Robin Pearson ’89 vividly recalls a property class with BC Law Professor Zygmunt Plater, who said that to be effective in the field, lawyers should “walk the land.” She took that advice to heart. As a partner with Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley in Walnut Creek, California, she is known not only for her thriving real estate practice, but also for mentoring women and people of color. For Pearson, that walk across the land has turned into a march toward diversifying the profession.
“The themes of my career have been mentorship, guidance, finding work/life balance, and how to survive in a law firm,” says Pearson. “When I started practicing, I hoped that lawyers would be civil and welcoming to women and people of color, but that was not the case.”
After her challenging start, Pearson found a mentor who helped change the path of her career. Within a few years, she co-founded Pearson & Schachter, a woman and minority-owned real estate firm. “We hired diverse staff and attorneys, not just based on color but also on gender, age, and different practice areas,” explains Pearson. “Last fall, we merged with Ropers Majeski, which shares our commitment to diversity.”
Pearson has also been a leader in the profession. She chaired the California State Bar Committee on Women in the Law, served as chair of the State Bar Committee on Access and Fairness, and as president of the Black Women Lawyers of Northern California. She is a long-time member and former president of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and founded its diversity committee.
In October, she was honored with its Outstanding Woman Lawyer Award. “It was a humbling moment,” says Pearson, who serves on a variety of nonprofit boards. “Everything I’ve done, I’ve done because it needs to be done, because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dowden finds the devil in the details. BY Maura King Scully
Pocket Résumé James Dowden ’00: Partner, Ropes & Gray. Follow His ...