love-hate relationship Chicagoans have with the weather, it is a wonderful city! Chicago offers diverse neighborhoods, a beautiful lakefront beach that goes for miles and miles, world-famous parks and museums, a constant stream of events and festivals, and a vibrant sports culture. It is also a paradise for foodies and has a thriving theater and music scene.
T&M: After running your own firm for several years, what drew you to Tyson & Mendes?
JL: Starting my own firm in Chicago was one of the most rewarding things I ever did in my career. However, I had always wanted to live in California, and in fact, had taken the California bar when I was a young lawyer. When our beloved Cubs finally won the World Series, we knew we could leave! Then, when the opportunity presented to join Tyson & Mendes, a well-respected, fast growing litigation firm in California, I could not say no.
The fact that I could live close to my daughter, who had just passed the bar and lived in Los Angeles, was an added bonus! Tyson & Mendes gave me the opportunity to assume responsibility for its medical malpractice department, so it turned out to be a good fit all the way around. Although learning California procedure was challenging, my colleagues at Tyson & Mendes were endlessly patient with me.
T&M: What do you enjoy most about working at the firm?
JL: I enjoy working at Tyson & Mendes because the firm emphasizes delivering top-quality legal work, no matter how large or small the case. Also, they truly want everyone in the firm – lawyers and support staff alike – to succeed.
T&M: Why did you decide to focus on medical malpractice as your area of expertise?
JL: I love defending medical malpractice lawsuits because I love medicine. The adage “a little knowledge is dangerous” is certainly true in my case, as I think of myself as a closet doctor. In all seriousness, medicine is rarely black and white and the same is true of most medical malpractice cases – so every case is a learning experience. I have been fortunate in my career to have represented many hospitals and doctors, having litigated cases in almost every medical specialty. I have had the privilege of working with some of the leading medical experts in the country. Every single day, I learn something new!
T&M: What benefits do you think a client has by working with a female attorney?
JL: Being sued for medical malpractice is stressful. Male doctors in particular often have trouble verbalizing how a lawsuit is affecting them. Women are by nature intuitive and communicative about feelings, which gives us an edge in perceiving and dealing with a doctor’s feelings. Lawsuits are also stressful for nurses tasked with giving depositions or trial testimony. It can be a frightening experience and they often need hand-holding – a skill possessed by many women. The ability to multitask – meaning preparing clients for testimony, while also acknowledging the emotional impacts of litigation – is particularly within the women’s domain.
T&M: What has been the biggest challenge of your career thus far?
JL: In the early years of being a lawyer, when the profession was predominately male, one of the biggest challenges I faced was not being taken seriously. Also, back then, no one addressed sexual harassment. Moreover, most female lawyers felt they had to work harder than the male lawyers and even then, we watched as men – who were no better than us – were promoted faster. Thankfully, the legal world greatly evolved since then, and female lawyers are much more a part of the culture. In more recent years, my biggest challenges have involved trying cases against lawyers who are the best of the best.
T&M: After raising two daughters of your own, what advice would you give to women looking to have successful careers while also raising a family?
JL: Not only was I a lawyer, but I was a single mom! My secret – which I know is not an option for everyone – is that I had the same nanny for my children’s entire lives. She did all the errands I did not have time to do and kept my house up and running. I am not sure how I would have managed without her. Even with her, although it was not always easy to balance family and career, it was incredibly rewarding. When I put my children to sleep at night, they never wanted to hear fairy tales – they wanted to hear cases. They would play judge and jury and a winner would be announced as they fell asleep. I never felt guilty about working (except maybe during trial) – rather, by being blessed with a profession I loved, I felt like I was able to give my children my best self. My daughters tell me I was a powerful role model and I like to think I am part of the reason they turned out to be independent, capable, smart young women with careers of their own!
T&M: What are your favorite medical or legal TV shows?
JL: I do not watch a lot of medical or legal TV shows, although I enjoyed “The Good Wife” and “Damages” with Glenn Close. I do, however, love to listen to medical and legal podcasts, such as “Serial” and most recently, “Dr. Death” – the true-life story of a neurosurgeon in Texas, one of the only doctors criminally prosecuted for his medical care and treatment. It is fascinating and thought-provoking.
T&M: When not at work or home, where are we most likely to find you?
JL: When I am not at work, I am either going to one of my actress daughter’s shows, bike riding with my husband, walking along the ocean, wine tasting in Napa, reading, or trying out a new restaurant.