How Lawyers Work: Jayne Sykora & Jennifer Santini, Estate Planning Nerds & Enthusiastic Networking Aficionados

In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we hear from Jayne Sykora and Jennifer Santini, law partners and co-founders of Sykora & Santini PLLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jayne and Jen primarily work in estate planning and business law, but both have experience in the marketing and financial industries prior to practicing law. 

You can follow Jayne on LinkedIn and Jennifer on LinkedIn. You can also follow them on Twitter. 

What’s your elevator pitch?

Jayne & Jen: We help individuals, families, and businesses with their estate planning & administration and business needs. We see the value in being proactive in planning one’s life personally and professionally as it helps avoid headaches down the road. Most of our clients know that they need a plan in place but do not know how to begin or where to turn. We make the process as easy and convenient for them as possible.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

Jayne & Jen: We use Clio, Dropbox, Quickbooks & Google Calendar. We are now an office of four individuals between the both of us and our two legal assistants. These tools have been cost-efficient means for us all to stay connected and organized.

Clio helps us manage not only our client files but also our network in general to track referrals, colleagues, and other professionals we use as resources.

Dropbox has been a great way to house all of our client files. We often get the question when people come to the office: “Where are all of your files and file cabinets?” While we both like to have a paper file when we are actively working on a matter, once the services are completed, everything is scanned and filed electronically into Dropbox.

Lastly, Google Calendar not only keeps us on schedule but serves often as a to-do list. Upcoming meetings and deadlines drive the priority of tasks for each of us. And of course, since we are running a business, Quickbooks keeps us organized to manage expenses and cash flow.

What does your workspace look like?

Jayne: It is a large open space with hardwood floors, exposed brick and high ceilings at Colonial Warehouse in Minneapolis’ North Loop. The goal was to make the space comfortable, warm and relaxed—not only for our clients but for us, too, since we spend a lot of time in the office.

Jen: The open concept layout has a welcoming feel to invite people to “sit & stay awhile.”

How do you keep track of your calendars and deadlines?

Jayne & Jen: Google Calendar. We both use the calendar as a guide for our daily to-do list as it relates to upcoming meetings and what is needed for each meeting. We also set reminders on our calendars to alert us for upcoming deadlines of filing requirements or follow-ups with clients.

What is your coffee service setup?

Jayne: Oddly enough, neither Jen or I are coffee drinkers. We have a coffee maker, but it currently sits in a storage closet! Jen drinks tea and has plenty of flavors to offer clients. I like a cold Diet Coke, so we have the fridge stocked with Diet Coke, Coke, Sprite. And water. Lots of water.

Jen: Non-existent at the moment, which has led to many visits to Moose & Sadie’s downstairs.

What is one thing that you listen to, read, or watch that everyone should?

Jayne: I have been loving More Perfect, a podcast from the people at RadioLab all about the U.S. Supreme Court. It is fascinating.

Jen: I read The New York Times column, “Modern Love.” (I have yet to listen to the corresponding podcast!)

What is your favorite local place to network or work solo?

Jayne: Our office! It has been great to design a space that we enjoy inviting others to. We have had colleagues over for happy hours and lunches. When I have to work solo, I do enjoy coming into the office on the weekends, turning on some music and sitting on the couch.

Jen: Network—anywhere that has wine. Work solo—our office. I am an introverted extrovert. I get my energy when I interact with people and love socializing and catching up with colleagues over a great glass of wine. However, I do love my alone time, and since personally, I don’t get much of it these days because of my two little ones at home, I love the quietness of our office when no one else is around. We have skylights that provide wonderful natural sunlight, and because there are no exterior windows, I am not distracted by what is happening outside (as I would be at times at our old office in St. Anthony Main). When I get a few hours alone in our office – my head is down working and it is amazing how fast time goes and how productive I am in our space.

What are three things you do without fail every day?

Jayne: 1.) Workout; 2.) Wish I had more time to get everything done; 3.) Eat lunch.

Jen: 1.) Make my bed; 2.) Kiss my husband; 3.) Eat breakfast & drink water.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Jayne & Jen: Drake Metzger of Metzger Nyberg.


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Harry K. says:

    Jayne & Jen, love your work environment, kudos. Reading this during lunch put a smile on my face, thank you.

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