A LAW STUDENT, A LAWYER AND A JUDGE: Three women share their journeys

Text and photos
By Nancy Dubord

“Honestly, I have said I’m going to be a lawyer since I was in the eighth grade,” spouts Caitlin Locascio, a recent law school graduate. “The part I love is the problem solving side of it.”
Since Locascio’s exposure to legal issues is facilitated by freelancing as a legal researcher for the corporate, non-profit, and private sectors, she relishes finding solutions for the diverse legal needs her clients represent.
Having a religious studies undergraduate degree with a prelaw concentration, Locascio has found a way to synthesize her interest in law with her religious values. An activist in her church community, she helps convicted women and their children contend with the challenges created by the women’s incarcerations. Additionally, after their release Locascio works to reintegrate the women into their communities.
With an interest in elder law and experience in working with veterans, Locascio’s desire for justice and service could easily morph from law into ministry. For now, however, she aspires to “get her hands dirty” in a small law firm to maximize her familiarity with a range of legal issues.
Judy Andrucki, a Lewiston attorney versed in family law, appreciates the challenges of navigating a field once, if not still, predominantly staffed by men. After transitioning from a career in teaching junior high to the practice of law, Andrucki can remember entering the courtroom where 20 attorneys, all men, congregated and she was the only woman.
“I came into law when not a lot of women were practicing law. There were not a lot of us with infants. We pulled together. There were not a lot of (female) models: let’s start with what to wear …,” notes Andrucki, who has lots to say about finding the balance between professional and family life for any woman starting out as an attorney.
“It’s demanding. You’re probably not going to be able to have three kids, decorate the house, cook a gourmet meal…you can’t do it all. You have to let something go. Give away jobs. Don’t complain about how they do the jobs,” explains Andrucki.
Having a supportive husband or partner willing to pitch in, Andrucki indicates, is a big help. Reminiscing about her early years juggling her roles as a lawyer, wife and mother, she adds,”It’s not without a cost, but the benefits are great.”
A few years after getting her undergraduate degrees in history and art, Judge Valerie Stanfill found herself contemplating a career in law and applying to law school.
“I got into it with the idea if I like it, I’ll stay. If I don’t, I’ll just leave.” Gleefully, Stanfill confesses, “I actually loved law school.” After being in private practice and teaching at a law school, it “came to a point in my career that (becoming a judge) was the next career step.” As a district court judge in Lewiston, she presides over a broad spectrum of legal cases. She likes what she does.
After ruefully disclosing that the potential for conflicts of interest curtail most prospects for her to pursue outside interests in her community, Stanfill offers some heartfelt advice for any woman considering a career in law: “Be honest with yourself: about what you like and don’t like. Structure your career so that it’s not all consuming.”
In conclusion, Stanfill’s words reverberate with Andrucki’s sentiments:
“Develop a private life. Have a balance in your life.”

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