Women’s History Month Spotlight – Laura Riparbelli
Meet Laura Riparbelli
Laura Riparbelli is a Senior Associate at Hoge Fenton in the Business Litigation Practice Group. She litigates in both state and federal court in a wide range of practice areas, including business disputes, professional liability, employment, and real estate. Laura has experience with all facets of litigation and has second chaired three bench trials. Laura recently co-chaired an arbitration pertaining to a complex business and real estate dispute that resulted in a complete victory for the client. She regularly develops and presents challenges to initial pleadings, discovery disputes, and dispositive motions. Learn more about Laura here.
What made you decide to get into the legal profession and your practice area?
Throughout college, I was passionate about becoming a journalist. I began as a staff news writer for our student-run newspaper in my freshman year and worked my way up to managing editor. I was more than set on pursuing a career in print journalism. I enjoyed writing and talking to new and interesting people and thought that journalism was the place where all of my interests would collide. But while objectivity is a critical component of being a fair journalist, I quickly realized that I wanted something more—I wanted to advocate for people. As important as the job of journalism is in shedding light on the problems in the world, I wanted to get involved in those problems and try to fix them. I thought that becoming a litigator would allow me to do all of the things that I loved—writing, research, and advocacy. I have not been disappointed.
Who is/was the most influential woman you know/knew? How does/did she inspire you?
There are too many to count, but one that comes to mind is Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She was born and raised in the Bronx and, despite humble beginnings, used her intellect and drive to become one of the most influential women in the country, making decisions that impact all of us. One of my favorite things about Justice Sotomayor is how she brings her lived experience to bear in the opinions she writes for the Court—and how she is unapologetic in advancing the values she believes we should all aspire to. Even in her relatively short time as a justice, her impact on the Court has been profound. We often talk about how we want the demographics of the Court to be representative of all Americans. Justice Sotomayor illustrates the good that comes from that, and how that can enrich our legal jurisprudence and practice.
Which achievement made by feminists are you most thankful for? Why?
To think that just over a century ago, women were not afforded the right to vote in the United States and could not participate in the democratic process is inconceivable. It is hard to imagine that there was a time when women were forced to leave decisions about themselves and their families in the hands of men and that there was no other option. It is also difficult to think about much work there is yet to be done. But, I think it is equally important to keep the massive accomplishments of the feminist movement to date in perspective and use that to remain inspired to press forward and continue making space for women where there is not currently any (or enough).