Gina Occhipinti Borasi- Lawyer
"When I was in middle school my English teacher wrote a note on a persuasive paper I wrote, asking me if I had ever thought of a career in law. Her note planted a seed and gave me confidence. In college, I was inspired by classes in legal studies and women studies. After college, I went to graduate school and studied Women's Studies, followed by law school. Both studies sparked passion in me and led me to where I am today.
When I graduated law school and passed the California Bar in 2008, there was a hiring freeze throughout the state. I was incredibly discouraged and disappointed after all my hard work. With student loans and bills mounting, I decided to open my own practice rather than wait for the economy to improve. I arranged an office share with another new attorney to reduce overhead costs. I provided legal research and writing for attorneys in town. I also signed on my own personal injury clients. I waited tables at a restaurant in the evenings to pay bills. I remember a time when I wanted to give up - I had no money in my bank account and no food in the house. During that time I also had to teach myself the ropes of running a law practice while dealing with an opposing counsel who harassed me. It was quite challenging, but an excellent learning experience!
What I enjoy most about my career is that I am able to help people in crisis. I love that I am able to explain a complex process to someone and make them feel less stressed and more confident. I also love that I learn something new almost daily. Every case is unique and has a different set of facts which require further legal research. Also, I love that my career has allowed me to serve on the local Women Lawyers Board for the past ten years. Serving on this board has been fulfilling on many levels and allows me to be an advocate for the concerns of women in our society.
I would advise a woman who wants to pursue a similar career path as me to intern for places where she feels passionate about the work. The experience may help her determine what path(s) she would like to take. Additionally, potential employers often look towards an applicant's internships and volunteer work. Such work provides a lot of information regarding your interests and who you are as a person. While in law school, I volunteered for a group that provided crisis response to survivors of domestic violence and domestic abuse. I also volunteered for the District Attorney's Office in the Victim Services Department and assisted crime victims. These internships solidified my desire to help people in need."
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