Attorney Jill D. Manges: Putting Passion into Practice
Lukenbill & Lukenbill Attorney, Jill D. Manges, has over 20 years of experience representing clients throughout Indiana – focusing her practice in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death litigation.
She found her niche through determination and the willingness to embrace a challenge.
Jill began her college career with her sights set on Medical School and becoming a physician. In her junior year, while majoring in both nursing and pre-med, Jill began hospital rotations – and had her first glimpse of what life as a doctor might be like. It was then she first realized she may not be pursuing her passion.
“I began speaking to female residents, asking them if they had a chance to do it again – would they make the same choice? And many of them said no,” Jill recalled. “At that point I began analyzing whether I made the right choice. I talked to one of my professors and she said, ‘Oh Jill – I see you as a lawyer. You write well, you speak well – that’s what lawyers do.’”
Though a legal career wasn’t something Jill had thought about, it began to make sense. Both her father and grandfather were very involved in politics, and public speaking came naturally to Jill. Her next step was calling Valpo Law School and asking if she could audit a few classes.
“I spent a day or two watching these sessions and realized, yes, I’m connecting with this,” Jill explained. “I connected with it in a way I never had with nursing school.”
Jill made the decision then and there to switch career paths and pursue law school – to follow the path toward a passion she knew would last a lifetime. Being a junior at the time, Jill dropped pre-med and continued to finish her Nursing degree. She graduated a year later with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, became an RN and went straight onto law school. Throughout her time at Valparaiso University School of Law, Jill worked as a PRN (or as needed) nurse on weekends.
“That time, working through law school gave me a lot of unique medical background as an attorney,” Jill said. “There are not a lot of nurse attorneys.”
It was this coupling – of Jill being a “lawyer nurse” that led her to her focus on medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death cases.
“It was a natural pairing because of my medical background,” Jill explained.
One thing Jill quickly realized is that often doctors don’t have the best bedside manner, and it can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.
“The average person doesn’t understand what is happening to them medically. A lot of lawsuits could be avoided if doctors would explain exactly what is going on, and spend more time communicating,” she said. “Patient will assume malpractice and there isn’t – and that could be avoided with better communication. Even in legitimate claims, the average person just doesn’t have background to navigate these situations alone.”
Today, Jill uses her education and existing license as a Registered Nurse to serve as an effective and compassionate voice for injured clients. Jill’s experience includes representing plaintiffs in wrongful death or serious injury cases arising from medical mistake. Over the past two decades, she has successfully tried cases before judges and juries across Indiana.
From reviewing medical records to taking depositions from doctors, being versed in the medical field serves Jill and her clients well.
“You have to be able to understand the language to ask the right questions, to think fast on your feet,” Jill said. “If you don’t know what a doctor is saying and how to respond, you aren’t going to win.”
Often her experience saves clients money. While many attorneys would have to pay medical experts to review files – with those expenses coming off any legal winnings of the clients – Jill is able to do much of the work herself, allowing her clients to save money in the end.
Above all, Jill works to be a voice for her clients – many of whom are finding themselves dealing with some of the most difficult moments of their lives.
“For my clients, something has gone horribly wrong. They are facing bankruptcy or huge medical bills. They have lost a child or loved one or are facing something tragic and they do not know how to make it right again,” Jill said. “I want to be their voice in the legal world and allow them to get their life back on the rails. Our clients essentially are turning their lives over to us, and we are walking with them through this whole process. I often say this is why they call lawyers counselors. We are counseling them every step of the way.”
If you or a loved one has experienced a medical or surgical error, choosing the right law firm to walk you through the process is critical. Let Jill D. Manges and all of us at Lukenbill & Lukenbill put our expertise to work for you. Contact Us to learn more about what your next step should be.