Meet Angela J. Reddock-Wright, Founder & Managing Partner of Reddock Law Group, a boutique, certified minority, and woman-owned employment and labor law firm that specializes in conducting workplace investigations and Title IX sexual assault investigations. She serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Urban League and Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER).
Who is Angela J. Reddock-Wright? Define yourself
I am a woman who is committed to service and making a difference both in my profession and community. I am originally from Birmingham, Alabama and grew up there the first nine years of my life. From Birmingham, my mother, seeking a better life for us post-civil-rights Alabama, moved us to Compton, CA where I continued to grow up and lived until I went away to college on the East Coast. In Birmingham, my maternal grandmother Fletta Gills was a home health care worker and union member. I remember walking the picket lines with her as a young girl, as she and her fellow union members advocated for better wages and working conditions. Those early experiences and memories, coupled with a sense of southern hospitality, helped shape the woman I am today. I like to think that through my work as an employment lawyer and mediator, as well as my service to my community through various organizations, that I am sowing into the lives of others, just as so many sowed into my life. I consider myself as Servant-Leader, and my motto in life is “Service is the Rent You Pay for Your Space Here on Earth.”
“My motto in life is Service is the Rent You Pay for Your Space Here on Earth.”
How were you as a kid?
As a kid, I was always very happy, smiling and laughing. People knew me for my joyful spirit. I was very active in my church and community. On any given weekday afternoon or weekend, I was volunteering, singing in my church and local community choir, or participating in an academic enhancement activity. I was very busy – my Mom made sure of that. An idle mind is the devil’s playground.
You hold a Bachelor of Arts, English & Political Science at Amherst College and Juris Doctorate (J.D.) at University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law, why did you choose those courses of study?
I chose English & Political Science because they were most aligned with my interest in writing and love for community and civic engagement. Little did I know that they also would serve as the perfect backdrop for law school and to pursue a career in the law. I chose to become a lawyer because after evaluating many other career paths, I felt being a lawyer was the career path that would provide me the greatest opportunity to give back to my community and to advocate for the things and issues that I thought were most important. 25 years later, I am not disappointed. Being a lawyer has been as rewarding, and more, as I thought it would be.
You were an employment and labor law litigator for 15 years. During that time, you represented clients in the full gamut of employment and labor law cases, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, public policy, and wage and hour claims. You also developed specialties in handling highly sensitive cases hazing and bullying cases involving K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. You litigated two of the nation’s leading hazing, wrongful death, and personal injury cases involving two top sororities. Based on your experience what are the roots of bullying and what can we do as a society to change that reality?
Bullying starts with individuals who believe they are more powerful than others or believe they should be. Bullying starts with individuals who do not have a strong sense of self and although they appear strong on the outside, they often are weak on the inside. As a society, we can change the culture of bullying by first, declaring it is unacceptable. By calling bullies out and letting them know that their conduct is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We cannot reward and applaud bullies – that only makes them worse and empowers them to keep doing what they do.
“ We cannot reward and applaud bullies – that only makes them worse and empowers them to keep doing what they do”.
You are Founder & Managing Partner at Reddock Law Group; past president of Southern California Mediation Association and you are a member of the panel of mediators with the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. You have been the recipient of numerous awards and has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer each year since 2011 and named a U.S. News – Best Lawyer and Southern California Super Lawyer, what´s the recipe for your success?
Hard work, preparation, dedication, consistency, and a love for what I do. Making my clients first and ensuring that I always show up for them with the intent of providing them the best possible services.
Tell us more about your company Reddock Law Group, what services does it provide and what does it make unique in the market?
The Reddock Law Group is a minority and woman-owned firm. I am proud of that. We are not litigators. Rather, we are a dispute resolution firm for employment matters. What that means is that we are neutrals and on any given day, we are working with our clients (both employees and employers and their attorneys), to mediate or arbitrate litigated employment law matters. We also are called when companies need an outside firm to come in and conduct a neutral and independent, third-party investigation on an internal claim filed for sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other workplace violations. Generally, we are called for high-profile, highly sensitive matters involving executives, managers, school leaders, public and elected officials. These are sometimes referred to as “workplace” or “Title IX” investigations. Title IX investigations involve schools. We also conduct preventive trainings for companies and their employees, on such topics as preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace, anti-bullying, and diversity, equity & inclusion training.
“Networking and follow-up. No matter how busy I get, I always make time to meet new potential clients and to maintain relationships with old ones”.
You have served on the executive leadership board roles with such organizations as Ability First, the Brentwood School of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (also a founding member of this organization). Currently, you serve on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Urban League and Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER) what does it drive you?
I live a life of service. Being a part of these organizations allows me to give back to my community through organizations that do work on the ground that I admire and have a passion for.
