Hear Cari Rincker’s Interview with Pace Law School

Cari Rincker Business/Commercial Law, Divorce Mediation, Family/Matrimonial Law, Farm Law, Food & Ag Law, Food & Ag Policy, Interviews, Teaching, Virtual Mediation Leave a Comment

What was your path to law school? Did you always want to be a lawyer?

When I was a very little girl, I wanted to be a lawyer but the truth was, I didn’t know many lawyers and I didn’t understand what they did. It wasn’t until I lived in Washington D.C. and interned in Capitol Hill in agriculture and natural resource policy that I knew I wanted to go to law school.  I was living in the Georgetown law dorms at the time and it felt like everyone around me was a lawyer or a law student or loved law and policy.  It started a seed of passion inside of me to apply to law school two years later, after I finished my masters degree.

Why did you choose Haub Law?

I always wanted to go to Pace Law School with its combination of geography and excellence with its environmental law program.  I was living in Rome, Italy at the time and volunteering with the Food & Agriculture Organization – I cried with happiness when I got the news that I was accepted.

How was your experience at Haub Law? Favorite professors? Favorite classes?

I have a lot of favorite classes and professors there.  Perhaps my biggest wake-up call was with Prof. Ann Powers with the environmental skills course.  She taught me how to really read and understand statutes and corresponding regulations.  I also loved my Land Use course with Prof. Nolan and oftentimes think of those concepts today.  Surprisingly, my favorite class in law school was tax law with Prof. Crawford – she is an incredibly talented teacher using fantastic examples bringing the concepts to life.

What did you find most challenging in law school?

I learned to both love and dislike the commute time.  I lived in Manhattan and reverse commuted on Metro North.  On somedays, I loved the commute – it was meditative and I got to know other students who lived in the City.  On other days, I just wanted to be home after a long day at school.  In hindsight, I would have lived in White Plains or in the dorms for a least a year.

In 2009, you launched your own practice, Rincker Law, LLC – what made you want to go out on your own?

I wanted to both live in New York City and do agriculture law – a combination only possible if I did it myself.

Your practice is focused on food, farm, agriculture, and family law – what about those areas holds your interest?  

When you think about Food, Farm and Family law, it really gets to the focus of our communities.  We need strong families, who eat quality, safe food grown on agriculture operations.

What advice would you give students or even graduates and new attorneys who want to start their own practice?

You need to have a plan for cash.  It can be savings.  It could be a spouse.  It could be working to earn an income while you start your practice.  But you need a plan.  For me, I decided to do “document review” at NYC firms while starting my practice on nights and weekends until it was a full-time law practice a year later.

You have to jump.  I know it’s scary and you have no clue if your wings will open or if you will tumble down the cliff.  But at some point, you have to jump.

You are a trained mediator and passionate about alternative dispute resolution – what about ADR and mediation do you think is so beneficial in the area of family law? 

I love it in so many ways but mostly because it helps preserve family relationships, especially when children are involved.  When two companies go to war in a courtroom over a business dispute, they don’t (typically) want to do business with one another afterwards.  Then how can two parents want to co-parent with each other?

Mediation also helps people have their own autonomy over their own agreements that hopefully will stick.

You have also served as an adjunct professor at a variety of institutions for a number of years – what is your favorite part of teaching?

That moment when you can tell that it’s all clicking.  I teach mediation at the University of Illinois and we are at the time of the semester when I can see al the parts and pieces come together for them.  I also teach agriculture and environmental law classes at Vermont Law School so it is harder for me to see that moment but I feel proud of my students each week but especially with their final projects/ papers.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?

I have two young children who keep me busy. I also love yoga and hiking.

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