Calandra Revering never saw a Black female attorney while growing up, which was part of why she went to law school.
Now, to her knowledge, she’s the only Black female attorney in private practice in Minnesota who does criminal defense work. Other attorneys helped Revering as she was starting out, and she tries to help future lawyers.
“Mentorship is important to me because I had some great mentors,” Revering said. “I make sure I take time to meet with my mentees and make time to talk to them about the challenges that they experience.”
Revering worked at the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and a law firm before launching her practice, which also does family law and neutral workplace investigations, in 2002. She has handled multiple murder trials.
“So many minorities are charged with crimes, but the representation is sometimes difficult to achieve,” Revering said.
Name: Calandra Revering
Title: Attorney, Revering Law and Consulting
Education: B.S., sociology, minor in Africology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; M.A., human resource management, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?
A: Ask me which series I’m watching on Netflix, Prime or Hulu. If that doesn’t work, ask me about my favorite places to travel.
Q: Why law school?
A: I decided to go law school because when I watched shows about lawyers and attorneys, none of them were Black. The only time I recall seeing a Black attorney growing up was during the O.J. trial. Johnnie Cochran was the only Black lawyer I had ever seen. I’d never seen a Black female attorney. Whenever I see something that’s not done by Black attorneys or Black women, I figure, why not do it? … My oldest brother went into prison just as I was going to college, so that was another driver to go to law school. As my brother was coming out, my nephew committed some crimes, and he was in prison. My brother and his son have never been out of prison at the same time. … The [Milwaukee] ZIP code we grew up in incarcerates 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 I’m currently reading “The Judge’s List” by John Grisham. I’m kind of a John Grisham junkie.
Q: Pet peeve?
A: Unprofessionalism by other lawyers. I try to keep it professional with other lawyers as much as possible before I sometimes have to let the Milwaukee come out. I like to know that I can have a case with another lawyer and we can still go out and have happy hour.
Q: Best part of your work?
A: Working with juveniles, working with children, in criminal defense cases. In family law cases, helping children. In workplace investigations, knowing that I truly am neutral.
Q: Most challenging?
A: I think I’m sometimes an overachiever and work way too much. I could spend more time at home with my husband, the dogs and grandkids. But I’m having so much fun at work.
Q: Favorite activity away from work?
A: Travel and more travel. I try new places. But Costa Rica and Las Vegas are my top two.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: To [Milwaukee’s] Summerfest, known as the greatest music fest in the United States. You can get so many different types of foods and there’s always 12 stages of different performances going on at one time.
Q: Legal figure you most admire?
A: [U.S. District Court Judge] Wilhelmina Wright and RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Q: Misconception that others have about your work?
A: That it’s easy being in private practice and that criminal defense is easy. I once heard a lawyer say that “any monkey could do that.” When you’re dealing with the liberty of an individual, that’s never easy at all.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: My favorite series is “Fargo.” I’m waiting for the next season. Right now, I’m very much into “The Good Fight.”