ALM Properties, Inc.
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2012-05-31 04:48:22 PM
Rita Lin, 33, associate
Morrison & Foerster
Lin works primarily for financial services companies defending themselves against consumer class actions, but she has become a national name in the fight for marriage equality. For the past year, she faced the cameras as co-lead counsel for a pro bono assault on the federal Defense of Marriage Act that led to the act being declared unconstitutional Feb. 22 in U.S. District Court in California. In March, the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom awarded MoFo and its co-counsel, Lambda Legal, the 2012 Legal Service Award for their work on the case, which was filed on behalf of Karen Golinski, a 20-year employee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit who had been denied spousal health coverage for her wife. Lin, a 2000 magna cum laude Harvard Law School grad, has served as a national coordinating counsel in complex multidistrict cases that have involved checking account overdraft fees, captive mortgage reinsurance, mortgage modification programs, credit card late fees, credit card overlimit fees and payment posting times.
Word that best describes you?
Curious. I'm a complete law nerd when it comes to learning about new areas that I know nothing about.
Toughest moment in law school or as a lawyer?
In a pro bono criminal trial, I had to move to bounce a judge from the case based on Rule 170.6. Normally, one makes that motion to the calendaring judge and not the actual assigned trial judge. But in my case, the calendaring judge had assigned the trial to himself, so I had to say to his face that I thought he could not be impartial, which he understandably did not appreciate. Meanwhile, a large group of public defenders, whom I'd befriended and had advised me to bounce this judge, were all cracking up about this in the galley.
Most interesting place you've traveled?
Taiwan. I saw the house my dad grew up in and learned for the first time that he was really into racing pigeons as a kid.
What you'd do if you could take a year off?
I'm about to do that I'm taking 9 months off to have a baby and stay home with my newborn and my three-year-old.
Most unusual hobby?
I enjoy oil painting. In law school, I went through a period where I did painting after painting of the same naked fat man, who showed up to pose at the local art studio.
A lawyer you admire?
Elena Kagan. I had her for civil procedure in law school, and then she was dean in my last year. She's brilliant, funny, practical and takes no nonsense from anyone.
Hours worked per week?
Around 45-50. (I'm on an 80 percent reduced schedule.)