Member Spotlight – June/July 2015
5550 Wild Rose Lane, Suite 400
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Debra Hockett-Clark is a Solo Practitioner specializing in Family Law. She graduated from Grand View College in 1988 and from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, in 1993. Debra opened her practice in June of 1993.
I was the co-editor of the Family Law Newsletter for the Iowa State Bar Association from 1997 to 2002. I have been a member of the Polk County Bar Association since I was admitted to practice in 1993. I have volunteered with Volunteer Lawyers Project cases since I was admitted to practice. I have been on the Polk County Bar Association Board of Directors since 2009 to the present. I have also been a member of the Iowa State Bar Association since 1993. I am currently on the ISBA Board of Governors since 2013. I was trained as a Family Law Mediator in 2004 and have been a mediator for the Polk County District Court Mediation Program. I am also trained as a Collaborative Family Law Attorney in 2007 and am currently serving as the President of the Central Iowa Academy of Collaborative Professionals. I am also currently the co-chair of the newly formed PCBA Solo and Small Practice committee.
Why you do what you do:
I practice family law because I believe that people deserve legal representation that is both compassionate and zealous. My clients are going through emotional and financial turmoil when they come to see me. I am a firm believer that it is critical to give your clients straightforward information about their case so that the client can make the best decision about how they want to proceed. My clients are best served when I can help them find a resolution without involving the courts.
What you do to get away from work:
I enjoy spending time with my children who are 10, 8 and 6 and watching them in their activities. We also like to take short trips away for the weekend, go to movies and go bowling.
What you do to give back to the community:
I have been involved with the Volunteer Lawyers Project since I graduated from law school in 1993. I regularly take cases for clients who cannot afford legal representation. My husband and I were licensed pre-adoptive foster parents and adopted our three children through that process. There is a critical need for good foster homes and I would encourage all of you to consider opening your home to a child in need of a loving family.
Best thing about the Polk County Bar Association:
The best thing about the PCBA is the support that they provide to their members. When I first began my practice, they provided me with forms and mentors who would help me with my VLP cases. The committees are active and provide information for your area of practice. As a solo practitioner, the free CLEs two times each year is a great benefit. The mediation program is by far the best in the State of Iowa. The program enables many cases to settle relieving the local judges from an even higher caseload. Lastly, one of the best things about the PCBA is Carol Burdette. She works many long days and nights representing the interests of the PCBA and the VLP.
Words to live by:
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Best place to visit in Polk County:
Blank Park Zoo. It is just the right size and the whole family loves seeing the animals.
What would you change about Polk County:
I think that the schools need improvement. We are going to have to overhaul our current school systems if we are going to enable our children to compete with other countries around the world.
I lead by example. I like to be organized and prepared.
What you wanted to be when you were growing up:
When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian or doctor. By the time I got into high school, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer.
Last movie you saw:
Paul Blart II with the kids.
What you would choose to learn to do and why:
I would love to learn to speak a foreign language. I never took any foreign language in school and I really admire people who are bilingual.
An interesting fact about your practice:
I have operated my practice for 22 years without ever having a legal assistant. I have a receptionist who just answers my phone calls and I handle all client contact from that point on.