Moss & Barnett attorney Debra Bulluck said receiving an award for her advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence was “a humbling experience.”
Bulluck, a family law attorney, received the Violence Free Minnesota Alice O. Lynch Inspire Award for 2023. This new award recognizes individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous or Person of Color (BIPOC) who have championed anti-oppression, anti-racism, social norm change and economic justice.
“For them to think that the work that I’ve done has lived up to Ms. Lynch’s legacy, that was a humbling experience for me,” Bulluck said.
The award stems from Bulluck’s former work as the legal-assistance-for-victims attorney at Standpoint, a St. Paul-based nonprofit.
Bulluck, who joined Moss & Barnett in January, also previously clerked for Referee Mary Madden in the 4th Judicial Circuit Family Court.
“I approach family matters with a lot of curiosity and without judgment,” Bulluck said of her practice. “I employ a lot of empathy.”
Name: Debra M. Bulluck
Title: Attorney, Moss & Barnett
Education: B.A., Spanish, Berea College; J.D., University of Wyoming College of Law
Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?
A: I enjoy listening to people and hearing what drives them, what is their passion and asking questions about that.
Q: Why law school?
A: I knew when I was 5. I wrote it down when I was 6 that I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t know what that meant. But we played court on the playground and I would be the judge to settle disputes about different playground equipment. I wanted to help people, even at 5. Some of that came from my mom’s military service, my dad being in law enforcement and me being a Girl Scout.
Q: What are you reading?
A: “All About Love,” by bell hooks. She was a professor at my undergrad. I didn’t realize at that time how amazing that was to have been in community with her.
Q: Pet peeve?
A: When you’re walking on the sidewalk in a group and pass people going in a different direction, I cannot stand when people don’t do single file. They continue to bunch up and push your group off the sidewalk. Please, for two seconds, get in a single file.
Q: Best part of your work?
A: Helping clients envision a new normal. We’re dealing with people who are in transition. And helping them see that not every solution requires litigation, although I don’t mind litigating, by any means.
Q: Most challenging?
A: Articulating unfavorable decisions to clients. It’s hard to break bad news, unfavorable news to them.
Q: Favorite activity away from work?
A: I take a lot of dance classes — ballet, jazz, modern, Afro modern — and perform when I can.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: I was born in Huntsville, Alabama. You have to go to the Space & Rocket Center. A lot of people don’t realize we’re like the brains of the space program.
Q: Legal figure you admire?
A: Judge Constance Baker Motley. She was a key legal strategist during the civil rights movement, the first Black woman to argue at the Supreme Court and first African American female federal judge, so I have to give her a lot of credence and kudos.
Q: Misconception about your work?
A: Sometimes the assumption we are faced with as family law attorneys is that anybody and everybody can dabble in family law. I’m not saying that people can’t learn it but it’s definitely an area that’s not meant for everyone given the roller coaster nature of the emotions and the emotional people we are contacting and impacting on a daily basis.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: “To Kill a Mockingbird” is my favorite book. I saw the Broadway show in London last year and loved it. Hearing people from the U.K. try to have Southern accents, being someone from the South, was quite entertaining. “All Rise” is a fun TV show that follows a newly appointed judge and prosecutors and public defenders.