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Trisha Barita: “Be creative and find your voice.”

If I had to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, I would probably choose to (1) improve technology advances as a resource for both the judiciary and litigants to eliminate waste and expense for all involved, (2) explore ways to restore faith with the public in the judicial process especially in participating as a […]

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If I had to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, I would probably choose to (1) improve technology advances as a resource for both the judiciary and litigants to eliminate waste and expense for all involved, (2) explore ways to restore faith with the public in the judicial process especially in participating as a juror in the jury process, and (3) identify ways to reward efficient judiciary that resolve discovery matters, dispositive motions and other matters in a way that reduces expense for parties and motivates the parties to a resolution of the case in an effective and timely manner.


As a part of my series about “5 things I wish someone told me when I first became an attorney” I had the pleasure of interviewing Trisha Barita.

Trisha Barita is a 15 year licensed practicing attorney in the State of Texas and the founder of Barita Law Firm, PLLC and Legal Skinny, LLC. She practices in the area of Labor and Employment Law on the management employer side. She is a homegrown Texan with an entrepreneurial spirit and avid interest in continuous growth both at a professional and personal level. When she is not counseling Employers and Corporate HR professionals in matters of Employment law, she enjoys participating in gumbo and barbeque cook offs with her husband and baking with her twin daughters.


Thank you so much for joining us Trisha! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is the “backstory” that brought you to this particular career path in Law?

Mygrandfather was an attorney and I always looked up to him because even when I was a small child, he was always an incredible story teller. He would have a way of beginning a story and leading you down a path with such intrigue that you did not know exactly where he was going to end up but you wanted to listen to see how it ended. When he would get to the end it was often poetic the way the ending always seemed to circle back to fit in perfectly with how the story had begun. It was not until I was older that I realized he used story telling throughout his career to argue and advocate and inspire. This inspired me to obtain a law degree and advocate and tell the story of my Clients in the judicial process.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your law career?

Probably one of the first motions I ever argued in front of a Judge, right in the middle of me arguing my case, the Judge stopped me without explanation and told me and opposing counsel that we were to sit back down and wait until all of the other hearings on the docket had been heard. While I waited, nervously I might add, the Judge went through all the other hearings. An hour or so later at the end, he called me and the opposing counsel up and allowed me to start again making my arguments for each of what were many many discovery requests that another attorney in my firm had written. Upon close of my argument and counsel making his arguments, the Judge ruled on each and every request with me winning some and me losing some. The Judge explained why I lost the ones I lost. When I left the Courtroom I felt defeated that I had lost on some of the matters, but what I did not realize until much later was that not every Judge takes the time to do what the Judge did for me that day. The Judge saw how truly green I was and really created a learning experience for me which I value to this day. He could have ruled swiftly based on the arguments in the Motion, but he allowed me to practice my first arguments in a courtroom and to let the opposing counsel argue and then for me to hear the reasoning behind the ruling. It was a simple gesture that has stuck with me as being a great example of how the judiciary can support young attorneys in their growth when they appear before them. It was an interesting experience and I am thankful for having had it so early in my career.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am launching a podcast and blog called Legal Skinny to provide an educational resource for Employers on Labor and Employment law matters. If anyone is interested in checking out the educational info available for Employers, being considered for an interview or suggesting a topic, they can visit www.LegalSkinny.com or email [email protected] I also have another podcast which is a collaboration with two incredibly talented attorneys in other parts of the U.S., Kamil Canale in California and Susan Dawson in Illinois called Three B’s On the Law. For topic suggestions on that pod cast, they can be submitted to [email protected]

What are some of the most interesting cases you have been involved in? Without sharing anything confidential can you share any stories?

Early on in my career I was involved with the trial of a case where a construction company had hired an independent contract to do some work and the man used a piece of equipment without wearing safety glasses and a small speck of metal went into his eye causing him the use of his eye. He claimed that the construction company was really his employer and failed to provide the appropriate safety gear such as safety goggles. It was an interesting case for me because it was the first time I learned the legal implementations for classification type issues and the responsibility employers may owe an employee regarding safe work place practices.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I absolutely love history, but probably the most inspiring to me are some of the stories of women who faced incredible odds or doubt about their abilities and persevered anyway such as Mary W. Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Amelia Earhart, Barbara McClintock and Marie Curie. Also, the many that sacrificed so that I would not have to such as the women’s stories from the suffrage movement including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in law?

