Discovery with Rebecca G. Kagin

If Rebecca Kagin weren’t a lawyer, she might be hard to track down

Published in 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers — August 2017

My nicknames are … “Becca”—only used by my younger brothers and childhood friends; and “BECKS!”—only used by attorney William Fishman, who rented me my first office as a solo practitioner in 2011. It brightens my day every time. Otherwise, call me “Rebecca,” as I am very serious. 

I can’t go a day without … loose-leaf English breakfast blend tea from Petaluma Coffee & Tea Co., with a splash of Clover half-and-half and a tiny bit of raw sugar. 

If you were in my office, you’d … be looking at rowing teams passing by on the river; yachts docking, with wine and cheese being set out on the tables; and great herons landing on ancient posts. I’m right on the historic Petaluma River Turning Basin, where ships bringing supplies between Petaluma and San Francisco during the gold rush would turn around. 

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I worked on one of the first Sarbanes-Oxley Act investigations at the Seattle OSHA office following the Enron scandal. 

When I was a newbie lawyer I … had the privilege of working on a trial with Barbara and Therese Lawless. There is no better way to start a career as a plaintiff’s-side employment lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

My pre-trial prep includes … staying up so late, I once slept on the floor on top of jury questionnaires in a hotel room where I was working with my trial team. 

When I started, I wish I knew … that as an attorney, you learn something new almost every day. It’s OK not to know something, but you need to ask the right questions. 

My career high point (so far) has been … having the courage to run my own practice for the last seven years while raising two daughters. They are now ages 3 and 6. My practice is 7!

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … an explorer of remote locations. I’ve already checked off hiking for miles through a mud avalanche on a mountain on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

When I win a case, I celebrate by … having dinner with colleagues, and making sure to take my client out as well. I often get a present for my husband, too. One time I got him a shed. We live in the country. He loves the shed! 

The SCOTUS justice I’d like to meet is … any and all of the women. 

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

A different practice area that intrigues me is … civil rights law, with a focus on treatment of incarcerated people. 

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. 

My real-life hero is … Ann Fagan Ginger of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute in Berkeley. She is 92 years old and has been an attorney since 1947. She has been on the cutting edge of civil justice and international human rights issues for decades, working out of a cinder block office in her backyard. 

On weekends I … go on a walk or run with my amazing all-women’s fitness group, Kaia FIT Petaluma. Exercising improves my practice of law—I am strong, alert, and I can lift heavy boxes of documents. 

On my best day … whatever I need to write flows naturally and quickly. 

On my worst day … I think about how lucky I am and what I am grateful for, and then I feel better.

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