Email: [email protected]
- Northwestern CA School of Law, JD
Teacher of the Year (Criminal Law, Legal English)
Get to Know Jennifer:
What is your favorite part of working in a law firm?
Working in an environment that is constantly evolving. Having the opportunity to continue learning, thinking, and growing, and working with others who do the same. Being able to help people in need.
What part of the legal process are you most passionate about? Why?
This is a hard question as I have different experiences on this front. The thing that has been most inspiring and has stirred the strongest emotional reaction for me has been seeing younger generations who have been raised in corrupt legal systems but who are striving for a career in law actually connect with the law on a personal and practical level and seeing them process that there are different types of laws meant to protect people from the types of harms they or their loved ones have been exposed to.
On a more local level, it is incredibly rewarding to work with someone who has been mistreated in the eyes of the law, even if their culture or society views those actions as tolerable, and to help them sort through their circumstances, to offer support through the legal process, and help them find a path that is validating, empowering and provides them with a sense of rectification.
In this line of work, it is knowing that I am working to help someone get a fresh start. So often bankruptcy is driven by some sort of breakdown, a health or marital crisis, and people are facing one personal, seemingly insurmountable, challenge after another. It’s rewarding working to help someone start anew.
What drew you to the legal profession?
I am a third generation law professor and one of about a dozen legally educated people in my family. (The fourth generation is starting to come of age and is also expressing an interest in law, led by my daughter. Working in the legal industry was actually my back-up plan after realizing that my desired career path wasn’t a practical choice as a single parent. As she got older I made another attempt to change courses but ended up transitioning into a second career as a law professor, overseas. That is what really solidified for me the value of a legal education and practical lawyers. I’m truly grateful for my education and chosen line of work and all the experiences it has afforded me.
Is there a specific story, anecdote, or person that influenced you to work in the legal profession?
There are a number, but it’s really more a culmination – my grandfather ensuring some of the parks and lakes in my hometown are permanently protected for the public; hearing about his life in a small remote town, working as the general attorney and being paid with chickens and livestock and however his clients could show their gratitude; working side by side with his secretary and seeing how bills for his low income clients never made their way out the door as he truly cared for those he helped and would never want to cause them embarrassment or have them hesitate to reach out when they needed help. Seeing my father balance his practice and family and take on leadership roles in various community-oriented organizations peripherally related to his work. My immediate family has chosen law as a mechanism to help people who are going through a hard time, which is something I find admirable. I was also enthralled hearing about cases with the Hari Krishna mafia, clandestine meetings under cover of night, and smuggled diamonds.
Later in life – seeing my students grow and start to understand their value as (or for) women as they look beyond the structures of some archaic and subservient societies – listening to them talk through their personal development regarding autonomy over their body and sense of self. Preparing for a trip to educate the citizens of a 3rd world country (called off due to major civil unrest and another coup) as the nation lacks any source of legal education and is led by the whim of the military and their generals’ personal desires for gain. The citizens who have lived on the land for generations are being told their land and all their profits are now some military leader’s; we were offering legal training and support to the newer generation to challenge such statements, enable them to provide legal analysis, and bring these issues into court, despite lacking a formal legal education.
What aspects of your job do you most value?
Being able to provide assistance and support to people who need help.
Outside of the office, what are you passionate about/involved in?
I lived overseas for a number of years and absolutely love to travel. I’ve been fortunate in that I used to do a lot of international travel for work; every time I went somewhere I already had a connection in place. I love experiencing new foods, learning about the local culture and environment, learning about the history of a region, and hearing about what makes someplace unique in the eyes of the locals.
Also, I am a huge soccer/football fan. I’m not so caught up in the specific teams anymore, I just love watching the sport. I’ve coached soccer, swimming, and softball.
Gardening. I keep trying to grow plants and vegetables but so far I’ve only had a lot of success with tomatoes. That sounds great, but tomatoes thrive when they’re deprived of water. While they’re accumulating sugar, everything else is dying.
Reading. It can be relaxing, inspiring, informative, and step outside of reality.
My husband and I started ballroom dancing a few years ago but have taken a break during the pandemic. I know we’re both eager to get back to it.
I enjoy volunteering and have done so for the Red Cross, food banks, 4Cs, and as an English teacher in an immersion program in Poland.
What are your favorite sports teams?
Giants and the Warriors. I grew up as a Niner fan, but football has kind of fallen off my radar. Even when I lived overseas, I’d make a point to get to a Giants game during my summer visit home.
What are your favorite places to grab a meal in your community?
Pasta Prego, Grace’s Table, Cordiero’s Steakhouse, Paradise Sushi, Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, my parents’ house
Are you married? Do you have children? Grandchildren?
I’m married and have both my own daughter and a bonus daughter. (The bonus daughter and I had a serious conversation one day about not wanting to be “step-anything”. She declared that in movies and books step-mothers aren’t very good, step-daughters are pretty unhappy and the two never get along. Since that’s not like us, we picked a different word. We’re “bonus” because that’s the extra special thing you get when you get something else.) Despite being about 20 years apart the girls share a love of computer games. We also have two dogs.
What is your favorite book? TV show? Movie?
TV – I’ve been enjoying The Nevers, Mare of Easttown, The Good Place, and Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeast.
Books – My favorite book is The Master and Margarita. I read a lot and have discovered after finding something I love, fairly often my favorite books were written by banned Russian writers; another such novel is We, which has been turned into a film to be released in fall 2021. I also really enjoy Margaret Atwood, especially her Oryx and Crake series. Her research into obscure science and political and religious structures and the fact that her stories are rooted in existing science and structures makes her books all the more engaging and, at times, frightening.
Is there anything you would like a prospective client to know about the firm?
When I applied to work here it wasn’t because it was a law firm in the same field as my past experience, it was because of the way the job description and the firm’s constitution were written. They both made it very clear that WCFLB values people, the people who work with them as employees and the people they take on as clients. The firm is selective about both so you know you have their care and attention.