“We are really looking to bring the children’s best interests back into the Hawaii court system”

1. Why did you choose Family Law?

I’ve always enjoyed working with kids, so working with the Children’s Law Center when I came to Hawaii made sense because I saw how passionate they were about re-emphasizing a focus on children’s best interests. Working with several judges in Pennsylvania, I saw a lot of interviews with kids and a big push for consideration of their preferences, if indicated at all.

I feel that we need more advocation in this area, as  it sometimes appears we become too consumed with the logistics of litigation and defending our own client zealously. When everyone loses sight of the importance of the best interest analysis, the children are left without much hope for successful resolution. 

2. Why choose the Children’s Law Center?

“We do things differently”

I wanted to do things slightly differently than what I observed in my first couple years of practice, and I saw this in the Children’s Law Center. This is a group of wonderful women who truly orient themselves to effectively advocating for their client’s rights while maintaining that ultimate goal of fostering the child’s happiness and development. I’m not sure what else we are in this for.

3. Hobbies and Interests?

“Hiking has become a new hobby since moving to Hawaii”

I love playing the piano to decompress and unwind. When I was practicing in California, I was immersed in the musical side of the profession, and so growing up as a pianist, this naturally became my biggest outlet to balance. Sadly, I don’t have a piano here on Oahu just yet, and I miss it a lot. I’m just keeping my eyes peeled for a keyboard at this point.

4. How do you maintain or create work-life balance?

“I want to keep looking for solutions even when I head home”

Music has played a huge role and I’m certainly feeling more challenged in that regard. My husband is an avid outdoorsmen but, I’ve always been more drawn to an artistic means of balance. With Covid and everything being online and even more accessible, it’s been tough.

However, it also means I’m dedicating more of my time and energy to my cases and my clients. Our line of work is just tough to put down at the end of the day; I’m always thinking about what more I could be doing or how I could have created a different result.

In short, I guess you could say that’s something I’m still working on.

5. What are your goals for the firm and in general?

“I want us to be one of the driving forces making policy changes and bringing children’s interests back to the forefront”

It’s important to me that we bring some modernity into Family Law and focus on policy changes to re-center our practice around the appropriate ultimate goal, which is constantly analyzing how to create the best possible scenario for our clients and their children. This can become tedious, but I find contentment in this application of the law.

While I’ve only taken on one trial since relocating to Hawaii, I was surprised at some of the differences from other areas where I have practiced. It seems there can be a lack of appreciation for the process, and a diminished attitude from the judiciary in addressing inappropriate behavior and confusion toward the role of the court from its officers. Perhaps I’m a little bit old school in this way, but I would love to start a discussion in this area.  

6. Fun fact about you?

I absolutely love animals (adopting a dog and buying a keyboard here in Hawaii are both on the horizon). At one point, and to my room mates dismay, I had 5 rescues in an LA apartment of all places. I love to adopt dogs that are not commonly taken in; those who require the most support. Two of my dogs were an older skittish chihuahua with an attitude and an elderly golden retriever with the energy of a puppy, both of whom probably would not been adopted otherwise.

7. Favorite saying?

My Grandfather always said, “This too shall pass”. I remember this bringing me great comfort when I was a little girl. It still does today.

8. How do you stay positive in a notoriously stressful branch of law?

“I used to work as a clerk in the Public Defender’s Office of the District of Columbia and I still have a letter from one of the kids there. I keep it with me to remind myself what makes it worth it.”

Having animals in my life has always helped. They are so playful and light-hearted…it helps to keep me positive. And, of course, seeing the impact we can enact here makes the stress seem less noticeable.  Most importantly, surrounding myself with the right people can make all the difference. I truly love the women I work with and I’m thankful every day that I was given this opportunity. I just hope I can live up to what is needed of me in return.

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