Associate // Wexler Wallace LLP
Description of your practice:
My practice focuses on pharmaceutical and medical device products liability cases. Our firm specializes in representing plaintiffs in class actions and mass torts against corporations and organizations. Coincidentally, I represent many women – women who have suffered from vaginal mesh, birth control devices such as Essure and Paragard, and women who have suffered from their use of Elmiron. I also represent people from an extremely vulnerable population, those who have been injured by their use of tenofovir drugs (often collectively referred to as Truvada) to treat their HIV/AIDs.
Why are you a member of the WBAI?
I joined the WBAI for camaraderie – I started my career in plaintiff’s personal injury which is still a heavily male dominated field. A mentor suggested that I become involved and it has proven to be a great way to meet and connect with women who are leaders in their respective fields.
Tell us about a story or time when being a female attorney was advantageous.
Last February, I was at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, California for a full day of hearings in the Essure mass tort litigation (plaintiffs from all over the country have claims consolidated under California’s Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings in Oakland). Essure is a permanent means of contraception that is implanted in a woman’s fallopian tubes – a device that uniquely effects women.
At these hearings, I was struck but an uncommon, but very welcome, sight. Judge Winifred Smith perched on her bench peering through her stylish acrylic framed glasses into the small and crowded 1970s styled courtroom. At counsel table, fifteen trial lawyers smartly dressed – thirteen of them women. I had never seen a woman presiding over a courtroom of majority women lawyers in positions of leadership litigating issues that effected women. Mayor Lightfoot said it best at the 2nd Annal Women in Law Conference last year: “There should be nothing about us without us.”
My colleague, Michelle Lukic, and I were given the opportunity to argue certain plaintiffs’ motions in limine to exclude defense experts and our responses to defendant’s motions for summary judgment against our clients. At the conclusion of the hearing, co-counsel and opposing counsel were overwhelming supportive – offering commendations and support. It was unexpected, but very appreciated to have multiple senior women attorneys provide their unsolicited advice; my favorite – “Be yourself.”
What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
Both professionally and personally, I am most looking forward to seeing people in person again. I cannot wait to hug my parents and to see my friends and colleagues.
Tell us something interesting about you.
I was on the sailing team in high school and college. I attribute my ability to remain cool under pressure as a lawyer to my racing days. I will never forget capsizing my dinghy boat mid-race on Lake Delavan in March and righting the boat in 25+ knot wind gusts. I did not win the race, but I learned a valuable life lesson that winning is not always what matters. It is safe to say I do not miss sailing regattas in frigid March weather, but my happy place is still out on the water.