Calandra Revering never saw a black lawyer growing up, which was one of the reasons she went to law school.
Now, to her knowledge, she is the only black attorney in private practice in Minnesota doing criminal defense work. Other attorneys helped Revering when she started, and she tries to help future attorneys.
“Mentoring is important to me because I’ve had some great mentors,” Revering said. “I make sure I take the time to meet with my mentees and talk to them about the challenges they are experiencing.”
Revering worked for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and a law firm before opening her practice in 2002, which also practices family law and impartial investigations in the workplace. She has led several murder trials.
“So many minorities are charged with crimes, but representation is sometimes difficult to obtain,” Revering said.
Name: Calandra Revering
Title: Lawyer, Lawyers and Advice
Education: BS, Sociology, minor in African Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; MA, Human Resource Management, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; JD, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Q: The best way to start a conversation with you?
A: Ask me what series I watch on Netflix, Prime or Hulu. If that doesn’t work, ask me about my favorite travel destinations.
Q: Why law school?
A: I decided to go to law school because none of them were black as I watched shows about lawyers and barristers. The only time I remember seeing a black attorney grow up was during the OJ trial. Johnnie Cochran was the only black lawyer I had ever seen. I had never seen a black attorney. Whenever I see something that isn’t being done by black lawyers or black women, I think, why not do it? … My oldest brother went to prison while I was in college, so that was another reason to go to law school. When my brother came out, my nephew committed some crimes and he was in prison. My brother and his son had never been released from prison at the same time. … The [Milwaukee] The zip code we grew up in locks up more black people than any other in the nation.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I just finished The Street Lawyer by John Grisham and am reading The Judge’s List by John Grisham. I’m kind of a John Grisham junkie.
Q: tease pet?
A: Unprofessionalism by other attorneys. I try to keep it as professional as possible with other attorneys before sometimes having to let the Milwaukee come out. I want to know that I can have a case with another attorney and we can still go out and have happy hour.
Q: The best part of your job?
A: Working with youth, working with children, in criminal defense cases. In family law cases, help for children. Knowing in a workplace investigation that I’m genuinely neutral.
Q: The biggest challenge?
A: I think sometimes I’m a high achiever and I work way too much. I could spend more time at home with my husband, dogs and grandchildren. But I have so much fun at work.
Q: Favorite activity outside of work?
A: Travel and more travel. I try new places. But Costa Rica and Las Vegas are my top 2.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: To [Milwaukee’s] Summerfest known as the largest music festival in the United States. You can get so many different types of food and there are always 12 stages with different performances going on at the same time.
Q: Legal entity that you most admire?
A: [U.S. District Court Judge] Wilhelmina Wright and RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Q: Misconceptions others have about your work?
A: That being in private practice is easy and criminal defense is easy. I once heard a lawyer say that “any monkey could do it”. When it comes to an individual’s freedom, it’s never easy.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: My favorite series is Fargo. I’m waiting for next season. I’m really into The Good Fight right now.