Fast Track 2013: Meredith Desautels
2013-06-21 04:52:37 PM
Meredith Desautels, 30, Staff Attorney
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Fast facts: Desautels bridges the gap between prison release and productive re-entry for the formerly incarcerated. Blending advocacy with activism, she created the Second Chance Legal Clinic, a program that pairs pro bono attorneys with clients who face employment and other barriers after serving time.
Word that best describes you?
Toughest moment in law school or as a lawyer?
When my computer crashed during the bar exam. Apparently, the bar exam software uninstalled itself during the break on the first day, so when I tried to log on in the afternoon, nothing happened and I had to hand-write the performance test. I've never written so fast in my life. By the end, my hand felt like it was on fire!
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Who is someone you count as a mentor?
My mom. She has always been my counselor and confidante, and she instilled in me the value of treating others with respect and dignity.
Most interesting place you've traveled and why?
My most memorable trip was camping and kayaking in the Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island. We paddled through clear blue water to these remote and overgrown islands, with bald eagles flying over our heads. On our first night, we sat on the edge of the water, watching two seals chasing their fish dinner. In the morning, we woke to the barks of sea lions and paddled past a pod of dolphins. I've never felt so much like a guest in nature.
Name a guilty pleasure.
Dessert in any form, but especially anything that combines chocolate with peanut butter and banana. I'm also obsessed with the cinnamon buns at Specialty's.
What's the most unusual hobby you've ever had?
As a kid, I started collecting the dead bugs that I found on the windowsills in my house. It was called my "Windowsill Bug Collection." I had to throw it out after it started to smell.
How many hours a week do you work?
Right now, I'm working four days a week so I can take care of my new baby.
What do you do for stress relief?
I love to hike. One of my favorite parts of living in the Bay Area is the access to such amazing parks and trails. My favorite hike is in Point Reyes — from the Bear Valley visitor's center, up to the vistas of Mt. Wittenberg, down to the edge of the ocean, and back along beautiful Bear Valley creek.