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On Thurgood, Kids Laughter, and Baby Fish Mouth Sweeping the Nation

Discovery with Angel Horacek

Published in 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers magazine

My nickname is … AJ. Pretty straightforward.

I can’t go a day without … music. My favorite thing is to see live music, but I’ve been making do during COVID-19 with webcasts, live albums and especially the Verzuz series on Instagram.

When I was a newbie lawyer I … thought that I had to wear a suit all the time to be respected as a lawyer. But sometimes people would assume that I was an assistant, or a court reporter, or a defendant, even if I was wearing a suit. You cannot control what other people think. You can only control yourself. 

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … empathy. The ability to articulate the other side’s argument well enough to be able to argue as they would and truly understand why they are taking the position they do. I try to do this in every case. It’s not easy.

The SCOTUS justice I’d most like to meet is … Thurgood Marshall.

The SCOTUS decision I’d most like to overturn is … Citizens United.

A different practice area that intrigues me is … tax law. Who is taxed, at what rate, deductions allowed—all of it is based on a value judgment that people made.

My real life hero is … my mom. She’s just the best lady. She is always optimistic and has a good attitude. She recently retired, and so many people came to her retirement party and spoke lovingly of her and her work ethic, so I know that other people feel the same way. I’m blessed that she’s my mom.

My favorite Twitter feed is … I always smile when I see a tweet from Thoughts of Dog (@dog_feelings).

The movie line I quote most often is … some version of “Baby fish mouth is sweeping the nation” from When Harry Met Sally. I’ll switch out baby fish mouth with whatever term of the week is happening. 

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

I’m inspired by … Malala Yousafzai. The efforts that were made to stop her from learning, or advocating for other girls to learn, would have stopped so many.

Nothing cheers me up like … the laughs of my children.

My least favorite word is … can’t.

The app I use the most is … my calendar. If it’s not scheduled, it’s not happening.

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same could have been written today. While some things have changed, so many have not.

My favorite meal is … a breakfast burrito after one of those late-night concerts!

My motto is … my mom’s motto: “Just do your job.” As a child, I thought it was about getting chores done, but as an adult I realize it’s about not letting your feelings stop you from doing what you need to do. Make a plan and execute. As a lawyer who represents workers, I hear about so many workplaces where people are unhappy. There’s nothing worse than going to a job you hate. And if you hate it, it’s not the job for you. Find something you like, and find a way to do that. Just do your job!

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