After starting his career as a litigator in Chicago, Kent Winingham came home to work in the personal injury and medical malpractice firm that bears his family’s name. He’s already won jury verdicts and has become a leader in the legal and broader community. He’s helping young lawyers connect with the profession through his involvement with IndyBar’s Young Lawyers Division, and he is active with the Goodwill Foundation and other community efforts.
After starting your career in Chicago, what drew you back to Indianapolis?
While I loved going to law school in Chicago and practicing there for a few years, I wanted to return to the city I feel is “home” and practice with my dad (Bill Winingham) and Bruce Kehoe. My fiancé is a lawyer, as well, and is from Greensburg, so it only felt right that we come back home to continue our careers.
What would you be doing if you had not become an attorney?
My mom is a therapist, and I have always admired her work and found it interesting. If I weren’t a lawyer, I think I would likely have pursued a career in counseling, psychology or therapy in some capacity.
Who is someone who inspired or mentored you, and what did you learn from them?
I have been lucky to have several mentors throughout my life, but my parents have been my main source of inspiration. Their ability to manage their respective professional careers while raising four children has always amazed me. My mom has always taught me that life is about balance and “picking and choosing your battles” — I think both of these things ring very true to me in the context of practicing law.
What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not in the office?
I love being active. Outside of the office you will find me playing golf, tennis, running or spending time out and about with my fiancé and our French bulldog, Layla, or my sisters and parents. I also enjoy reading and spending time watching (and attending, if possible) sports.
How does active involvement in bar groups improve your legal ability?
I think being involved in these groups allows me to be a more educated lawyer. Involvement with IndyBar, Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and other groups forces me to learn more about other areas of practice that I typically have minimum exposure to. They also provide me with some avenues to engage in community activities and volunteering events.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your practice?
Being able to provide individuals or families with some sense of justice, compensation and closure after what has typically been a tragic event is my favorite part of my practice.
Where do you see your legal career 10 years from now?
Ten years from now I hope to be in a place where I have tried dozens of cases but have continued to be heavily involved in the groups I currently engage with.
What aspect of being a trial lawyer most appeals to you?
I love being in the courtroom. I think presenting your case to a jury and trying to convince them of your client’s position is one of the most exciting, motivating things you can do as a lawyer.
If you could change one law, what would that be?
I think that minimizing individuals’ access to fair compensation by requiring a cap on damages in medical malpractice cases is unconscionable and must be either stricken completely or raised significantly.
What’s something about you not many people know?
I have three sisters, and all four of us played college tennis.
What’s your advice to a younger person who’s thinking about a legal career?
Do it! There are not many careers that offer such a wide variety within the practice of that career. Being a lawyer allows you to be an advocate for someone else on a consistent basis. It is a rewarding career, you meet some amazing people, and who knows, you may have a little fun along the way. I know I have already!•