2013 Legal Elite profile: Labor/Employment Law
Lisa A. Bertini
Bertini & Hammer PC
Other legal specialties: Personal injury, contract litigation
Birthplace: Vineland, N.J.
Education: Georgetown University, bachelor’s degree; College of William & Mary, law degree
Spouse: Dr. Jack L. Siegel
Children: Two teenage girls: Zoe and Lucy
Hobbies or pastimes: Avid fiction reader, dog lover, hiking, travel
First job as a lawyer: Jenkens & Gilchrist in Dallas
Recently read book: “The Sweet In-between” by Sheri Reynolds
Career mentors: “My dad, because he is both a frustrated trial lawyer and my loveliest critic; and Judge M.J. Hall, a great friend and brilliant jurist.”
What trends are you seeing in discrimination and harassment cases?
“Overall, there is a trend toward mediation over trial. This has gradually developed to the point where traditional Title VII employment trials are very rare in federal court in the [Eastern District of Virginia] Norfolk Division. I don’t necessarily see this as a negative if the case settles for the right reasons. I do consider it disheartening when legally strong cases are strained to consider settlement. So many cases are lost at the summary judgment level due to federal judges who take liberty with fact finding more appropriately reserved for juries. What I find impossible is that once a plaintiff jumps the countless hurdles she has to clear even to have a case worthy of filing under ever-changing standards, she then can see the finish line in sight with all discovery done, and a judge pulls one fact out of the morass and christens that fact to be the indispensible and paramount compass point for a reason known to no one but the judge. I doubt I’ll ever get used to that process and hope I never reconcile to its inherent unfairness.”