The Women of Lippes Mathias

The women of Lippes Mathias
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Lippes Mathias is dedicated to the highest professional growth and personal achievements of its employees  and commitment to empowering women in the workplace. We sat down with the women attorneys of Jacksonville’s office to learn about these three standout professionals.

Barbara S. Cocciolo, Partner

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?

BSC: I was employed as a paralegal for many years and had never thought of becoming an attorney until I saw the success of my children firsthand. Their achievements broadened my view of myself and what I saw possible for me. I attended law school part-time while still employed as a paralegal and have been an attorney practicing for 11 years.

AALM: How would you describe the culture of Lippes Mathias?

BSC: I admit to being biased, but I love working with Lippes Mathias. Practicing with a team that is invested in my success and whose success I am equally invested in is priceless. I encourage all young lawyers to trust their instincts and find an environment that fosters collaboration and growth.

AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

BSC: When I am not in the office, I love being outside. I enjoy gardening, my dogs, and my chickens. My husband and I keep bees, and sell and give away honey. It is an office favorite. I also enjoy traveling with my two sisters. Each year we spend a week together. This year we are planning a trip to the Smokey Mountains.

AALM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

BSC: I would like to add a big thank you to my husband of 44 years, Ralph. He is my biggest cheerleader. He constantly encourages me and believes in me when I am in doubt.

Sabrina Marcos Smith, Associate

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?

SMS: My earliest recollection was the first day of first grade. During a parent/teacher event, the teacher asked the students in class, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Of course, some children responded they wanted to be a pop star or famous athlete. I turned to my parents and said, “I want to be Sandra Day O’Connor!” From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be in the courtroom.

AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being an attorney?

SMS: Advocacy. Whether it’s criminal or civil, our profession centers on advocacy and representing others. As an attorney, it is our task first to evaluate the obstacle then provide a strategic solution.

AALM: What accomplishment are you most proud of achieving?

SMS: I was a Pogue Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The experience gave me the opportunity to immediately connect and network with people who have the same interests. To this day, having the opportunity to attend UNC as a Pogue Scholar was an honor, and I learned an enormous amount from my mentors, professors and peers. Go heels!

AALM: What was the greatest lesson you learned in law school?

SMS: Practical skills courses and externships are the most beneficial extracurricular courses you can take. Any chance to immerse yourself in the legal profession, especially advising clients or working with victims, you are better prepared for your career after graduating law school.

AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

SMS: Outside of work, I enjoy exercising, spending time with my family, and recently, I’ve been learning how to play golf with my husband!

Bethany Ray Reichard, Partner

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?

BRR: When I was in school, during the summers I worked at my father’s law firm as a runner and helping with copying and filing updates to the library publications. I enjoyed writing and majored in English in college, and law seemed a natural fit for my writing interests.

AALM: Who is your current mentor? What is the best lesson they’ve taught you so far?

BRR: My father, Tom Ray, is my mentor. He is also a partner with Lippes Mathias. He is not only hardworking and intelligent, but he is a man of his word. Early in my career, I attended a hearing with him, and the judge said to the opposing counsel, “If Tom Ray said he did it, then he did.” I strive to emulate his professionalism in my career.

AALM: What trait do you believe most separates an average or good litigator from an exceptional one?

BRR: In my opinion, an exceptional litigator is the most prepared one. It is like playing sports – do the hard work during practices, and you are better equipped to win the game.

AALM: Tell us about your fellow attorneys at the firm. How do you work together?

BRR: Lippes Mathias is unique in supporting female attorneys’ advancement by providing expanded professional and business development opportunities, mentoring, training, and support through the firm’s Women’s Group. The group offers a collaborative platform to discuss and address the unique challenges women attorneys face and offers dedicated opportunities for internal and external networking to promote personal and professional growth.

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