Some lawyers wear power suits, host power lunches and go on power trips. Then there are lawyers who prefer power chords, and that’s where guitar-playing Vicki Ferrara comes in.
Ferrara’s passion for music and the guitar has been reawakened since the 2010 death of her close friend Theresa Martinez, and she has experienced a surge of creativity leading to many hours of writing and performing live with The Dini Band in Connecticut and New York clubs.
Her friend’s death "was an inspiration," said Ferrara, who has operated The Law Firm of Victoria T. Ferrara in Fairfield, Conn., for more than 20 years. "It was her spiritual presence in my life that got me going again. I started writing and playing open mic nights at clubs in Fairfield County."
And she soon hooked up with Beth Bradley, Marion Najamy and Randy Stuckless to form The Dini Band. "Dini" was the nickname Ferrara’s sons had for Martinez because when they were young they couldn’t pronounce "madrina," the Spanish word for "godmother." The band plays all original songs, mixing rock ‘n’ roll, folk and some blues with upbeat rhythms and messages.
"Gratitude informs a lot of what we try to say," Ferrara noted. "All this energy is coming out in a really positive way. I’m very grateful for it."
It’s certainly not the first time Ferrara is living a bit of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. When she was in law school at St. John’s University in the early 1980s, she was a member of Troupe DiCoupe, a rock/punk band that played shows at iconic New York City clubs like CBGB, the Knitting Factory and Max’s Kansas City. Ferrara became so serious about her music and her writing that she dropped out of law school for a semester to pursue her art.
"It’s a crazy lifestyle and you don’t make any money," she said. She soon returned to St. John’s because "I did not have enough confidence in myself as an artist and I thought I should do something more practical."
Twenty-five years passed without her writing or playing guitar much. And then her close friend died after long battles with painful chronic illnesses. At that point, she decided she could be a lawyer and a musician, or as she says, "lawyer by day, rocker by night."
"I thought people were wrong when they said you could do both [legal practice and music]," Ferrara said. "It’s my creative outlet. It’s a rush. You get on stage and hit the first note and then you’re off and running. It’s really cool."
And her law practice inspires her writing, too. She is a family law attorney with a niche specialty in assisted reproduction technology law, handling the legal work involved with having children using assisted reproduction. It’s a topic close to her at home, too, as a gay mom who has raised two boys with her partner for the past 18 years.
"I get a lot of material from what people are going through in their lives," she said. "My personal experience in creating our family is an asset in terms of understanding people’s desires to have children and how some of us have to plan and be diligent to make these dreams come true."
And Martinez remains an inspiration to her. Ferrara created a nonprofit organization in her honor, Aunt Terry Inc., which helps children in need get access to tutors, homework assistance resources and better educational opportunities. The Dini Band plays benefit shows to raise money for the organization and its mission.
So along with her busy law practice, Ferrara also is practicing weekly and playing shows monthly.
"Music is a big part of me and who I am, and it’s wonderful that it came back," Ferrara said. "It’s been my dream to do both, and I feel complete."