Press Release

Alumnus Jeffrey Lenkov Shares His Secrets of Success

October 2, 2012

DeKalb, Ill.--With his fervent passion for the law and success as a prominent attorney in Los Angeles, California, it’s hard to believe that NIU Law alumnus Jeffrey Lenkov (’91) had to be “pushed” into the profession. Even up to the day when he left for law school, he admits that he didn’t want to go but would rather have stayed in Montreal to work in his father’s manufacturing business. His father, being a “greater force,” encouraged Jeff to pursue a law degree, and while he begrudgingly followed his dad’s advice, he realizes now that “it was the best decision a father could ever help a child make.”

Lenkov, a partner in the L.A. firm of Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, shared these and other life-changing experiences during his recent visit back to NIU Law on September 19th. He began his day-long visit to the law school as a guest lecturer in Professor Yolanda King’s Entertainment Law course and ended with a presentation to the student body. His day also included a special luncheon with Dean Rosato and the student recipients of the Abe Lenkov Scholarship, a scholarship he started in 2006 and named in memory of his father.

Jeffrey Lenkov ('91) speaks with students one-on-one following his presentation,“Using Your NIU Law Degree for Success.”

Jeffrey Lenkov ('91) speaks with students one-on-one following his presentation,
"Using Your NIU Law Degree for Success.”

Lenkov has always understood the value in giving back, and in 2007, he was recognized as the College of Law’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. “It is important that all alumni do something, in whatever way they can,” he says. “This ensures the continuing solid reputation and prosperous development of our law school. I did the scholarship in my father’s name because he never had the opportunity to get a higher education. The Abe Lenkov Scholarship is my dedication to how he inspired me.”

First-year law student Kevin Borozan was one of the scholarship recipients and shares Lenkov’s similar humble beginnings as a first-generation college student. “I could not help but to draw distinctions between Mr. Lenkov’s emphasis on hard work and determination and my own desires to not only do well in law school but to do what is necessary to be a great attorney. I admire the way he has established himself based on his dedication and persistence. The conversations we had during lunch and after his presentation left me believing that I can turn my own dedication into something special.”

Using his own experiences, Lenkov’s presentation to the students, “Using Your NIU Law Degree for Success,” was a motivational and instructional call to action. “NIU Law gave me what I needed most, which was a terrific foundation. I had tremendous caring professors that really helped me steer through courses that I wanted to learn from, but more importantly gave me advice that set me off on my career,” he said.

According to Lenkov, the secret is simple, “Lawyer Math 101: Great legal services equals results and client relations.” In addition to hard work, he stressed the importance of professional networking, getting to know your clients, self-marketing, and creating a brand for oneself. He shared that after graduating from NIU Law, he arrived in Los Angeles with only $500 to his name. Through cold-calling, old-fashioned hard work, and some clever marketing tactics, he has built and established his reputation as one of the area’s leading entertainment and corporate attorneys.

Lenkov serves as the firm’s chair of the sports law practice as well as the retail, restaurant, and hospitality practice. Among his clients are numerous nationally and internationally-known athletes and franchises, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He has served as a Judge Pro Tem in the Los Angeles Superior Court, television legal analyst, an adjunct professor, and is an award-winning proponent of pro bono services in the Los Angeles community.

Perhaps his most rewarding and respected achievement is the founding of “Littles in Law,” a joint program with the Southern California Big Brothers & Big Sisters which instructs disadvantaged youths in the basics of the legal practice in hopes of inspiring them to pursue a career in the law. The program has been well-documented in the local and national media and was recognized by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Attorney General.

As he concluded his presentation, Lenkov strongly advised the students to maintain their humility. “Be humble and avoid the dark side. Remember that the legal profession is an honorable one that must be engaged in with integrity.” Pointing to examples he has witnessed from other attorneys, Lenkov emphasized that “doing what is right, not what is most likely to draw financial windfall, must always be foremost in a lawyer’s mind.”

Dean Jennifer Rosato thought that Lenkov gave the students “so much, including modeling a successful career path for students to aspire to, and sage advice to help students chart their own success in the legal profession.” Following his presentation, Lenkov met with and spoke with groups of captivated students extensively during a reception in the Marshall Gallery. Aiding the students on the path to effective networking, he offered himself as a resource for them as they begin their legal careers.

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For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or mmitchell@niu.edu