10 Questions with Rashanda Bruce

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In this edition of 10 Questions, we feature Rashanda Bruce, an associate at Robins Kaplan.

1. What made you want to become a lawyer?
I learned at an early age that people view the legal system as confusing and scary. Because of those views, people who need access to the legal system may never obtain what they need and deserve. As someone who has always wanted to help people, I knew that understanding this “confusing” and “scary” system could at least open the door for those who weren’t otherwise accessing it. I decided to become a lawyer at the age of 14 and never looked back.  

2. Tell us about your practice area. What are the challenges and rewards of working in that area of law?
I work in Robins Kaplan’s Mass Tort and Personal Injury Groups, representing individuals and families in complex personal injury and wrongful death cases. This can present several challenges, one being the time it takes to pursue justice. Because a lot of my work involves individuals who have been harmed or killed by a product, we often pursue claims against some of the largest companies in the world. This can delay how quickly my clients see some form of justice. The best reward is the ability to impact my clients’ lives. Most of my clients have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one. While I can’t fix every situation, I give my clients an opportunity to be heard and seen, and I give them access to the legal system that they may not have otherwise received. 

3. How do you typically start and end your workday?
I typically start my workday by creating “today’s task list.” My task list contains the projects I need to complete that day, in order of priority. I create the list based on what did (or did not) happen the day before, what is new in my inbox, and what is realistic. I end my workday by cleaning out my inbox, making sure everything is in order in my office, and wiping my desk with a Clorox wipe. Being organized is critical for me and sets the tone for my day.

4. What’s a favorite activity or getaway spot to help you disconnect from work?
Coaching cheerleading. Coaching requires my complete attention. I can’t hop on a call while a group of teenage girls are yelling in the back. I can’t check my emails while one of my athletes is being lifted into the air. And I can’t be my best self to my athletes when I am worried about work. I have to let it go, at least temporarily.  

5. You co-founded and serve on the leadership team of LOCUS. Can you share more about that initiative?
LOCUS was founded in 2013 as an initiative of Minnesota Rising, a network of emerging leaders in Minnesota. Minnesota Rising works to build relationships, trust, and a shared vision for Minnesota, and focuses on developing the collective capacity of this generation for impacting Minnesota’s future. LOCUS, in turn, was created by and for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) to intentionally center themselves in the work of Minnesota Rising. Our intent is to connect with our communities and to each other. We make sense of the ways in which we and our communities are evolving, and share resources and opportunities for equitable advancement and collective, statewide vitality. We have created an online social community of over 7,150 members and counting.  

6. Having coached competitive cheerleading for 15 years, what takeaways from that experience serve you as an attorney?
There are too many takeaways to list them all but some key lessons that I apply to my current role include how to overcome adversity and how to persevere; how to take risks as an individual and be a part of a team; how to triumph graciously, and how to hold my head high in defeat. Each year at the end of our season banquet, I tell my athletes: “By succeeding while remaining grounded, by losing and coming back to do it again, you have learned how to win, not just in sports, but in life. That is a prize that will never tarnish and one that can never be taken from you.” I don’t think I realized what cheer taught me until I started coaching. I look back on all that I learned and can say with absolute certainty my cheer experience has helped develop me into the attorney I am today.

7. What’s a piece advice you’ve received that resonated with you? 
“Be comfortable with charting your own path for your life.”  

8. What book are you reading right now, what podcast are you listening to, and/or what show are you currently streaming?
The Light We Carry, Michelle Obama

9. Who is your dream dinner party guest? 
Michelle Obama of course!  

10. Complete this sentence: “Everybody who knows me, knows I love …”
Being a big sister and an aunt! Wouldn’t trade those roles for the world.
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Elsa Cournoyer

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Joseph Satter