By Esther Goldschlager • November 13, 2015•Ms. JD
Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with Danielle Boccio. Danielle is an attorney and an author based in New York. I hope that you will enjoy reading about her career.
1) Please provide a brief summary of your professional background.
I have worked at the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, since September 2003. Specifically, I work as a juvenile delinquency prosecutor in the Family Court Division. I am in the Special Victim Unit as well as the Major Case Unit.
2) What prompted you to attend law school? Did you want to be a lawyer or did you want to use the skills learned in law school to carve a different path?
It is interesting how I even found the path to law school. I graduated high school with aspirations to go to medical school and become a pediatrician. During college, I had a summer internship at the University of Texas at Houston where I collected urine specimens from youth in a juvenile detention center to test them for chlamydia trachomatis. That experience taught me that I was more interested in the youths’ legal histories than their medical histories. I began to reconsider my goals. Then one day, I was walking through campus with one of my best friends who said she was thinking of going to law school. That’s really the first time it dawned on me that maybe that’s what my goal should be. In whatever career I chose, I knew I wanted to help children in some capacity. I ultimately chose to go to Hamline University School of Law because they had a Children and the Law concentration. Once I chose the legal path, my goal was to become a lawyer to help children in some capacity.
3) You are a Juvenile Delinquency Prosecutor in Queens, New York. What does your job entail?
My job involves investigating and prosecuting juvenile delinquency cases in Queens Family Court, in which I manage a large caseload from the time it is referred to my office through disposition (the equivalent of sentencing). My duties include interviewing victims and witnesses, conducting investigations, legal research and trials, engaging in settlement negotiations, as well as drafting and answering motions. I sometimes get an odd look when I tell people that I knew I wanted to help children as a lawyer and I get, “But you prosecute them, don’t you?” As a prosecutor, I have the opportunity towards the end of a juvenile delinquency case to argue for what disposition (sentencing) is the least restrictive and most appropriate for that particular youth. In that way, I’m assisting in the rehabilitation of the youth I prosecute. Additionally, many of the victims that I interview are also children. I often speak to children and their families, right after a traumatic event and I’m glad to be able to assist in making the court process as easy as it could be, so they can begin healing.
4) You are also the author of two children’s books. How did this come about? Please tell me about the books and how the readers can purchase the books if interested.
Writing has always been a passion of mine, but had been put on the back burner when I went to law school and became a lawyer. It resurfaced after I had my first child and I started reading a ridiculous amount of children’s books. One evening when my daughter was very young, probably around 3 years old, she came up with a rhyme about “bees on knees” and I had thought it would be a good exercise with her to write a story based on that. She lost interest pretty quickly, but I went with it and wrote the entire story within a couple hours. I did not initially intend to have it published, but I read it to my mom and she reacted as if I was the next Dr. Seuss. It was her encouragement that convinced me to give it a try. I got many rejection letters and ultimately came across MeeGenius.com, an electronic publishing company. I got my first break from them. They published Little Brooke in 2013 and then The Popcorn Predicament in 2014. MeeGenius was recently acquired by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.
Little Brooke and The Popcorn Predicament, both electronic books, can be purchased by clicking on the following links: http://www.meegenius.com/book/43dd8f52de12dbbbd3eba8bdfbd012ab and http://www.meegenius.com/book/6c21ebdf052f6fca2e0f42db3a532d70.
5) Do you have specific advice for newly minted female lawyers/JDs who are embarking upon their careers?
Our careers become so important to us. We spent how many years of our life to get where we are? Not to mention the loans! So, of course our careers often define who we are. My advice would be to not forget those other things that make us happy and make sure you schedule those into your schedule. Not with a pencil but a big fat black magic marker. Writing is one of those things for me. It lets me be creative, forget about the stressors of work and life in general, and at the end provides something I can share with my kids.
6) Is there anything that I did not mention that would be helpful for the readers to know about your career path?
Although I was always goal oriented, much of how I got to where I am just kind of fell in place. For example, when I was in law school I really wanted a summer internship in California that I did not get. So, I went to the Bronx for an internship that I got through The Legal Aid Society. This was right after September 11th and I truly had no interest in going to New York City. I went because I knew it would be a good opportunity even though it was not my first choice. I met my husband that summer and since graduating law school, I left the midwest and have been a New Yorker ever since. So, don't be discouraged if things don't always go exactly as planned.
Danielle Boccio is a Senior Counsel at the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, Family Court Division. Danielle is a '00 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she double majored in English writing and psychology, and graduated with honors. She is also a '03 graduate of Hamline University School of Law, where she earned her JD. Additionally, Danielle is a published children's book author via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. When she is not lawyering, she loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, and snuggle with her little ones. You may spot her writing her next children's book on her iPhone.
More information can be found here: http://danibrandstetter7.wix.com/daniellebocciobooks. Her author page can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DanielleBoccioKidBooks and make sure to give it a like! Also check her out on Goodreads.com. She always appreciates an honest rating and review on either or both of her books.