Among the highlights of 2017 was the opportunity to recognize an outstanding local attorney, Jamie Bossuat, who received the San Joaquin County Bar Association's 2016 Outstanding New Lawyer Award at the New Lawyers' Reception in February. Ms. Bossuat is the fourth recipient of the annual award, which honors an attorney who has actively practiced for seven years or less at the time of nomination and has a distinguished record of service to the legal profession, the SJCBA, and the greater community.
After moving to Stockton from San Francisco in 2013, Ms. Bossuat joined the law firm of Kroloff, Belcher, Smart, Perry and Christopherson and was quick to distinguish herself. She has served as the chair of the SJCBA's Women Lawyers' Section and is a graduate of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Stockton program. She is also a member of the Stockton Parks and Recreation Commission, which provides advice and oversight to the City Council regarding Stockton's park facilities.
"I was raised to contribute to my community," she says, and she has lived up to that calling. She is a member of the board of Pixie Woods, and coordinates volunteers for the park's annual wine tasting fundraiser, among other things.
"We had 33 wine or beer distributors, 21 restaurants, and four live bands" as well as 250 volunteers at the last wine-tasting event at the park, which hosted hundreds of people.
The fundraiser supports one of Stockton's hidden gems: "Pixie Woods is an example of really great things that Stockton has to offer that people don't pay attention to," she added, noting that the board itself is a unique service opportunity. "It's fun to go to a board meeting where the topic is bees or bunnies running through the park."
Ms. Bossuat admires her mother, a Feldenkrais practitioner who provides physical therapy to children, for her ability to find that elusive balance between service to others and taking care of oneself. "She is always doing things for other people, but is able to still pursue her own passions," Ms. Bossuat said.
Ms. Bossuat is a 2009 graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and in her practice today primarily represents employers in employment disputes. She has an extensive background in employment law: following her undergraduate experience at the University of California, San Diego, she worked as an executive assistant for the non-profit Community Resource Center, where human resources were among her responsibilities. Among her first jobs after graduating law school was with San Francisco's Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center. She has authored a number of articles and given many presentation on employment law topics. She is also an accomplished civil litigator, representing hospitals, insurers, and physicians in medical malpractice litigation and representing individuals and corporations in business cases.
Ms. Bossuat was raised in Fremont but moved here with husband Josh Bossuat, a Stockton native whom she met while both were working in San Francisco. Living in the City was fun, she says, at least when her work as a plaintiff's-side employment lawyer allowed her any free time. However, that experience also contributes her appreciation for the conveniences of living in Stockton.
"I used to circle around for six blocks until I could find a parking spot," she said. "I rode the bus to work and it took 45 minutes. Sometimes I stayed at work too late and missed the bus, which meant waiting an hour and a half to get home." Now, by contrast, "I have a short drive, park in my garage, press the button and I'm home!"
Her husband grew up in France, and the family visits relatives there every other year. Although she doesn't have "a drop of French blood" herself, Ms. Bossuat is attempting to learn the language. She admits, however, that her two-year-old daughter Jacquelyne has already surpassed her in that particular skill. Ms. Bossuat also has a baby boy on the way, for whom she and her husband have yet to pick out a name.
"It's hard to find something that works in English and in French," she mused. The demands of work and family leave Ms. Bossuat with little free time, but when she gets the chance, she enjoys gardening and reading, from historical non-fiction to "murder mysteries I pick up in the airport." She also enjoys baking and decorating cakes, but has little time to do so very often anymore. "The last one I made was for my daughter's first birthday party in March and I ended up doing that in the middle of the night the day before!"
Although the Outstanding New Lawyer award is presented at the New Lawyers' Reception in February, the recipient is announced the previous November at the SJCBA's annual meeting. Ms. Bossuat recalls that she was made aware she had been nominated, but was happily surprised to learn she had won the award. She looks forward to the upcoming New Lawyers' Reception in February, at which she will present the 2017 Outstanding New Lawyer award to Heather Rubino.