Stephanie Barber Hess

Partner in charge of the Bankruptcy/Creditors’ Rights and Probate Litigation groups, Friedemann Goldberg, LLP

420 Aviation Blvd., Suite 201, Santa Rosa, CA 95403; 707-543-4900; frigolaw.com

Age: 44

Residence: Windsor

Professional background: I moved to Santa Rosa in 2008 to join Friedemann Goldberg LLP as an associate attorney. Prior to that, I spent 8 years as an associate with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, a large Los Angeles law firm.

Education: B.S., UC Riverside; J.D., cum laude, Southwestern University School of Law.

Staff: 27

Tell us about yourself and your company: Friedemann Goldberg, LLP, is a full-service law firm serving individuals, families, and businesses in a wide variety of areas including business formation, transactions, and disputes, banking, estate planning, real estate, insurance, bankruptcy, probate, and general commercial litigation. My practice is primarily focused on assisting and providing support to individuals working through the administration of the estate of a loved one through general probate administration and litigation.

Words that best describe you: Relatable, compassionate, and driven.

What is a major accomplishment in the past year or so?: I was made a partner in Friedemann Goldberg and selected to serve on the board of directors for the Sonoma County Bar Association.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career?: My proudest career achievement has been the successful development of the Probate Litigation Group at Friedemann Goldberg.

What is your biggest challenge today?: I am blessed to be practicing in a wonderful community and at an incredibly supportive firm. I strive each day to balance the stress of a thriving litigation practice and my busy family life with three preteen children.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: In Sonoma County, the elderly population is growing more than twice as fast as the total population. As our elderly population grows, so grows the number of people suffering from the debilitating effects of dementia. The instances of abuse of that vulnerable part of our society will increase as well. Thus, protecting the elder community and ensuring that their wishes and desires are honored will become increasingly important and such issues will be litigated with increasing frequency.

As a successful female professional, what have been the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: The biggest obstacle that I have faced in my career is the perception that women cannot be as tough in litigation as male attorneys. I have overcome that perception by focusing on the tasks at hand and developing my own unique style to play to my strengths.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Spend time exploring as many different areas of practice as you can and then build your practice around the area that is most interesting to you.

Current reading: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.

Stress-relievers: Exercise and spending time with friends and family.

Favorite hobbies: Cooking, reading, and going to fairs or festivals with my children.