• Lisa Damiani

      Lisa Damiani

    • Lisa Damiani

      Lisa Damiani '79

Notable Achievements

YEARS AT PARK: 1975 – 1979
GRADES ATTENDED: 9-12

ACTIVITIES: Theater, Spark Editor-in-Chief, Cheerleader, Sports (Athlete of the Year award 1979) 

COLLEGES AND DEGREES: New York University, 1983, BA Political Science/Journalism; California Western School of Law, 1988, JD 

CAREER
1983 – 1985 Freelance Journalist & Assistant to International Outerwear Manufacturer
1988 – 1993 Private Practice Criminal Defense Attorney
1993 – 2000 Attorney with International law firm, McKenna & Cuneo (now McKenna, Long & Aldridge)
2000 – present Lead Trial Counsel and President, Damiani Law Group APC
Professional Activities: Master in the American Inn of Court, William B. Enright Chapter (formerly on the Board); Past Chair of the Criminal Law Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA); Lecturer (various topics for the California State Bar, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and Federal Defender’s Inc.); Facilitator for the ABA sponsored program “Core Skills of Creative Problem Solving."

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS: AV Preeminent Rating, Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers (2011 – present), Attorney of the Month (San Diego Attorney Journal, September 2012), Top Lawyer – Criminal Defense, Employment, and Business Law (San Diego Magazine, March 2013, March 2014)

HOBBIES: Watching my son play football, Writing, Photography, Skiing, Bicycle riding, Running 


Lisa Damiani '79

Some parents dream of their children becoming athletes, senators, or captains of industry. Lisa Damiani’s father wanted her to be a lawyer. That was not part of her plan when she graduated from Park in 1979 and headed off to New York University. She wanted to be a journalist.

Damiani stayed in New York after graduating from college and tried to make it as a journalist. But there was a gap between what she was earning as a freelance writer and what it cost to rent an apartment. Her dad had made her a standing offer that if she ever changed her mind he would provide financial help.

“So I called my father and said, ‘I want to go to law school.’ It was the happiest day of his life.”
Damiani enrolled in California Western School of Law in San Diego. She had not planned to stay in the region, nor had she pictured herself working in criminal defense. Things just worked out that way.

“When I was in law school, my criminal law teacher told me, ‘You know, Lisa, you should get into criminal defense work. It would be perfect for you.’” She saw her future as a corporate lawyer until she gave it a try. Just for fun, she says, she applied for a job working with one of San Diego’s top criminal defense attorneys, Juanita Brooks.

“I ended up getting the job with her and really started enjoying it. After I passed the bar exam they sent me for court appearances. I got addicted to that and decided that I couldn’t do anything else.”

Eventually, she started her own firm, the Damiani Law Group APC. It handles a variety of cases, including criminal and employment labor issues, and business litigation.

“Felony cases, anything from embezzlement, grand theft, financial crimes, violent crimes, allegations of domestic violence, sex offenses…The only thing I don’t handle is death penalty work because it would consume my practice and I’d have to concentrate only on death penalty cases.”

Her entrepreneurial spirit was inherited. When Damiani was in middle school her family moved from Long Island to Buffalo after her dad left a career as an aerospace engineer at Grumman to become a partner in a new bowling alley, Lancaster Lanes.

“It ended up being successful for him and he was able to send us to Park,” says Damiani, whose brother, John, was a year ahead of her.

Damiani’s class was small, about 25 students. “I had an opportunity to do whatever I wanted to do. I was a cheerleader. I was in plays. I was in sports. In my senior year, I was editor-in-chief of the yearbook.”

Damiani’s science teacher, Father Edward Lawler, was particularly memorable.

“Even though I’m not in any way involved in science, the man was just such a wonderful person. He was so loving and open, and you just felt safe with him. Any kind of issue you would have, he would be there, willing to help or talk.”

Damiani’s name has been in the national media as the legal representative for the family of James Holmes, who has been charged with the movie theater killings in Aurora, Colo. In 2012.
“My representation of the family was related to inquiries by the criminal investigators, and then responding to requests for interviews by the media, and helping guide them through the process of what is happening to their son,” Damiani said.

Damiani says she owes much of her professional success to The Park School.

“Park instilled confidence in that I could set goals, achieve them, and not be afraid to pursue those goals,” she said. “And they did it in a very welcoming environment. Park instilled in me those really important feelings of confidence,” she said. “I set a goal for myself and I reached that goal. Now I’m out of that safe environment, and in life you’re thrown into some not-so-safe and very unwelcoming environments, but you’re able to carry that with you in your core, so that regardless of where you are or what the obstacles are, you can look inside yourself and know you can do this.”
 
Founded in 1912, The Park School of Buffalo has the distinction of being one the oldest Progressive schools in the country. Park is an independent, co-educational school serving approximately 300 students enrolled in prekindergarten (3 and 4 year olds), lower school (kindergarten through grade 4), middle school (grades 5 through 8), and upper school (grades 9 through 12). Park is uniquely situated on 34 beautiful acres in Amherst, New York. The School’s campus – formerly a farm – includes a pond, marsh, gardens, and a greenhouse while being located just minutes from downtown Buffalo and easily accessible from many communities throughout Western New York. Park’s educational philosophy embraces active, student-centered learning, delivered by exceptional teachers who design and continuously update a robust curriculum. Faculty members approach each student as an individual within the context of a kind and respectful community. From the preschool years through college preparation, The Park School of Buffalo helps learners realize their own unique potentials and prepares them to be confident, successful, life-long learners.

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