Kristen N. Barnette
Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz
40 Under Class – 2014
Kristin Barnette has tried over 100 cases to verdict. Barnette, 35, is a personal injury trial attorney at Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz.
She concentrates on personal injury, wrongful death, premises liability, transportation liability, nursing home abuse and neglect, as well as other types of catastrophic injuries.
The DePaul College of Law graduate is respected for both her trial skills and civic contributions, according to a Judge who met Barnette about seven years ago, while she was working at Parrillo, Weiss & O’Halloran. While there, Barnette was engaged in the litigation of insurance defense matters. She took numerous cases to trial. Outside of court, she conducted hundreds of discovery and evidence depositions, participated in hundreds of arbitrations, engaged in extensive motion practice and managed discovery issues. “In an era in which young lawyers are lucky to try five cases in their first ten years, Kristin had the amazing opportunity to try case after case,” the Judge said. “She very seldom lost a case, but in the rare event she did, she took it like the pro that she is.” The Judge called Barnette smart, professional and fearless. “She knows how to prepare and how to execute on her feet,” the Judge said. “She is the kind of young woman that people want to see succeed. That sort of presence is crucial in a young trial lawyer.”
Michelle M. Kohut, of Corboy & Demetrio, met Barnette through the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, where initially they co-chaired the Civil Litigation Committee, then went on to co-chair the Joint Professional Reception, and numerous other events including Mchelle’s installation dinner as President. “Not only is she a friend, but we have worked together on various committees with the WBAI since 2005 where I just served as 2013-2014 President and Kristin was just promoted to the Officer position as Corresponding Secretary,” Kohut said, adding Barnette has a magnetic personality. Kohut said Barnette spent the first nine years of her legal career representing the defense side, and was able to really hone her litigation skills. Kohut said Barnette’s transition to the plaintiff’s side was flawless. “She knows the value of a case and is not afraid of trying it if need be,” Kohut said.
Leslie Barkemeyer Meyers, of Sol Systems, LLC in Washington, D.C., served as opposing counsel to Barnette on several personal injury cases. They met on trial in December 2008 at the Daley Center, and practiced on opposing sides for two years.
“Ms. Barnette has always maintained an extremely full trial calendar,” Meyers said. “Despite literally hundreds of cases in various postures, Ms. Barnette has always been able to devote full, thoughtful, detailed focus to each.” Meyers said Barnette has never shied away from trying a case when it was in the best interest of her client. “If records for the city were maintained and searchable, there is no doubt she would surely outshine others in her peer group in terms of sheer volume of not liable verdicts,” Meyers said. Meyers said Barnette’s tough-as-nails reputation is matched by the highest caliber of professional courtesy. “Ms. Barnette is unique in her ability to foster and maintain deep, authentic bonds with a diversity of attorneys,” Meyers said, adding Barnette understands both judges and juries alike. “Ms. Barnette can be nearly flawless on the record. She is able to be warm and personable to a fact-finder, even when she is laying a foundation or record for appeal,” Meyers said.
Barnette is also on the Board of Directors for non-profit organizations such as Women Everywhere – Partners in Service Project, as well as the Women’s Bar Foundation. She has been an investigator for the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening since 2010. She formerly served as President of the DePaul Chapter of WBAI, co-chaired the Young Lawyer’s Committee, co-chaired several Annual Dinners and has served on the Board of Directors for a number of years. In addition, Kristin has enjoyed volunteering her time as a Presiding Judge for the YMCA’s annual National Judicial Competitions, and has taught CLE courses on various topics including jury selection, jury instructions, closing arguments, and ethics.