Growing up in Muncie, Kimberly Welsh-Jeselskis, 1997 Ball State psychology masters graduate, said she always had an interest in going to Ball State, following in the footsteps of her brother. Now, two of her nephews also attend the college.
“It is fun, especially now that my nephew is there,” Welsh-Jeselskis said. “He shares things about the school and campus that are new, and my husband [who’s] also a Ball State grad and I get to ask him if certain things are still standing — like The Chug.”
While Welsh-Jeselskis was a student, she said she began pursuing her law career when she learned about organizational psychology and became familiar with several employment cases.
Since graduating from Valparaiso University School of Law in 2000, Welsh-Jeselskis has spent nearly 20 years primarily representing individuals with employment-related matters, such as discrimination, sexual harassment and contract issues.
“Currently myself and my two other partners represent the four women who have sued the Attorney General Curtis Hill for sexual harassment,” Welsh-Jeselskis said. “It is still pretty early on, but our hope is that it will make an impact on how these issues are treated with legislative officials and employees.”
In the beginning of her career as an attorney, Welsh-Jeselskis said, technology has greatly changed. People did not text, instant message or email much, but now, “it’s all about electronic discovery and making sure you collect it and preserve it.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever thought of [the job] as being hard, definitely not representing my clients, but you do have to deal with certain issues like unpleasant opposing counsel that can make the cases not fun,” Welsh-Jeselskis said.
Halfway through her career, Welsh-Jeselskis met her colleagues BJ Brinkerhoff and Hannah Joseph.
First introduced by a mutual friend, Joseph and Welsh-Jeselskis would co-counsel cases together. For several years, Joseph said, she tried convincing Jeselskis to practice law at the firm where Joseph worked. After agreeing, Welsh-Jeselskis met Brinkerhoff, and the three began working together at the same law firm.
Within the last several months, the three coworkers decided to branch out and open their own law firm, now known as Jeselskis, Brinkerhoff and Joseph Legal Firm (JBJ Legal) in Indianapolis. According to its website, the law firm will “focus on representing individuals, small businesses and entrepreneurs” with “employment issues, corporate transactions, and dispute resolution.”
“We have all been practicing for a while, and we are pretty fortunate to have a book where we have our clients that came with us, so we were able to continue providing them with services,” Welsh-Jeselskis said.
By being centrally located in Indianapolis, Welsh-Jeselskis said this allows JBJ Legal to easily help their clients located in Downtown Indianapolis and litigate cases in the federal court right down the street from their office.
“My favorite part [about being an attorney] is helping people,” Welsh-Jeselskis said. “I feel very lucky to have been able to help people navigate through difficult workplace situations for my entire career. The majority of people have to work for a living. Our jobs impact our daily lives, emotionally and financially. When an individual’s job or career is impacted by discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or even a breach of an agreement, I am very honored that they turn to me to help resolve these issues.”
Associate attorney Alexandra Blackwell also joined forces with Welsh-Jeselskis, Joseph and Brinkerhoff after interviewing to work at JBJ Legal.
“[Welsh-Jeselskis] helps me everyday,” Blackwell said. “She is unbelievably bright, motivated and hardworking. [Welsh-Jeselskis] also is a very good teacher. She is good at knowing when to make you try to work it out on your own… The special thing about law is that you are never really done learning. [Law] evolves over time. Your clients change, the laws change and the issues are constantly changing so it is never boring.”
Throughout the transition process of moving to JBJ Legal, Blackwell said, they figured out what their policies and procedures are and how they want to execute them.
“Everyone was able to use their background of what they did and didn’t like in previous offices [we worked at], and we were able to cherry pick and figure out what was going to work for us,” Blackwell said. “It was fun because all hands were on deck. Everyone's working and helping make everything start which will give us an interesting perspective.”
Blackwell said she believes that the set up at the new law firm is very unique and believes that it will benefit their team going forward.
As law continues to interest her because of new cases constantly coming out, Welsh-Jeselskis said, she has remained passionate about her work because it “clicks with who [she] is and what’s important to [her].”
“Ball State students [who are] thinking about going to law school, even though it has changed in the last twenty years I have been doing this — it is still a great profession and a great place to land,” Welsh-Jeselskis said.