Contact Patricia A. Jennings
Patricia A. Jennings joined the Underwood firm in early 2013 to launch a new chapter in her legal career.
For more than 20 years, Jennings has practiced law in West Virginia, representing mostly employers and insurance companies. At Underwood, Jennings is applying the knowledge she’s gained doing defense work to her new practice representing injured plaintiffs.
A native of Huntington, Jennings received her J.D. from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary in 1990. After clerking for Judge Carl Goldstein in Delaware Superior Court, she joined the Huntington law firm of Jenkins Fenstermaker, where she remained for 14 years.
Initially, she focused her practice there on civil litigation. But as time went on, she moved into workplace law, creating and leading the firm’s first Workers’ Compensation Practice Group. Her practice included cases involving Workers’ Compensation, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other employment-related matters.
When West Virginia lawmakers privatized the Workers’ Compensation system, Jennings joined the state’s first private Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier, BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co., in Charleston, in 2006. At BrickStreet, Jennings handled claims litigation for policyholders and then moved into a more administrative role.
She found, however, that she missed litigation. She also found that she missed Huntington. So when an opportunity arose for her to come back to Huntington and begin a new practice focused on litigation, she took it.
“At BrickStreet, not much interaction with people was required, and I missed that,” she says. “I like meeting with clients and talking on the phone with clients. I like talking with experts and working with adjusters.”
“I also like the challenge of litigation. I like strategy, the role as an advocate for clients, and, yes, the competition.”
Besides her love of the law, Jennings also values community involvement. Now that she’s working in her hometown and not having to take the daily commute to Charleston, Jennings is hoping to expand her activity with community organizations, including the Branches Domestic Violence Shelter, where she is on the board of directors.
Her favorite community activity is her role as director of the annual Huntington Turkey Trot 5K race, held annually on Thanksgiving Day morning to benefit the Little Victories No-Kill Animal Shelter in Huntington. She and her family orchestrated the first event in 2007, and participation has grown rapidly to the point where it now attracts about 1,200 runners who contribute some $17,000 plus dog and cat food to benefit the shelter.
When not practicing law and doing community work, Jennings enjoys running and playing tennis.