If you want it, go get it.

A Conversation On Lessons Learned & Life In The Law With Attorney June Monroe

Attorney June Monroe is a director in our Irvine office who works in our Agribusiness and Employment Law practice groups. Her practice focuses on employment law, agricultural law, commercial law, secured transactions and general business law.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with June about leadership and her hectic life in the legal profession.

In this week’s leadership profile we turn the spotlight on attorney June Monroe in our Orange County office! Like many Fennemore attorneys, you don’t fit the “lawyer stereotype.” You’re creative, and a painter – how have you been able to maintain your artistic passions in the legal profession?

It’s difficult to find time to paint, but when I do it’s rejuvenating. My husband, Michael encourages me to make time. I take advantage of long holiday weekends by painting. 

‘Tis the season; do you have any big plans for the holidays? And do you have any resolutions you’d like to share for 2023?

We usually stay local for the holidays because our families are here. Next year, I want to use my paintings for something good. My husband, friends, and I plan to set up a 501(c)(3), where I can donate my art and people can purchase the art for a charitable donation. We are currently working on initiating documents and seeking tax exemption status.

Your road has been tough – starting as a receptionist and a single mom of two young boys. What would you tell a 1L at Concord Law School (especially a woman) currently contemplating a career in the law?

If you want it, go get it. 

In 2007, before learning by Zoom and chat rooms was acceptable and the norm, I started Concord Law School, which is a fully online law school accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. I was 35 years old, working full time and a single mom of two young boys, but knew I had to do something big to provide for them.  Like me, many Concord students have established careers, families and are older than the traditional law student. 
To the 1L Concord women students, my advice is “If you want it, go get it.” And “If you want it, ask for it.” That means in addition to busting your butt, ask for help, too. I had a great support network – my mom and my sisters helped me take care of my boys, which freed up time for me to study. 

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on in your Agribusiness or Employment & Labor practice?

For Employment & Labor law clients, many clients are seeking counseling and guidance on the new 2023 laws – California Consumer Privacy Act, pay scale disclosures and reporting, and bereavement leave. For Agribusinesses, I’m separately defending several fresh produce distributors against grower claims of negligent marketing or breach of contract. The common theme is tightening up grower relationships, so that there are no surprises at the end of the season.      

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

My parents are my life heroes because in 1975, they fled Vietnam so that my three sisters and I could have a better life.  My dad had worked eight years as a contracted land surveyor for the U.S. Army assisting in making maps for the military. When the fall of Saigon happened, the U.S. military airlifted our family out to the U.S. I was two, my older sisters were five and four, and my younger sister was two weeks old. We lived in Camp Pendleton as war refugees for several months. Every opportunity I’ve had, began with their decision to come to the U.S.

For my career, Jason Read, who retired January 1 from our former law partnership, Rynn & Janowsky, LLP, had the greatest impact on my career.  He entrusted me with so much work and always spoke up for equitable treatment when I was a receptionist, legal secretary, paralegal, associate attorney and partner. I am grateful for his support.  

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

There are no failures only lessons. Failure is just an opportunity to learn. Rejection means redirection. Use negativity to identify what work needs to be done. 

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

Best – Two things: (1) Remember – you didn’t make up these facts. You can’t change them. You can only tell the facts in the light most favorable to your client. (2) Attorneys are providing a service; provide great customer service.

Worst – Doing a good job is the only marketing you need.

What are you currently listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

My favorite podcast is Today, Explained.  My favorite YouTube channels are Law Venture and TEDx Talks.

I’m currently reading “Start a 501c3 Nonprofit That Doesn’t Ruin Your Life.”

Last, but not least, if you and your family were hosting New Year’s Eve dinner at your home this year, name the three people – from any time in human history – who you’d invite.

Our dinner guests would be my husband’s parents, Todd and Holly, who I never met and who have passed away, and George Carlin because he’d be fun!

Happy holidays to June, and all of our new team members in Orange County!

If you’d like to know more about how our attorneys in Orange County can help your business soar, please visit: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/contact-us/orange-county/.

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