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Contumaciousness, Children's Well-Being, and Getting There

Discovery with Betsy Lamm

Published in 2021 Southwest Super Lawyers magazine

I can’t go a day without … caffeine. Balancing a career while raising two young children requires a significant amount of caffeine, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I intentionally wore my most casual suit and a nose piercing to interview for judicial clerkships. I wanted to make sure that, if I received a clerkship, it would be with a judge that I would be completely comfortable working for and with. Luckily, my strategy worked out well for me.

The qualities I most like in a lawyer are … diligence and humility.

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … an event planner. 

A different practice area that intrigues me is … child and family protection. I volunteer on a foster care board in Arizona and some of the cases are heart-wrenching.

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. It should be required reading for all humans. Seriously, do yourself a favor and read it.

My real-life hero is … Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Or Dolly Parton. Both are pretty phenomenal in strikingly different ways.

The most fascinating person I ever met is … my late great-uncle, Father Thomas (Don) Moran. He was a priest in Guatemala for nearly 25 years, championing the rights of indigenous groups, including during a time when priests were being targeted and his good friend assassinated for that very reason. His stories, always over a Cuba libre, were endless. 

I get angry when … opposing counsel is difficult just for the sake of being difficult. We can disagree on the merits, but there is no reason to be rude or uncooperative in the process.

The craziest thing I witnessed in a courtroom is … opposing counsel wearing an ankle monitor. 

The movie line I quote most often is … “We’ll get there when we get there!” from The Incredibles is a necessary reference on almost every road trip with children.

The three people I’d invite to dinner are … Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama, and my late great-uncle Don. 

The last TV show I binge-watched was … The Undoing.

Nothing cheers me up like … good music and good food, especially chips and salsa.

My favorite word is … “contumacious.” Particularly in the event a sanctions motion is warranted. 

My courtroom walk-up song would be … I was going to say “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac, which I listen to before every court appearance, but then I looked more closely at the lyrics and I may need to revise my choice. It is very catchy, though.

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