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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Meet Judges Reception Chair Racheal Turner: Lawyer and Mother


The Barristers Club is presenting its 27th Annual Judges Reception on Wednesday, July 13. Committee Chair Racheal Turner of Farella Braun + Martel is hard at work organizing this premier event that honors a judge and raises funds for the Barristers Club’s pro bono and community service programs. The Barristers Club asked Racheal some questions about herself and her involvement with BASF and the Barristers Club.

Racheal TurnerBarristers: Where did you grow up?

Racheal Turner (RT): Anchorage, Alaska. People often tell me that I’m the only person that they have ever met from Alaska. They usually follow up that comment with their opinions on Sarah Palin.

Barristers: Why did you become a lawyer?

RT: My dad claims that I was born a lawyer because I always wanted to debate every rule he tried to impose. Practicing law was the right profession for me because I have a strong sense of justice, enjoy creative problem-solving, and relish helping people navigate our complex legal system.

Barristers: How long have you been been in practice?

RT: I graduated Berkeley in 2002, and then did two clerkships, one with Justice Alexander O. Bryner of the Alaska Supreme Court in Anchorage, Alaska and one with the Honorable John Antoon, II, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando.

Barristers: For what firms have you worked?

RT: I have only worked at Farella Braun + Martel! As a summer associate at Farella, I found what I was looking for in a firm — a supportive work environment where I could learn to be a skilled trial attorney by working on challenging complex commercial cases with top notch attorneys. I came back to Farella after my two clerkships and I have been here ever since.

Barristers: How did you get involved with the Barristers Club?

RT: My mentoring partner at Farella, Stephanie Skaff, is also the secretary of the Board of Directors of BASF. She told me about her positive experiences with the Barristers and BASF and encouraged me to get involved.

Barristers: What are some benefits of being a part of the Barristers Club?

RT: Barristers is a great way to meet other young attorneys who are at similar places in their careers and their lives. Barristers helps junior attorneys feel connected to the legal community and supported by their peers. Barristers can also give you the opportunity to take on a leadership role Association earlier in your career. It is THE professional and social network for San Francisco attorneys in their first 10 years
of practice!

Barristers: Why did you specifically get involved with the Judges Reception?

RT: As a litigator and a former judicial clerk, I have great respect for the work of the judiciary (it’s a tough and often thankless job). I think it is fantastic that the Barristers Club makes it a point to honor our San Francisco judges and give an award every year. Plus the fact that the Judges Reception raises money for a good cause makes it an even more worthy event.
Barristers: How do you balance being a mother, a lawyer and a volunteer?

RT: As all working mom attorneys will tell you, it’s always a challenge to find enough hours in the day for everything that needs to get done and life is rarely in perfect “balance.” That being said, I love all of my roles in life — mom, business litigator, and volunteer — and I would not want to give any of
them up. One work-life balance strategy that has worked well for me is to pick one or two nights a week to stay late to get firm and volunteer work done. In exchange, I try to limit my weekend work to during my son’s naps or after he’s gone to bed, so that he feels that weekends are our family time.

Barristers: What challenges do you face being a working mother and pregnant?

RT: Like many pregnant women, I don’t sleep well and I desperately miss caffeine. So when the late afternoon fatigue hits around 3:00 p.m. you will often find me walking around the block with a piece of Ghirardelli dark chocolate in hand – the sugar, oxygen, and vitamin D give me a much-needed energy boost and get me through the remainder of the day.

Barristers: What do you like most about living in San Francisco?

RT: I live in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, and I love it. It is fantastic to live within walking distance of the ocean, the beach, parks, and fabulous restaurants. Going on a walk or a run past the Palace of Fine Arts and out toward the Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge always makes
my day.

Barristers: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

RT: Before I had my son, I enjoyed playing recreational co-ed soccer, eating out at hip restaurants, and taking weekend trips to the wine country or Tahoe. Now my spare time is spent primarily doing more toddler-friendly activities like going to parks, Crissy field, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Academy of Sciences, the zoo, etc. My all-time favorite activity was and still is traveling, but our travels are now to closer destinations on the West Coast of the U.S. and Mexico.

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