1. What made you become a lawyer?
I was a speech and drama major at Syracuse University. I wanted to be a sports announcer. When I graduated, I couldn’t even get someone to return my calls let alone a job offer. I decided I’d go to law school and become a sports attorney if I couldn’t announce. Well, that didn’t work out either. I couldn’t find a job in the area. I would have had to move to California and I was not up for it at the time.
2. What will be the biggest challenge for the generation behind you?
If you mean the new generation of trial attorneys, the biggest challenge will be the competition from other attorneys who successfully use the internet to bring in clients based on nothing more than their ad. Historically, clients came because of your reputation which you assiduously built by appearing in court. That’s how the judges saw how skilled you were and how the other attorneys got to know you. When I first started practicing, motions were set every Friday. As the court saw more cases, it became daily. Our courts have now revamped the civil system to discourage court appearances. That prevents young attorneys from getting to practice and show off their trial skills and get to know the judges and vice versa. They won’t have the courtroom experience that is vital to doing trial work.
3. What is the most interesting case you’ve ever had?
I recently lost a very complex case at the trial level through no fault of our own, instead due to a bad judge. However, we prevailed on appeal. Our client’s former husband worked for the World Bank. The Bank is an international organization and has immunities from US law. As a result, the Bank won’t honor an order from an American court to divide a World Bank pension. The US courts have to disguise the pension division by calling it alimony. The trial judge gave our client far less than half the pension, which we believed she deserved. The Court of Special Appeals reversed the trial judge and told her to reconsider her award.
4. How do you measure success?
I believe I have been successful when my client has been protected, and when I have achieved my client’s realistic goals. Also, winning cases counts as success.
5. What do you look forward to when you go to work every day?
I look forward to coming up with solutions that solve a problem which plagues my client. Also, I look forward to working with my dedicated team of attorneys and support staff.