As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, we will be posting a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.
This week, we profile sole practitioner Mary C. Rupp:
CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?
Mary: I practice family law, which was a natural segue for me. My former career in the 1980’s was in speech/language pathology and I taught in special education classrooms for many years. My experiences in dealing with family issues, child development, schools, etc. enhance my law practice. Also, I chose family law when I first started my practice in 1994 because I needed to charge an hourly rate to pay my monthly bills!
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Mary: I like having my own practice in family law, a field that is intellectually stimulating and challenging, and certainly never boring. Being a solo practitioner allows me the freedom to plan my own work schedule and to travel extensively each year to far away places, something I couldn’t do if I worked for a busy law firm. I have the luxury and opportunity to choose interesting people as clients, and help to restore some order – and optimism – to their lives.
I dislike time limitations and deadlines. Although I will acknowledge that discovery is often essential, I’m not fond of it, either propounding or responding to demands.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Mary: A wise attorney told me long ago to “Start with the Code,” i.e., researching the code first to investigate the applicable provisions. Then the practice guides help with interpretation and relevant case law. When I prepare to litigate issues in court, I use Jefferson’s California Evidence Benchbook, and the California Expert Witness Guide, as well as CEB’s California Trial Objections.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Mary: The economic crisis (state and national) continues to dictate how accessible our courts are to the general public. Where family law is concerned, the delays in getting a court date, the crowded calendars, the backlog, and the lack of consistency in family law judicial officers has been negatively impacting my practice for years now. I believe that technological advances may help with accessibility to the court. Maybe we will have our judicial officers hearing cases from home, as they do now in certain fields to accommodate remote counties. Also, I feel that mediation and collaborative law will continue to grow in popularity, and if the parties can afford it, private judging in family law matters may be the preferred way to avoid the crowded calendars and to obtain consistent rulings throughout the entire case.
CEB: What is the most interesting book you have read (lately)?
Mary: Fiction: The Time Traveler’s Wife. I loved the yearning and loss that permeated the story. (But pass on the movie!) Nonfiction: I am now reading A Bright and Shining Lie, a factual recounting of the war in Vietnam. I just returned from traveling again to Vietnam and Cambodia, and I feel a renewed energy to understand how we, as a nation, misunderstood the issues and wound up losing the war, as well as many lives, unnecessarily. It’s important to pay attention and learn from these lessons, particularly since similar problems are evident in our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
CEB: What is your contact information?
CEB: Thank you, Mary!
© The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.