Stacy E. Remer / Louis Goodman – Podcast Transcript
[00:00:00] Louis Goodman: Hello, and welcome to Love Thy Lawyer. We’ll talk to real lawyers about their lives in and out of the practice of law, how they got to be lawyers and what their experience has been. I’m Louis Goodman, the host of the show, and yes, I’m a lawyer. Nobody’s perfect. She comes from a legendary family of Alameda County attorneys.
The focus of her own practice is on criminal defense and family law. She represents individuals in all types of criminal offenses, including DUI, domestic violence, drug charges, weapons, charges, and white-collar crime. In her family practice, she handles all manner of domestic difficulties, including child custody, visitation, and spousal support.
She also acts as a mediator in an effort to bring [00:01:00] about mutually acceptable results in adverse circumstances. Stacy Remer welcome to Love Thy Lawyer.
Stacy Remer: Thank you so much.
Louis Goodman: It’s a pleasure to have you, and I’ve known you for a very long time, and of course I knew your father very well, Fred Remer and I knew your grandmother very well, Betty Browner.
So just tell me a little bit about how you started thinking about law.
Stacy E. Remer: Well, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an attorney, a lawyer. I think I learned a lot about the practical side of what being a lawyer was like, because I had a lot of them around me. So I understood how it worked in real life, how the career was very demanding and very fulfilling at the same time.
So as a young child, I knew that I wanted to advocate. I [00:02:00] I wasn’t sure how or what that would look like, but I’d probably knew around the age of 10, that that’s what I was going to be doing with my life.
Louis Goodman: Did some of that come from the fact that you were around your father and your grandmother growing up and just being around those really outstanding attorneys?
Stacy E. Remer: You know, it’s funny. I used to joke with both my grandmother, Betty Browner, and my father, Fred Remer about the fact that they actually showed me a lot about what I didn’t want to be as a lawyer. We used to laugh about that.
Louis Goodman: Now you have a couple of office locations right now. Where are they?
Stacy E. Remer: I have an office in Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, as well as an office in Hayward, Alameda County.
Louis Goodman: And what type of practice do you have?
Stacy E. Remer: I practice family law, all aspects of family law, and I practice criminal defense.
Louis Goodman: Where are you from originally Stacy?
Stacy E. Remer: I am a born and raised in Oakland, California.
Louis Goodman: Is that where you went to high school?
Stacy Remer: That’s where I went to high school.
Louis Goodman: Where’d you go?
Stacy Remer: I went to Bishop [00:03:00] O’Dowd.
And then I went to Skyline. My mom had passed away when I was, you know, right in the middle of my teenage years. And so the proposal from my family was you’re going to go to Catholic School for a few years so we can make sure that you’re going to be okay. And then you can go back and join your friends in public school.
So I did just that. I went back to public school for my senior year. I attended Skyline High School and graduated from there in 1991.
Louis Goodman: How did that whole experience workout?
Stacy E. Remer: You know, it was probably the best time of my life. I was involved, you know, I excelled in sports. I played soccer year-round. I played for club and then I played for also for my schools and I walked on to varsity, you know, as a sophomore. So that was very exciting. I was a goalkeeper and coupled with student government, I was very involved in student government and I got really good grades and I really just really [00:04:00] bloomed in high school.
I had a really good time. I had a lot of diverse friends and social circles and I just really was probably one of the best times that I look back at my life, you know, the most fulfilling, the most fun and probably, the most enlightening and the sense that I became actively involved in politics and political stuff.
I would say like rallies and protests and it was just a lot of fun. It’s really exciting.
Louis Goodman: Now, when you graduated from Skyline, you went to college, where’d you go?
Stacy E. Remer: I went to Cal State, East Bay, and then I transferred from there to San Jose State and completed my four year there in San Jose State.
Louis Goodman: When you graduated, did you immediately go to law school or did you take some time off?
Stacy E. Remer: No, so I went to Cal State East Bay, and then I took some time off. I was married and I had two children and then I went [00:05:00] back to San Jose State and graduated. And then I went directly from San Jose State within just a few months to Law School.
Louis Goodman: When you went back to college to finish college, were you pretty clear that you were going back to college so that you could get to law school?
