Paul Kinne, partner at Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, has made a career out of helping people who have trouble helping themselves.
“Our firm, as it’s developed, has made a living out of helping the little guy and making sure people who are wronged get their just compensation,” Kinne said.
Even as a child, Kinne liked to argue. He said that natural inclination, paired with his passion for social-justice issues and doing right by the underdog, led him to a career in law.
Kinne joined Gingras in 1993 after graduating from UW Law School. Over the years, he has developed expertise in civil rights, class-action litigation, employment law, legal-malpractice cases, personal-injury law, product liability and cases involving nursing-home negligence and abuse.
Of the many types of cases he’s taken over his career, Kinne said those that involve freedom of speech have been the most memorable. That’s especially true for cases when the government has taken action to punish someone for speaking out on matters of public concern.
“Those cases really stand out to me because it’s not just helping my client, but it’s also helping society protect one of the most important freedoms that we have as Americans,” Kinne said.
It seems fitting that Kinne is drawn to cases that involve fighting restrictions on speech, as he’s known for fostering communication among his team at GTW.
“Paul is always willing to share his knowledge with anyone in need,” said Jenna Schreiber, intake specialist at Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs. “Even during a pandemic, he was always willing to point me in the right direction. I am grateful to have him as a coworker.”
Kinne believes in the saying “knowledge is power” and uses that principle in his dealings with everyone he encounters.
“If I can spread around what I know, that helps make other people more powerful, whether they be people I work with in the office, people out in the community or clients,” Kinne said.
Kinne’s advice to new lawyers offers words of empowerment and encouragement. There’s a lot of pressure to accumulate knowledge quickly and succeed as fast as possible early on in a lawyer’s career, Kinne said, but mistakes are inevitable and shouldn’t be discouraging.
“Don’t get upset if you make a mistake,” Kinne said. “Act like a hockey goalie. Brush it off. Make the next save.”