Purposeful. That’s the word for Samantha Koeninger Rittgers.
She grew up in rural Campbell County, Kentucky, just beyond Alexandria on a farm her grandfather purchased at a time when it was still possible to make a living with a small piece of land. She is the first college graduate in her family. From her father, she learned the value of hard work. She credits him with inspiring her to pursue a career where she could apply her mind more, her hands less. Her mother remains her biggest cheerleader. “My mom taught me to be considerate. Without fail, we look at any situation from the other person’s perspective.”
Samantha worked her way through Northern Kentucky University and Chase College of Law, taking classes by day and working at night hosting and serving at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. During law school she kept that job and added other positions with the legal departments at GE Aviation, Luxottica and Kroger so she could learn about employment and corporate legal issues.
“My plan was to work in a law firm, so I wanted to understand the business world,” she says, adding that, despite her legal experiences, some of the lessons she values most were learned in the restaurant.
“It’s so important to understand what the client wants and to provide it in a way that’s better than anyone else. People have different goals. Understanding each person’s goal and determining how to best achieve it is the key to success in any service industry -- including law.”
Samantha strikes you as someone who intends to never stop looking for ways to experience new things and grow. Shortly after taking the bar exam, she began taking piano lessons because she wanted to tap into that unexplored corner of her mind and learn how to put it to work in other areas of her life. Her plan is to learn to play classical pieces.
Her first trip out of the country was to Nicaragua in 2009 as a volunteer with the Women’s Crisis Center in Covington. In Managua, she helped raise money for local victims of human trafficking. She made two return trips as a volunteer with other non-profits, working to help facilitate water sanitation and economic development in rural communities.
“My experiences in Nicaragua taught me to keep things in perspective,” she says.
Her taste in reading tends to non-fiction, with such titles as “The Power of Habit” and “Knowing Your Value.” She has a habit of rising at 6 a.m. so she can get in her daily five-mile run. She listens to podcasts, mainly TED talks, while she runs.
Her focus at the Firm is on labor and employment – areas she understands from both a firm perspective and company perspective. She believes if she has the desire, she will be able to achieve any goal she chooses in her work and in her life.
Samantha practices in all areas of employment law. She counsels management on a broad spectrum of day-to-day matters, including discipline, workplace harassment, compliance with federal and state laws, termination, and wage and hour issues. She defends employers in employment litigation before state and federal agencies involving race, gender, national origin discrimination and sexual harassment claims. She also has experience conducting customized in-house training sessions for both managers and employees on respectful workplace, discrimination and general human resources policies.
Prior to law school, Samantha spent a semester at the Kentucky State Capitol working for a local state representative. After her time in state government, she explored federal law and interned in Washington, D.C. for a member of the House of Representatives. While attending law school, Samantha worked in the legal department of GE Aviation, Luxittoca and Kroger, and interned for the Honorable Michael Barrett. Samantha’s experiences working for the government and the legal departments for several large corporations gives her a unique perspective and is helpful in counseling employers on their employee issues.
On the weekends, you can find Samantha either running or at hot yoga. And when permitted, Hank, her pup, will be with her. She takes him everywhere.