Stacy E. Remer: Oh, yeah, there was never a doubt.
Louis Goodman: Do you think that having taken that time off, taking that break to get married, to have children to live some life, do you think that that gave you a better sense of focus about what you were doing when you went back to college and ultimately to law school?
Stacy E. Remer: I would say yes, definitely.
Louis Goodman: After you graduated from San Jose State, where did you end up going to law school?
Stacy E. Remer: So I ended up attending law school at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. At the time I had a 10 month old and a four year old. So for me, I needed something that could accommodate that schedule, to also [00:06:00] be present and raise my children who were young.
And so I attended school at night and that was the best fit for me. And I would go, you know, anywhere from, four to five nights per week in the evenings for four or five hours. So I didn’t do a lot of sleeping in those years. I was pretty much on full-time all the time. And you know, it was a lot of work.
It was lot of work anyway, but it was a lot of work raising two little kids at the same time. I’m so grateful. I made that sacrifice.
Louis Goodman: Did you enjoy the legal education? Did you think it was okay?
Stacy E. Remer: Interesting. I really enjoyed it.
Louis Goodman: What was your first legal job after you graduated?
Stacy E. Remer: Well, I would say that my first experience in any sort of legal job, not as a lawyer who had graduated, was working at my grandmother’s office as a teenager. I was at first, a court runner. And then I was a legal secretary for quite [00:07:00] some time. But as far as after graduation, I didn’t have a job.
I went straight to solo practice. It’s been, it’s worked out just great. It’s worked out really well. I feel very lucky. I opened up my office in Los Gatos and was immediately fairly successful. And it has just blossomed from there.
Louis Goodman: Would you recommend to a young person thinking about a career to go into law.
Stacy E. Remer: Absolutely.
Louis Goodman: And what advice would you give that individual?
Stacy E. Remer: Obviously, to make sure that their grades were where they need to be, but to most importantly, understand what area of law it is that you think you want to do, and then go and experience that in whatever format you can. If that means an internship, if that means, you know, sitting in the courtroom and watching, observing if it means, taking a part-time job. I believe [00:08:00] that the experience that I had as a child was invaluable in understanding what area of law I wanted to be in and where I wanted to practice. And they don’t teach that in law school.
Louis Goodman: How has actually practicing law met or different from your expectations?
Stacy E. Remer: That’s a good question. And again, I refer back to sort of being raised around lawyers. And I think that I had pretty realistic expectations of what it would be like. And you know, it’s not just practicing law, it’s running a business. And so I would say that it has absolutely met my expectations of all, what it would be like.
It’s a lot of work, especially if you’re a sole practitioner and you’re not with a big firm, you have to be organized and you have to be responsive. You have to communicate the clients. You have to manage clients and manage personalities. At same time you have to run a business.
I would say that it has absolutely met the expectations that I had because my expectations were realistic based on my experience.
Louis Goodman: You know, you bring up [00:09:00] the subject of running the business and the business of practicing law. How’s that gone for you? And, and I’m wondering if you could reflect a little bit on your business skills that you’ve used or developed?
Stacy E. Remer: Well, as a child, you always resent having to take math right. In school, and I’m never going to use this. What am I going to use this for? And, you know, you absolutely are going to use math when you’re running your own business. I’m very, hands-on, again, I’m a sole practitioner and I think my ability to be hands-on for the most part, and to have my finger on the pulse of my business has traded in an environment where I’m able to grow and evolve, in a way that I feel comfortable with. So from a business perspective, a small business perspective, I don’t operate outside my means.
I try to always [00:10:00] understand, the importance of the fact that this is a business, but to not get blinded by the business and specifically by the financial aspect of practicing law.
Louis Goodman: Is there anything that you know now that you really wished you knew before you started practicing?
Stacy E. Remer: I guess I wish I knew how much I was going to love it.
I would’ve done it a lot sooner.
Louis Goodman: Interesting. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Stacy E. Remer: The best advice I would say came from my father.
Louis Goodman: I always got good advice from him too, by the way.
Stacy E. Remer: Well, he wasn’t shy in dishing it out. That’s for sure. You sometimes give unwanted advice.
