A Love of Law Passed Down by Her Father Inspired Annette Lucas to Become an Attorney
“I see it in you,” said Annette J. Lucas’s father to her at a young age. “You have the making of a really good attorney.”
Her father studied law in the Philippines before immigrating in the 1970s to the United States to follow Annette’s mother, who was already working here as a nurse in New York City. Upon his arrival, he had to restart the pursuit of his legal career, one that ultimately led to him becoming an administrative judge.
However, in Annette’s case, it took a little while for her to see in herself what her father could see in her when she was just a young girl.
Annette attended the State University of New York at Binghamton and obtained her business degree. After graduating — with her father and mother’s encouragement — she took the LSAT but also went on to work for the United Nations. While with the U.N., she was offered an opportunity to move to Sierra Leone at the end of the country’s civil war and work for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Her experience there, coupled with seeing the aftermath of what happens when a country lacks the rule of law, opened Annette’s eyes, and emphasized for her “the importance of practicing in the legal field,” she said.
While in Sierra Leone, she applied to law school and would go on to graduate from the Pace University School of Law in 2007. Nine years later, Annette joined the Goldberg Segalla community.
“I was aware of Goldberg Segalla because it has a good reputation as a defense firm, but it also has a good reputation as an employer. So that attracted me, and that is why I transitioned. And being a part of Goldberg Segalla, you immediately are made aware of the GS Spirit” Annette said.
In the last year, Annette has also worked toward finding a good work-life balance, including spending time with her family and two young children, as well as finding time to do the things she enjoys.
“I try to be active as much as possible,” said Annette, who works out regularly, takes barre and hot yoga classes, and hikes whenever she can. “I finally made it a point to find time for me.”
As a Filipino-American woman, Annette has seen slow progress being made in the legal industry in terms of diversity.
“I know when I started in 2007, there were not a lot of people that looked like me. My adversaries at the time were predominantly white males,” Annette. “There is a sense of comfort seeing other people that look like you, doing what you are doing, and having success. It is encouraging and that was not necessarily as apparent in 2007.”
It is an important reason why, too, that Annette is part of the mentoring program at Goldberg Segalla.
“When you are a mentor, you are taking on the important job of helping someone become the best that they can be. And if you are part of the GS family, I think this goes for everyone that’s part of GS. There is no underlying competition. We all want everyone to be the best that they can be because the goal is to zealously advocate on behalf of our clients and if I help an attorney be the best that they can be, that means they are doing a great job for the client,” she said.
Over the course of her career, Annette has worked in a variety of legal areas before settling down in Workers’ Compensation, the field in which her father was an administrative judge for more than three decades. While no day may look the same for her, as she may be in hearings or depositions, or reporting to clients, she is always busy. But the drive that keeps her going, and which motivates her to always give her best to her clients, is a trait passed down to her by the man who told her at a young age that she had “the making to be a really good attorney.”
“My mom and dad really instilled a strong foundation to work hard and to do the best that you can do,” Annette said. “While my dad encouraged me to become a lawyer, my mom was also a strong female role model. I watched my mother juggle raising two children in a new country while working the night shift as a hospital nurse. They both served as an inspiration. So that is how I like to handle my responsibilities: Be a good support for my team and do the best that I can for my clients to get the results that they deserve and that they will be happy with.”