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Life lessons: Lawyers share their experience in podcast series

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Photograph of Roberta “Bobbie” Liebenberg by Jason Nicholais.

Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Liebenberg

Senior partner with Fine, Kaplan and Black in Philadelphia

Life lesson: Laughter belongs in your work life.

“I am really passionate about the use of humor in the workplace—not only because it’s fun, but it’s also an important business asset and can defuse situations.”

“The studies are quite clear in terms of why humor is so important, in terms of, as I said, promoting your brand, increasing employee retention, and the research also shows that people who are humorous are consistently evaluated as more confident and more competent.”

“We’re always looking at sort of ‘How can we make the young lawyer better?’ when a lot of the question should be: ‘How can law firms institute the type of structural changes that will make young lawyers better?’ ”

Lucian Pera

Photograph courtesy of Lucian Pera.

Lucian Pera

Partner with Adams and Reese in Memphis

Life lesson: If you think you may have a professional conduct problem, ask for help.

“None of us—and this is not just lawyers—are really objective about our own matters.”

“I think it’s more important than ever for us to figure out how to get over the concern about dealing with mistakes.”

“I want them to call me when the slightest little tingle goes up the back of their neck that maybe there’s a problem.”

Cruz Reynoso

Photograph of Cruz Reynoso courtesy of UC Davis School of Law.

Cruz Reynoso

Former California Supreme Court justice and law professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis

Life lesson: Fulfill your obligations, and ask those in power to fulfill theirs as well.

“Whatever you do, you need to do it well. If it requires that you be in the field at 5 in the morning, you should be there at 5 in the morning. You should be respectful of the work that you’re doing because, after all, it really is important.”

“Realize that sometimes, those in authority haven’t done the right thing simply because the issue has not been brought to them. And when brought to them properly, very often the public officials will actually respond affirmatively.”

“It seems to me that a community is better off having everybody in that community do well, that even those who are wealthy will be happier if everybody in the community is doing well.”

Mia Yamamoto

Photo of Mia Yamamoto by Gary Miyatake.

Mia Yamamoto

Criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles

Life lesson: Present as your true self.

“Be yourself and fight for yourself. Authenticity is far more important than almost anything else that you’re going to encounter in the world. Without it, what is your life?”

“I said [to myself], ‘I don’t care if somebody shoots me the day after I transition. I’m going to transition. I will die as a woman.’ ”

“In fighting for yourself, you’re fighting for everybody else that’s going to be coming after you. And it’s a worthwhile fight.”

This article was published in the July 2018 ABA Journal magazine with the title "Life Lessons: Lawyers share their experience on the Asked and Answered: Lived and Learned podcast."

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