His best advice was you’re not what you do. You are not your job, right? Your job isn’t defined who you are, but who you are makes a difference in what you do. And he was really big on remaining human and getting sort of, having that bedside manner as a [00:11:00] lawyer. Right, and understanding that people were, and same with my grandmother, that the people were walking through in family law and in criminal law, they say you’ve got bad people at their best.
Right. And good people at their worst. So I get the best of both worlds. Right. They’re walking through a very traumatic periods of time. And you know, Louis you deal you’re in criminal law lot longer than I have that, you know, it’s a trauma that period of time, whether it’s a divorce or it’s a family law issue, or it’s a criminal issue, it’s someone’s liberty or someone’s children are at stake usually.
And you can’t lose that human component.
Louis Goodman: What aspect of practicing law do you think is your strongest?
Stacy E. Remer: I think litigation is my strong suit. I love being in the courtroom. I love the preparation that goes into pre-trial stuff. I love cross examining witnesses. Particularly police officers. I love the thrill of that. [00:12:00] I love the energy of that more so probably in the criminal arena than in family. It’s a lot different speed, but I still, I love it just the same. It’s exciting. And it’s the stakes are high. I believe it matters.
Louis Goodman: So looking back over your career and education so far, is there anything that you would change if you could?
Stacy E. Remer: Yes. I would have gone to school sooner and started my practices earlier.
Louis Goodman: Do you think the legal system works? Do you think it’s fair?
Stacy E. Remer: That’s a really big, I mean, that’s a broad question. I mean, I think that they’re saying it works if you work it right. I think that those who can afford bigger representation have a better opportunity.
For it to work or for it to be quote unquote fair. That’s why it’s a really big question. Sometimes it’s fair. Sometimes it’s not.
Louis Goodman: Let me shift gears here a little bit. You’ve mentioned your family. What is your family life like and how has practicing law affected that?
Stacy E. Remer: Well, I have two [00:13:00] children, one who is 11, Jacob is my son. And then my daughter, Samantha is about to be 16 next month. And I’m blessed to live a comfortable life. You know, I think when I was in law school was the biggest sacrifice for my children and that was very hard to manage that and to be away from them and to study for the bar and to miss those moments.
It was difficult, but I don’t regret it. My family life now is very whole and I would say healthy. We seek balance and I think everyone’s seeking that balance, but we really try to really make time for, you know, to be together and to have family dinners. And I’m sort of old school in that sense that, I believe that we should sit down and have meals still and face-to-face at the dinner table and then turn the devices off and take, extended family trips together.
So I really do [00:14:00] work hard at trying to be the best mom I can be and the best partner I can be and the best lawyer I can be all at the same time. It requires wearing a lot of hats, but I think my children have seen and learned what it means to invest in yourself as a woman and as a business owner and how much strengths and how much joy that has brought to my life. They’ve seen me as a housewife and they’ve seen me as a lawyer and they understand that they have a reference point. They understand the difference and I think that everyone’s benefiting from my success.
Louis Goodman: You’ve talked about going on some trips together, what sort of travel experience have you and your family had?
Stacy E. Remer: So we just spent several weeks on the North Shore of Hawaii.
Louis Goodman: And your dad was always a big advocate of Hawaii, too.
Stacy E. Remer: Yes, he was in love with the Island of Maui. He referred to himself as Captain [00:15:00] Maui and he would take us on trips as children. And we stomped the back roads of Hana, the entire Island on every waterfall and bamboo forest we could find.
And, you know, I’m finding myself. And stall Jake about those times with him since he’s passed. And, you know, we were lucky enough to have a trip with him, with my children two years ago, I guess two November’s past. So they got to experience that Captain Maui act with my dad firsthand, but we’re continuing that tradition.
Louis Goodman: I know that you’re involved in some water sports too. I mean, you waterski wakeboard motorcycle riding, dirt bike riding, street bike riding.
Stacy E. Remer: Yes. I want my children to have those experiences and want them to have those skills. And most importantly, I want them to connect with nature.
Louis Goodman: If you couldn’t be a lawyer, is there [00:16:00] anything that you would choose to do?
