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JANUARY 2016 - 7 Qs with Lisa Miller
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7 Qs with Lisa Miller, Esq.

Featuring Carla Barboza




WLALA recently asked Carla Barboza seven questions.  Here are her responses:

What is your favorite technology device? Why?

My VPN (Virtual Private Network) device. Why? Because it untethered me from my office and allows me to access everything I need wherever I might be. Because I am an independent workplace investigator, among other things, that means I can often write my reports at home surrounded by my rescue dogs (two retired racing greyhounds, one shepherd mix and one toothless Labrador mix), and serenaded by Rudy, my rooster, who lives with three hens, Frida, Cumin and Ginger. 

What is/was your dream vacation? Why was it the best ever?

My dream vacation was my two-week trip to Cuba in January 1979, during the 20th anniversary of the revolution. Travel to Cuba was still prohibited at that time so I went with a Whittier College political science class. Once there, I separated from the group after befriending some locals in Camaguey. In those days I was part of a theater group and performed plays, poetry and music in Spanish and Portuguese. My artistic endeavors opened many doors for me and my new Cuban friends accompanied me throughout the island. I enjoyed the incredible coffee, ice cream and rum and was amazed by the inquisitive and articulate Cuban children.  

Name the person you admire the most, and the quality that impresses you the most.

Well, I admire so many people for so many reasons and I don’t think any one person is the one I admire “the most.” That said, as soon as I started contemplating this question, the person who immediately came to mind was Patti Smith. Her book “Just Kids” chronicles her journey with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in New York in the 60’s and 70’s. Her story is magical and remarkable on so many levels. Patti dedicated herself to her art and poetry and inadvertently became a rock singer. She broke the rules and fit no mold. I have tremendous admiration for lives lived that way.

What is your most significant accomplishment, and what impact did it have?

My most significant accomplishment is a deeply personal one. I am an abuse survivor. Drug and alcohol abuse was common in my family. It took me more more than 30 years after I left home at age 20 to recover from those experiences and develop a healthy sense of self. My experiences allowed me to better serve my clientele, when I was a plaintiff’s employment attorney, because I understood trauma and the profound impact it can have on our lives. My personal recovery led me to finding a challenging, fulfilling and inspirational career path.

If you could “fix” one global challenge, what would it be? How would you fix it?

I am deeply concerned about so many of our global challenges. Poverty, hunger, the subjugation of women, refugees, health-related issues, the environment, human rights . . . the list goes on. My greatest concern is probably climate change because it is so connected to the other challenges. Our food, our air, our water, our animal life, our survival is threatened by the damage that we have done to our most precious resources.

I know of no “fix” for this monumental problem that we have created. I do my best to protect and respect nature and all of that it bestows on us. 

If you could have a career different from the one you are now pursuing, what would it be? Why is this your alternate choice?

I have never had a sense of direction when it comes to career choices. I never wanted to be a lawyer. I chose law school because I did not want to do graduate work. Once I became a lawyer, I really had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice. Then I took a job in 1984 so I could pay my law school loans and inadvertently found my niche. Since then, it’s been a fabulous experience and I can’t imagine doing anything else. 

What do you hope to accomplish after you retire? Why is this meaningful to you?

Retire? I have no plans to retire. I am one of the fortunate ones. I love what I do and it gives back to me. I am invigorated by my work and constantly rewarded because I so enjoy the people I serve.

I will say this though. I do plan to work less, eventually, so I can spend more time in the garden, where I grow organic fruits, vegetable and herbs, and more time in the kitchen where I transform those ingredients into flavorful meals for my beloved circle of friends. I routinely have small dinner parties where I cook and make the beverages. I find it so very satisfying to please the people who I love with good food.

Carla Barboza is the principal of Los Angeles’ Barboza & Associates, founded in 1998. Ms. Barboza is available as a mediator, arbitrator and investigator in employment disputes, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wage and hour issues. She is fluent in Spanish. Ms. Barbosa can be reached at (213) 629-4745.

Lisa Miller is a member of the WLALA Board of Trustees, where she works on the legal implications of domestic violence and homelessness.  Ms. Miller is a civil litigator with the Los Angeles-based Marcin Law Firm, LLP.  Ms. Miller teaches 1st Amendment / Law of Mass Communication at the University of Southern California, writes and speaks on free speech and related subjects, and consults on trials and appeals.  She is a hearing officer for numerous California agencies, municipalities, and bar association fee dispute programs.  She serves as a commissioner with the County of Los Angeles Small Business Commission.

Ms. Miller writes the “7 Qs” column for the WLALA newsletter and is always seeking interesting interview subjects.

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