I often get asked this question and not just by young people but also by individuals thinking of a second career and say the same thing to all of them. You have to really want it and you have to really understand the sacrifice it requires not just of you but of your loved ones. The main reason is that law school is very time consuming if you do it right because I really think it is meant to change the way you see the world and how you analyze problems around you which requires a bit of submersion in the material. Then when you get out, there is a new set of challenges of learning to practice law which comes with another wave of growth and sacrifice. Do not do it for the bragging rights of saying you are a lawyer, do not do it to please others, and definitely do not do it for money. Do it because you want to challenge yourself and I truly believe in those moments when you are challenged, you will thrive and can build a very rewarding career in law.

If you had the ability to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, which three would you start with? Why?

If I had to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, I would probably choose to (1) improve technology advances as a resource for both the judiciary and litigants to eliminate waste and expense for all involved, (2) explore ways to restore faith with the public in the judicial process especially in participating as a juror in the jury process, and (3) identify ways to reward efficient judiciary that resolve discovery matters, dispositive motions and other matters in a way that reduces expense for parties and motivates the parties to a resolution of the case in an effective and timely manner.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have been very blessed in my life to have opportunities and mentors that have strengthened me in ways that allowed me to build and create my business. In turn, I seek out opportunities to aid and mentor others where I can. I volunteer monthly with a group of other business women at a local domestic abuse shelter to create activities and events for the women and their children during their time there. I also participate in a local committee of attorneys in the Houston Bar Association to develop and distribute training materials for employers to assist them in hiring and retaining individuals with special needs or other cognitive disorders. My sister has cerebral palsy so this is particularly personal to me. As a Committee member, we recruit law firms, corporate legal departments and companies to join the Network and look for those hiring opportunities for these individuals.

I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?

What drives me is the conversations with my Clients and knowing that I can offer counsel or solutions that may help them solve a difficult problem that they have been unable to solve on their own. It really gives me purpose when some days the job can be more challenging.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

Five things that I wish someone had told me when I first started,

Being an Attorney Does not Mean you Know How to Run a Business or Manage Employees so try and gain knowledge in these areas through training

There was not a class in law school about running a business or managing employees. When I got my first legal job and I was given a legal secretary to manage, I made many mistakes about effective communication and expectations. It often led to me being frustrated when tasks were not accomplished in the manner or time that I thought they required. Over the years, I did educate myself and being in employment law, I now counsel Employers on these issues but it is something I wish I had recognized earlier on.

Mistakes will be Made, How you handle them will be your growing and defining moments

I remember early on I accidently gave two sets of proposed deposition dates to different attorneys on two different cases. It was an honest mistake and a clerical error on my part but I simply contacted the other counsel explained the error and the issue was able to be worked out.

Your time is valuable, so find an effective way to use it each and every single day

As a young attorney, I often was pulled in different directions from other lawyers in my firm, the clients, administrative staff, opposing counsel, colleagues and others. I wish I had been more familiar with time blocking and time management. I wish I would have understood that people will always want your time. Time can easily be wasted on tasks that are low level in importance just because they maybe top of mind. Find a strategy to effectively categorize and organize the tasks that need to get done to be more productive each day and if necessary block out the time to do it.

Do not be afraid of Pro Bono work, it can be very rewarding

Initially I was not sure how I could provide work pro bono to a client and avoid a situation where I was spending too much time on the pro bono hours and not enough meeting the needs of the other Clients. When I started practicing, I did not have a lot of experience with the challenges that nonprofits often face in being able to afford legal counsel. Some time ago I realized that there were ways to structure limited working arrangements with nonprofits to provide them some pro bono legal counsel work to help the nonprofit but also ensure there would still be time to assist the other Clients. It can be very rewarding work and I wish I had known that much earlier on.

Be creative and find your Voice

As an attorney, you are often asked to speak on behalf of another individual or entity. Find your voice and be creative with how you use it so that you can be more effective at creating the solutions your Clients may need. Also, consider how to always maintain a level of professionalism and integrity that you can be proud of. Being an attorney does not make me better than anyone else in the room and I always seek to treat colleagues, court staff, witnesses, opposing counsel and others with the same level of respect and courtesy that I wish to be afforded to me. A little kindness can go along way.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Bill Gates — Beyond his success in business and that I use his products every single day as an attorney, I appreciate his philanthropic efforts and interest in seeking to find solutions to problems that much of the world may have ignored or failed to recognize because of the challenging issues involved. When Uncle Ben told Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility,” I feel like Mr. Gates is a reflection of someone who that thought has resonated with. I am particularly interested in the work that Bill and Melinda Gates have done through their foundation in efforts to improve safe sanitation for the world’s poorest and the more recent focus on the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.

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