Rochael Soper is our twelfth Legal Highlight. Soper is a negotiator and an entertainment lawyer practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. I learned about her when she was interviewed for a San Francisco Chronicle article "ZEN and the art of lawyering." (idealawg blog post on that article.)
Please click back to the first of the Legal Highlights to learn about the Legal Highlights process and the reason behind this idealawg feature which focuses on what is right and working well in the legal profession. Here are all the Legal Highlight interviews.
And now read on the see what this Legal Highlight has to say in response to the seven questions . . .
1) Think about your experience in the legal profession and of a specific incident or event that made you feel extremely satisfied or proud. Give a brief description of the incident or event. The reasons I felt satisfied or proud were . . .
Recently I had an opportunity to raise the issue of diversity (particularly racial) with a client of mine and how they, as a company, might be depriving themselves and their clients of the benefits of having a more diverse community of employees. And conversely, how being a company composed mostly of white, educated, upper middle class people, they were likely recycling and reinforcing conclusions and insights rather than really expanding their borders. I shared with them how many law firms’ clients had demanded diversity from the law firms that represented them and posed that they may want to consider diversifying before their clients either imposed it on them or went with competitors who did understand the benefits of diversity. I was able to share this because of the emphasis in California on elimination of bias in the profession and the many lectures I’ve listened to or discussions I’ve led on the topic. Many at my client were surprised to hear that the legal profession had been so dynamic in their efforts to diversify.
2) I attended law school because . . .
I was smart and loved learning and knew I would continue on to graduate school of some kind. I was drawn to law school because it was a great degree to have and I felt it would give me many opportunities in life.
3) I would recommend the practice of law because . . .
I do not recommend the practice of law often because I sense that many people get into the law for the wrong reasons and end up being very unhappy. I also do not recommend the practice of law in large law firms beyond a couple of years of training because my experience in big firms was very life-depleting. I would recommend the practice for people who feel strongly about the role of law in society and the need for good stewards of the law.
4) My colleagues who practice law appreciate doing so because . . .
They see how important effective representation is not only to individual clients but to our legal system as a whole.
5) The benefits lawyers contribute to society are . .
Good lawyers effect positive change in the lives of those who are oppressed or unable to have a voice by offering them a voice, speaking truth to power, and giving people who otherwise have no or few options an avenue for change.
6) The factors that make up the heart and the soul of law are . . .
Fairness. Clarity. Protection for the vulnerable.
7) Think of a lawyer you consider a role model. The traits or values I respect or admire about him or her are . . .
The ability to deal with strong emotions (emotions of the client and of the opposing party) with integrity and fairness while keeping the big picture in mind. The ability to treat all persons involved in a legal situation with respect and fairness while advocating vigorously on behalf of the client.