Stacy E. Remer: You know, probably something along the lines of either as like, this is going to sound crazy, CHP officer. I think that would be a lot of fun, but maybe I’ve watched too many CHP’s episodes or CSI like crime scene investigation.
Anything in homicide investigation related. It was very interesting to me.
Louis Goodman: Some sort of a super power and if so, what is it? And if not, what sort of superpower would you like to have?
Stacy E. Remer: I don’t think that I have a super power. And it’s a funny question. I wish I did. If I had one, if I could have one, I guess it would be visibility so that when I didn’t want to be seen, I could just disappear.
Louis Goodman: What sort of things keep you up at night?
Stacy E. Remer: It’s interesting to ask that question because I’d just had this scenario where I found myself restless and walking into the anticipation of a big hearing. [00:17:00] And what keeps me up at night is hoping in my career and what I’m doing that I will be able to, especially in family law, protect those who need protection.
And, you know, what it looks like if I’m not able to be successful on my client’s behalf, especially when you’re dealing with small children. Those cases keep me up at night. The other thing that keeps me up at night, I guess I could say is, we’re living in the middle of unprecedented times in a pandemic where everything is very surreal and we have a new sort of normal and I’m wondering what that looks like a year from now, two years from now. Those types of things keep me up at night.
Louis Goodman: What if you came into some real money, let’s say, $3 or $4 billion, what, if anything, would you do differently in your life?
Stacy E. Remer: Well, I would travel a lot [00:18:00] more, a lot more and probably contribute a lot more than I already do to the causes close to me.
Louis Goodman: Is there any cause that you can think of that specifically pretty close to your heart right now?
Stacy E. Remer: Well, I work with three different organizations. Casa is a community against substance abuse, which is a wonderful program. It goes into schools and curriculum.
And you know, one of the founders of that is a very good friend of mine, her name’s Wendy and it’s just a great organization and it’s really well built and well facilitated. I believe that substance abuse education, the education itself at a young age and prevention is something that can keep people out of the system.
And so that’s one of my causes and the other causes, community service crews. We have, my children and I are involved heavily in our communities and providing homeless services, food, preventative equipment. [00:19:00] PPV, however, and whenever we can get involved with, we try to dedicate our time to that, and then legal aid.
You know, I try to donate my time when, and if I can, and in special circumstances, usually in cases where they’re just, the resources just are not there. So I would definitely be contributing more to those agencies financially, not just with my time.
Louis Goodman: Say you had a magic wand. What is one thing in the world, the legal world, or otherwise that you could change?
Stacy E. Remer: Well, for starters, I would get rid of the pandemic. Alleviate this, the global pandemic so that we could have sort of what we consider to be normal life back. I think there’ve been some lessons for a lot of people.
I know for me I can always speak for myself, but you know, in walking through this pandemic, but I think the lessons have been learned and we’re sort of [00:20:00] ready to come out of the shell now. And I think I know from what I do, I see a lot of the secondary effects of relationships falling apart.
If people, going to jail a lot more frequently, a lot of domestic violence, a lot of family disruption, custody, scenario issues. I’ve seen are the children that I’m directly exposed to either my cases or my social lives, sort of withdrawn. And I think it’s time for it to be over.
And if I had a magic wand, I would make the pandemic and dissipate.
Louis Goodman: Thank you so much for joining me today on Love Thy Lawyer. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to talk to you.
Stacy E. Remer: Thank you so much, Louis. It’s been like my great honor. Just want to thank you.
Louis Goodman: That’s it for today’s episode of Love Thy Lawyer.
If you enjoyed listening, please share it with a friend and subscribe to the podcast. [00:21:00] If you have comments. send me an email. I promise I’ll respond. Take a look at our website at lovethylawyer.com, where you can find all of our episodes, transcripts, photographs, and inflation. Thanks as always to my guests who share their wisdom and to Joel Katz for music, Brian Matheson for technical support and Tracey Harvey.
Stacy E. Remer: So I get to cherry pick a little bit, and I know that a lot of people don’t approach their business that way. So I’m probably unconventional in that respect, but more than anything, just grateful to be in the position that I’m in.