Do you have any philosophy that guides your career decisions?
I am a Christian, so I pray and ask God for guidance in my life decisions. With each career or life move, I want to make sure it is a move that in no way precludes my ability to contribute positively to the lives of others.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I generally wake-up at 6am. As much as possible, I try to begin my day with prayer, mediation and a 2-mile walk. I then have breakfast, while catching up on the day’s news and checking any emails that came in overnight. I then right down my high-level to-do list for the day and hit the ground running with work. On any given day, I am either conducting a mediation or arbitration, or interviewing witnesses as a part of a workplace or Title IX investigation.
“I think the biggest thing we can do as women is to support, sponsor and mentor other women. As we climb, we must pull others behind us”
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?
I love that every day is different, and that the world of employment law is constantly evolving. I like that I get to help employers and employees resolve problems and move forward in a positive and healthy way. The most difficult part is when a case, for some reason, does not settle after a day of mediation. I feel such ownership for the cases and the outcome, that I sometimes carry that with me to sleep or into the days to come. That said, even when a case does not settle, I am relentless in following up with the parties and their counsel to see how we can get the matter resolved. I truly believe the alternative dispute resolution and conflict resolution are the best alternatives to continued litigation and trial. This is particularly so since so many courts are backed-up due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stretched resources.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
Networking and follow-up. No matter how busy I get, I always make time to meet new potential clients and to maintain relationships with old ones. I also make time to speak on panels and events and to write. Doing these things force me to stay on top of developing legal trends and to stay engaged with the legal, business, and human resources communities.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Rest! And spend time with my husband and family. See friends. Travel. This year I look forward to getting back to golf. I think I am a decent player, but I do not play often enough to improve my game. I also think it is a great way to get some exercise and vitamin D, and to spend time with friends and colleagues.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life, and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you are married and have kids so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I am the school of thought that we cannot do everything perfectly, all at once. That on any given day it is a give and take and that our priorities change. Some days, doing things for our family is more important. Other days, work is the top priority. We must be nimble enough to adjust with each day and to be kind and gentle to ourselves. Currently, I am focusing on self-care. I know for sure that I do not spend enough time feeding and regenerating my own spirit. We are no good to others if we are not taking care of ourselves, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue serving clients and to spend some time thinking about how I can share my 25 years of experience through books, podcasts, speaking and other avenues. I would like to help and inspire more people and have a greater impact on helping employers and employees get along. I would like to continue to serve my individual clients, but also see how I can scale to serve and support more people.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
Not really because I chose to start my own firm and to paint my own destiny. However, I know glass ceilings exist. I think the biggest thing we can do as women is to support, sponsor and mentor other women. As we climb, we must pull others behind us.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an attorney like you?
My advice is to strive to do well at every stage of your education- K-12, college and then law school. This will help give you the discipline to become a good attorney and to ultimately pass the bar exam which allows you to become an attorney. Decide why you would like to be attorney. Do not do it just because it seems like a good profession. It requires a big investment of time and resources, so you want to be sure you learn as much as possible what being an attorney looks like in everyday life. Try to find a mentor who is an attorney and ask them to introduce you to other attorneys in different practice areas so you can see the many facets and options for practicing law. Become an attorney because you like helping people and you have a passion for justice. Oh yes, a big part of being an attorney is writing! So be sure you like to write and that you will not mind doing it in your practice. The arguments in court are the glorious part but not the bulk of what we do. Most of what we do is behind the scenes and out of the courtroom.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Angela and what´s not?
Being Angela is someone who works hard behind the scenes to service her clients and community and to create success daily. Being Angela is someone who rises early and goes to bed late and works weekends to do all the things she does.
Angela is not someone who had a golden ticket or spoon. She has had to work hard at every stage of life and continues to do so, with the support of family, friends, and colleagues.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I most admire my paternal grandmother Sadie Mae Reddock. She had a debilitating stroke in her 40’s and she is now 91 years old. Although she has been wheelchair bound for over 50 years, she has never pitied herself and she has always exhibited a positive and good attitude and spirit to her family and friends. She is my constant reminder that no matter what happens to you in life, there is a way to live your life with grace and gratefulness and to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
What else do you want to add or share with us?
I honor my mother Wilma Hairston who helped me to become the woman I am today. She, along with many other family members, made many sacrifices so I can go and pursue my dreams. I am eternally grateful for her and others.
I am married to Steven E. Wright, retired Sergeant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation. We married as seasoned adults. When I married him, I went from 0-60, with no biological kids, to now 3 adult children in love and 9 grandchildren. People look at me and wonder how I have 3 adult children and 9 grandchildren. I tell them I have a secret anti-aging gel.
Name: Angela J. Reddock-Wright
Company: Reddock Law Group
Designation: Founder & Managing Partner