By RITA DUCKWORTH
Untress Quinn joined Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard in August 2016. He has been practicing law for nearly a dozen years but took an un-conventional route to get there. It turns out his previous career as a nurse helps him excel in his current role.
At Sandberg Phoenix, Quinn argues for the defense in civil cases. He defends doctors, hospitals and healthcare workers in malpractice claims. He also litigates civil rights claims that originate from the corrections environment. “I have some business clients as well, but because of my background, healthcare makes up the majority of my work at this point.”
Growing up in East St. Louis, Quinn always thought he wanted to be a lawyer, but didn’t know what was involved and what it took. “I’d never met an attorney; I’d never talked to an attorney,” he says. “I lacked exposure and didn’t know what I needed to do.”
He went in a different direction, joining the U.S. Air Force Reserves as a medic. It was a good fit, and he would have gone active duty had it not been for cuts in the defense budget that limited his opportunities. He started working at Saint Louis University Hospital in the cardio-thoracic unit as a patient care assistant.
“I was still trying to decided what I wanted to do,” says Quinn. “Being exposed to the health-care environment and a lot of wonderful nurses, I chose nursing.” He attended Lutheran School of Nursing in St. Louis and became a registered nurse.
He thrived in his role but was still interested in the field of law.
“I always had a passion for justice and basic, fundamental fairness,” he says. “One day I saw a story in the news – something to do with the justice system and the law – and it triggered something in me and reignited that passion. I felt I could make more of a difference as an attorney than in the medical field.”
He was accepted into Saint Louis University School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctorate.
Equal to his passion for the law is Quinn’s dedication to giving back. Remembering his own lack of exposure to possibilities, mentoring youth is very important to him. In addition to professional legal organizations, he is on the board of several service organizations such as the Illinois Center for Autism, St. Clair County Child Advocacy Center and the Student Nurse Achievement Program.
“When you are in a position to have any influence, you need to participate in things that make a positive difference in the community,” he said. “You have to use your gifts and tools to make positive change and impact.”
Quinn resides in Shiloh with his wife and children.