By Alexis Alvarez • April 12, 2011•Mentoring and Networking
Editors Note: This post was submitted by Alexis Alvarez, a 2010 Ms. JD Fellow. The Ms. JD Fellowship is the result of partnership between Ms. JD and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Fellows, who are rising 3Ls, are paired with an ABA Commissioner or Margaret Brent Award Winner as part of a year long mentorship. Applications for this year's fellowship are now available and are due on March 1, 2014. Apply today!
Soon after Ms. JD notified me that I had been selected as a 2010 Ms. JD fellow, I met my wonderful new mentor, then California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet, at a small sushi restaurant in downtown San Francisco. She greeted me with a warm smile, said “please, call me Angela,” and told me how excited she was to have me as a mentee, or as she likes to call me her “Brentee.” Over our bento boxes, we started to talk about our backgrounds and how the two of us came to be sharing a delicious meal in the heart of San Francisco.
I, of course, was ecstatic to have such an amazing individual for a mentor. At the age of twenty-four, she set out from England determined to make a name for herself in the United States, and she has succeeded in doing so much more. In addition to the twenty-five years that Angela spent working for Carroll, Burdick and McDonough culminating in her position as firm-wide managing partner, her subsequent service as state labor commissioner, and her recent appointment as a newly-appointed San Francisco County Superior Court Judge, Angela Bradstreet has dedicated her time to advocating for women’s rights and the GLBT community, shattering glass ceilings, and serving as president of various legal organizations including the San Francisco Bar Association. In 2007, as a recognition of her amazing work, she received the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.
In spite of all the demands on her time, Angela made a commitment to act as a mentor to law students, of which I am one of the fortunate. I had the honor of attending her induction ceremony, joining her at a couple of the ABA’s Commission for Women in the Profession meetings, and seeing her in action in court. From the beginning, she expressed a sincere desire to get to know me and to share her insights and her experiences so that I may have a better foundation to succeed as an attorney. In that same spirit, I would like to share some tips with the Ms. JD community that my mentor -- one of the “Top 75 Women Litigators in California” -- shared with me about being an effective trial attorney.
Her tips for up-and-coming trial attorneys are:
(1) Pretrial Preparation: The case is frequently won or lost in the pretrial phase. It is, therefore, important to establish your strategy early, which means obtaining a thorough grasp of the legal issues early on and being well prepared for all depositions.
(2) Don't try to emulate partners at the firm; while learning from them, nevertheless, establish your own style that you are comfortable with.
(3) And don't beat yourself up after a loss in court or a deposition where you may have forgotten to ask question! I have never taken a deposition where I have not thought of a question later that I didn't ask!!
(4) Finally, always conduct yourself in the highest professional and ethical manner. Your reputation depends on it and will make a difference in your ability to resolve cases.
Thank you Angela!