About Anna Befort

Anna Befort Articles written 14

Articles written by Anna Befort

Care for the Caregivers

Civil defense attorney Deborah Eckland is any in-home day care provider’s best friend

In some ways, Deborah Eckland is still the Southern Baptist girl she was raised as at heart, sprinkling her speech with y’alls and fixin’ tos. Raised on a dairy farm in Gillsburg, Miss.—a small, unincorporated community where the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crashed—part of Eckland wishes she could own a little house on a farm with chickens and pigs. Then there’s the other Eckland: the seasoned litigator who lives in Edina, wants her Starbucks close by and spends her days in an office in …

Courthouse Triage

How N. Denise Taylor helped LA County deal with cutbacks

N. Denise Taylor comes from a family of doctors but she was never particularly good at science. “I like to talk, I like to persuade,” she says. She knew from a young age that law was the right path for her, but she still found a way to connect with the family profession by defending medical professionals like her father. Taylor has tried or arbitrated more than 150 cases, including a 19-year winning streak in jury trials from 1993 to 2012. In 2006, she co-founded her own medical-malpractice …

Cities Attorney

Sonia Carvalho has been city attorney for Yorba Linda, Azusa, Colton, Claremont and now Santa Ana

Sonia Carvalho sounds as excited as a law school grad offered her first real job. “I feel energized again,” she says. The Southern California native has been practicing municipal law at Best Best & Krieger for more than two decades. She’s also served as city attorney for several small and medium-sized cities, including Yorba Linda, Azusa and Colton. In April 2012, she went a step further: She was named city attorney of California’s 11th largest city, Santa Ana—the first woman …

The Gunslinger, the Bulldog or the Pit Bull

Call her what you want—Cecilie Loidolt just wins

When Cecilie Loidolt had her second interview with Meagher & Geer, she flat-out told them she would only do litigation. “I said, ‘I can’t do insurance coverage, I can’t write contracts for you, I can’t do taxes,’” she says. “If I have to do any one of those things, I will go back to being a bank examiner or a cocktail waitress.” Luckily for her clients, she didn’t have to pick up her serving platter again. Twenty years later, Loidolt is one of the top trial lawyers in …

An American Lawyer in Paris

Every summer, Brian Recor turns into “un avocat”

Brian Recor doesn’t want to brag but he has a pretty good life. He spends winters in an office overlooking the Santa Monica surf and summers on Paris’ Right Bank getting his CLE credits in the amphitheaters of the Sorbonne and UNESCO. It’s all part of an international life the 37-year-old litigator has crafted for himself. Spurred by a love of languages (he speaks five), the Orange County native originally thought he’d be a diplomat. “But instead of joining the government, I just made …

Texas Two-Step

Veteran trial lawyer A. Martin Wickliff Jr. follows in his father’s pioneering footsteps by starting the largest minority-owned law firm in Texas

Aloysius M. Wickliff Sr. was one of the first African-American lawyers in Houston, at a time when courtroom segregation was still common. He became a respected civil rights attorney who helped start the Houston Lawyers Association and fought for the right of women to serve on juries in Texas. He managed the campaign of the first Southern black woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and led the Harris County Council of Organizations, an umbrella organization of African-American …

After the Collapse

Personal injury lawyer Chris Messerly tackles the 35W bridge collapse

Chris Messerly was in a Woolworth’s in Ohio, holding his mother’s hand, when JFK was assassinated. He was driving to work on Interstate 694 when a friend called to tell him about 9/11. And he was standing in a park in Wausau, Wis., when he received news that the 35W bridge had fallen into the Mississippi on Aug. 1, 2007. It was one of those moments he will never forget. “I knew immediately I was going to get involved, I just had no clue what it was going to be,” says Messerly, whose …

Enlarging the ‘Family’ in Family Law

Long before Proposition 8, Jeffrey Bollinger was working to legalize same-sex marriage

Years before Proposition 8 hit the books in California, Jeffrey Bollinger was making his mark on the issue of same-sex marriage. It was the late '80s/early '90s, and he was a law student at Pepperdine University—a self-professed liberal in an "ultra-conservative" environment. Bollinger, one of only three openly gay students at the law school, decided to write a paper for his comparative law class about the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Little did he know what he was getting himself …

Fighting For a Green World

Truth and beauty, says Jesse Chavez, are all he knows and all he needs to know

Jesse Chavez has a knack for being in the middle of the latest and hottest trends. Take his eye for art. He had always been interested in street art, and when he started his practice he began buying from an artist whose work he particularly fancied. The guy was a relative unknown, and Chavez bought prints from him weekly. Then along came Barack Obama—and the iconic, multicolored Obama portrait done by artist Shepard Fairey, the very artist Chavez had been collecting for years. Suddenly, …

Didn’t Abraham Lincoln End Slavery?

Here's Chang(e) you can believe in

The images are haunting. A smiling 9-year-old girl says she knows how to perform oral sex. A pimp offers up a 5-year-old girl for intercourse. A middle-aged American doctor tells the hidden camera he likes to buy three girls—preferably age 15 or 16—for the night for $50. It's enough to make you sick. Which is exactly how attorney Esther Chang felt, sitting in her Los Angeles apartment in 2005, watching the Dateline NBC special on human trafficking in Cambodia. "It got me so disgusted and I …

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