Email: [email protected]
- Sonoma State University–BA Global Studies 1999
- Empire School of Law, Master of Legal Studies 2014 and Juris Doctor 2014
Get to Know Alisha:
What is your favorite part of working in a law firm?
I enjoy helping others in their time of need. I have always had a job working with the public. I feel that working in a firm allows me the ability to use my skills to “think outside the box” to help others.
I have a JD from Empire School of Law and I feel that working in the firm allows me to use my degree even though I am not an attorney. I feel that the knowledge and skills that I learned in law school help me daily in my duties at the firm. Law school definitely made me think more analytically, which is imperative when deciphering the client’s documents and creating the legal documents for filing. Not every problem has only one solution. I believe my legal knowledge obtained from law school allows me the ability to find more than one solution to many problems, which is very beneficial to the client.
What part of the legal process are you most passionate about? Why?
I am, by far, a “behind the scenes” kind of person, I enjoy working with the client and preparing cases for court. I enjoy digging deep into their documents and lives of the clients to ensure that their situation is portrayed correctly in the court records. I believe most cases are won or lost by the preparation work done prior to court rather than what transpires in the courtroom.
I also enjoy research and being creative in the application of the law. I don’t shy away from an argument because I know that I have researched the legal standings and that my position is backed by the law and facts.
What drew you to the legal profession?
My desire to help those in need is greater when it involves my family. Years ago, I was working for the tech industry and my sister’s husband left her with two small kids. He refused to pay child support and she came to me for help. In my nature, I researched how to “force” him to pay. I was bound and determined to ensure that my sister got the help she needed. I made numerous calls to the child support office in hopes of obtaining the help she needed. Reluctant to talk to a non-party, I did not get very far with them. So, I next researched how to get a job working there. A few short months later, I was an employee of the Dept. of Child Support Services. I quickly moved from file clerk to caseworker to lead caseworker. I used my sister’s experience with her ex to drive me to help others. I worked for DCSS for 9 years before going to work for a private law firm.
Years later, my sister decided to divorce her ex (that she had been separated from for years.) She could not afford to hire a family law attorney, so naturally, I began researching. The divorce was amicable and there were no assets to separate. She already had the child support order and the ex was willing to agree. I found the required forms needed and how the divorce process worked from the court website and I prepared all the paperwork for them. Hence, my first family law case.
Is there a specific story, anecdote or person that influenced you to work in the legal profession?
While I was working at DCSS, I worked in several different units but my longest position was as the lead worker in the (order) modification unit. This unit works directly under attorneys. We would interview clients, attend hearings, and modify court orders. Working so closely with the attorneys gave me my first real taste of a legal career. There were two attorneys in specific, who would request that their cases be handled only by me. I learned so much about the law working under them. They would repeatedly tell me that I should attend law school, as the law just came naturally to me. Finally, 7 years into my career at DCSS, I began attending law school so that I could help more people than just DCSS clients and my sister.
What aspects of your job do you most value?
By far, I value the relationship with my co-workers and clients the most about my job. I believe that the client needs to fully trust us. They are disclosing their finances and personal problems to us in which could easily be one of their darkest moments. They need to feel comfortable and know that we are there for them. They need to know we understand and am willing to help them. The client also needs to see that the firm works together amicably for the betterment of the client. Clients feel more comfortable when they see that a firm that works as a team, working together toward the client’s goal.
Outside of the office, what are you passionate about/involved in?
Both my teenage girls are athletic (they get it from their dad!). My oldest plays recreational soccer and high school lacrosse. My youngest play competitive soccer. We spend most our free time and weekends on a field and driving to matches. My husband and I made a pact when our girls starting playing, that they would never play a game without at least one parent on the sidelines. While high school sports make that difficult, as games are after school, we do our best to at least be there for part of the game. We haven’t made this goal 100% but we are pretty close. My husband is the assistant coach of the rec soccer team so many times when the girls’ game times overlap, we have to divide and conquer. When only one is playing, the other enjoys watching their sister play.
I also volunteer as the travel coordinator for my youngest daughter’s team. In legal terms that means, I get to research!! Hotels, flights, restaurants, things to do, and create agendas for our out of town trips.
Another passion that our family has is traveling and making memories together. We travel just the 4 of us or with our extended families. We like to travel up to 10 days at a time to places all over the world (our favorite is Aruba!) When my youngest was 15 months old, we went on this amazing cruise and land vacation with my husband’s entire family. I got amazing pictures of my daughter with her grandparents and made so many memories. Two short months later, my father in law suddenly passed away. From that day forward, my husband and I vowed to make sure that we always travel together and make memories, as that is all that is left after someone passes.
What are your favorite sports teams?
I am not really “into” sports but if one of my daughters are playing, you can find me on the sidelines yelling and cheering my heart out. Occasionally, I have been known to even yell at the refs for bad calls. My daughters play soccer and lacrosse, while I did not know anything about sports before they began playing, you can bet I do now!. Knowing that I needed to understand the game, I did what all legal minds do and researched the rules of the game, the rules for each age group (as they differ depending on age), the responsibility of the refs and different plays and formations. So… when I am yelling at the ref, you can bet I have the facts to back up my case and I am not shy about it.
My husband grew up as an avid Oakland fan, both the Raiders and A’s. They are such die-hard fans that they follow the Raiders each time they relocate. You can find him in front of the TV for each game. While I can not get into the sport of football, I do enjoy attending live A’s games with him and our girls. Personally, I go for the food and not the actual game (each inning deserves a different snack – isn’t that how all fans watch sports?)
What are your favorite places to grab a meal in your community?
While I did not grow up in this area, I have lived here since I was 18 years old. I am very much into the community and prefer to do everything local and support the community. My favorites places to grab food are locally-owned restaurants. I like to search out restaurants that are new and upcoming and not well known yet. I adore the Stark Restaurant chain (Brava’s is my favorite) but I also enjoy the chicken waffle sandwich at Sonoma Crust. Sushi is a staple in our house and you can find us at Toyo Sushi quite often. In all honesty, though, I prefer my own cooking to any restaurant. I adore cooking and making new recipes and both my daughters are quite amazing in the kitchen as well. Most weekends, you can find us in our backyard grilling up all kinds of food on one of the 3 different BBQs that we have (propane, wood fire, and Traeger). I think my husband’s favorite thing to do is to find a dish and ask. “Can you make this?” to which I always answer, “Of course I can!”
Are you married? Do you have children? Grandchildren?
My husband and I have been married for over 20 years. We met in college and married shortly after graduation. We have two teenage daughters. There are no grandchildren yet but I know there will be someday.
What is your favorite book? TV show? Movie?
I am not much of a TV person but if I do sit down to watch a show, I most likely watch repeats of Criminal Minds (oddly enough I like to watch this in bed right before I go to sleep). I also like SWAT and Seal Team. My husband and I like to binge-watch the Narcos and documentaries about the drug cartels on Netflix on our lazy days. My favorite movies are The American President and Pretty Woman.