We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Raphael Komsky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, how does your business help the community?
While I would never deign to convince others that my work makes a visible social impact, like the movements we see today, I take pride in the small ways my work as an employment law attorney, advising and representing employers, makes a difference to an employee’s worklife and the employee morale. I consider a job well done when I educate clients to ensure they are properly treating their employees. More than that though, there is often the legal answer to my client’s questions (“can I?”) and then the realistic, or moral answer (“should I?”) Helping my clients navigate the space surrounding these questions is the value-add that only 20-plus years of experience brings. Aside from advising and representing employers, I regularly lecture, provide sexual harassment avoidance training, and lead workshops covering various employment law topics. The educational aspect of my work is quite fulfilling and I often learn from those engagements. I come from a family of lawyers and teachers, so this aspect of my practice seamlessly combines the familial lineage.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My firm, Levinson Arshonsky & Kurtz is in the heart of the San Fernando Valley in the Sherman Oaks Galleria. We specialize in real estate, business, finance, and employment. I am a partner specializing in employment law, advising employers in all aspects of their employee relations. I am proud that our firm provides solutions for most every business need. The multi-disciplinary approach serves our clients across many different industries. I advise clients on policies, procedures, and management of employee issues, I conduct workplace investigations and conduct sexual harassment avoidance and other workplace trainings. On the litigation side, I defend my clients in threatened and active litigation and matters before courts and administrative agencies covering wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, etc. Counseling clients in “litigation-avoidance” measures in attempts to stave off litigation is an important part of my practice. Even if a claim can be defended, the client’s business has already lost as soon as any claim is filed. There is no recovery of attorney’s fees or costs for the employer in claims brought by current or former employees. Understanding the needs of a business on every level and not just providing a defense is an important part of what we do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being a true “Valley Girl”, I love working and living here. when I was a teen, my sister, friends, and I used to take the bus to the Galleria to hang out (this was in the immediate post-“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” era.) Although the Galleria is quite different today, it is still surreal to be working in the same location I used to hang out in my youth. I am heartbroken about the many establishments that have closed due to the pandemic and try to support as many local businesses as possible. In our area we love Hugo’s (both the restaurant and taco stand). For Mexican, we love hole-in-the-wall Tony’s Mexican Grill or Casa Vega. Of course, the valley is bursting with amazing sushi places. One of our favorites to end the night is with a customized blended frozen yogurt from Humphrey’s Yogart- a place I have been going since I was a teen.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
How is it possible to recognize only a select few that are responsible for any successes I have achieved? As mentioned, there are a lot of attorneys in my family, including my dad, two of his brothers, my brother, and the list goes on. While becoming an attorney was not remarkable within my family, I was the first (but not the last) woman in my family to do so. I recall loving going to my dad’s office and helping him with his calendaring, or “tickler” system, and his explaining the importance of statute of limitations and court deadlines. While his tracking system was impeccable, he also had a backup system and that is something I utilize to this day (although I am often mocked for my back-up paper calendar!) I also vividly recall a trip to Toronto to visit family during law school and getting to watch one of my uncles in trial. I was also fortunate to see another uncle sitting as a judge. After the court cases were finished for the day, my uncle, while “on the record” officially welcomed me to his courtroom. It was my first appearance in court and my uncle mailed me the transcript as proof of my first recorded appearance. I relished experiencing differences in court systems and some of the jargon specialized to the Canadian courts.
Over the past few months dealing with the pandemic and assisting and advising my clients in all things COVID, I began working with a consortium of employment attorneys across the country formed through the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Our weekly Zoom sessions with almost a dozen attorneys (the “Hive”) were instrumental in my being able to guide my clients through the myriad of issues they were (and are still) facing in terms of federal, state, and local legislation, competing regulations and guidelines, and navigating COVID outbreaks in the workplace. The way this group of women came together helping each other professionally (and personally) was inspiring and revealed the true power of teamwork and cooperation.