Justice Almet F. Jenks was born on May 21, 1853 in Brooklyn. His father, Grenville T. Jenks, was a lawyer, and his great-grandfather, John Phillips, was the first mayor of Boston. In 1875 he graduated from Yale University, where he was editor of the Yale Literary Magazine and class historian in his senior year, and was a member of Skull and Bones and other fraternal organizations. Jenks earned an LLB from Columbia Law School in 1877. From 1878 until 1884, he worked as a junior member at the law firm of Ward & Jenks. He served as Assistant District Attorney of Kings County from 1884 until 1886, then as corporation counsel of Brooklyn until 1894. That year, Jenks served on the Judiciary Committee of the Constitutional Convention. He served under Governor Hill as Judge Advocate General of New York State from 1891 until 1895. In 1898 he worked as an assistant corporation counsel for New York City.
Jenks resigned from the post of assistant corporation counsel after winning election to the Supreme Court. In 1900, he was designated by Governor Roosevelt to the Appellate Division, Second Department and he was named that court’s Presiding Justice in 1911. He retired from the bench in April 1921 to return to the private practice of law, citing financial reasons and calling for increased pay for Supreme Court Justices. He then held the position of senior partner at the firm of Jenks & Rogers.
In additional to his legal and judicial work, Jenks was a Major and Judge Advocate of 2d Brigade for the New York National Guard in 1891 and 1892, was President of the Yale Alumni Association of Long Island from 1915 until 1921, and was a special lecturer on professional ethics at St. Lawrence University from 1921 until 1922. He was also a member of organizations such as the Brooklyn and Hamilton Clubs and the Society of Colonial Wars.
His second marriage was to Lena Barre in 1891, with whom he had two children. He died on September 18, 1924 at a hotel in Greenwich, Connecticut at the age of 71.
“Ex-Justice Jenks Dies of Apoplexy.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 23. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Sep 19 1924. Web. 2 Feb. 2012.
“Obituary Record of Yale Graduates 1924-1925.” Bulletin of Yale University (1925): 1326-1327. Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. http://mssa.library.yale.edu/obituary_record/1859_1924/1924-25.pdf.