IB Member Spotlight – Valerie Calistro

49601355_valerie-270Valerie Calistro

Ventura Law

Danbury, CT

www.venturalaw.com

How long have you been in practice? 29 years

Tell us a little about your firm. Ventura Law has been defending the rights of injured individuals for more than 60 years. We handle all types of personal injury cases, as well as complex litigation cases nationally, including the BP Oil Spill Claim and more recently, the National Opioid Crisis.

Why is IB membership important to you? IB membership is important to me because it is an excellent way to communicate with like-minded attorneys throughout the country to discuss and mastermind on pertinent legal issues and develop relationships with other leaders in the field.

What was it that initially drove you to become a trial lawyer? I have always been passionate about fighting for the rights of those who need a voice, particularly those individuals coming from different backgrounds. I speak a few different foreign languages and the majority of our lawyers and support staff are bilingual or multilingual so that we can represent and assist the underserved populations in the states where we practice.

What’s been most rewarding about your career? When I first joined my firm, I was the only female lawyer for 10 years. Since then I have hired several female attorneys and our lawyer composition is now equally represented between men and women. I now serve as Managing Partner of the firm and I’m proud to be a mentor to young female attorneys who want to career in litigation. It is challenging to balance a personal life and family with a career, but our female lawyers have managed to be very successful in this regard and I’m proud of them.

49601356_img_0306Other than law, what are you most passionate about? I serve on the Board of Directors of the Wendy Hilliard Foundation, which provides free and low-cost gymnastics classes to unprivileged youth in New York City. I am very passionate about giving opportunities to underserved populations so that they can have a chance at a better future.

I also serve on the Women’s Business Council for the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce. The WBC was established in 2010 as a resource for the personal and professional growth of women in the Greater Danbury community. It allows me to inspire and celebrate women through a collective network of guidance, education, support and leadership.

Have you published? If so, where? My article called “Mediation and Issues of Secrecy and Confidentiality and Sexual Abuse Cases,” was published in Trial Magazine, American Bar Association, 2014. I also served as a panelist in the forum discussion called “Mediating the High Profile Controversy,” held by the American Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution National Forum, in Washington, D.C. in 2013, where I discussed high-profile sexual assault and abuse cases, mass torts, and litigation arising from the BP Oil Spill and Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Can you tell us about your favorite community outreach project? Why do you think it’s important for trial attorneys to give back? It is hard to pick just one community outreach program as we have hosted so many successful charitable events, including those benefiting the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, the Hispanic Center of Danbury, Ct, the Dorothy Day Foundation, the Community Action Center of Danbury, the Community Outreach Committee, and Literacy Volunteers of America.

One of my favorite most recent community outreach programs was our Turkey Give-Away at the Food Pantry in Danbury, Ct. We gave away 120 turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday to needy families. A large number of our firm employees volunteered to help distribute the food to over 400 people in the community. It was a very successful and rewarding event.

The world today put an incredible emphasis on technology. Do you feel it plays a role in your day-to-day as a lawyer? Technology is extremely important in this day and age, particularly at a law firm. I am proud to say that our firm is almost paperless, The ease of accessing documents electronically versus having to copy and carry large files of paper makes life a lot easier for the lawyer. We have gone to the cloud this years and are able to store all of our legal documents easily so they can be retrieved at a moments notice. Due to our advances in technology at our firm, our lawyers can work remotely so that they can balance their careers and home life.

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