Renee Galente ‘08 Finds Success On Her Own Terms
February 26, 2015
After several years honing her skills at a premiere plaintiffs’ Civil Litigation firm in San Diego, alumna Renee Galente ‘08 joined her husband Eric Ganci ‘08, who she met while in law school to form Galente Ganci, APC. Managing a thriving practice, alongside Ganci, has allowed her to develop as an attorney, businessperson, and become a valued member of the legal community.
“From the business side, the best part is owning my own practice and being the one who sets the tone for the brand, the environment, the types of cases that I take and my schedule,” Galente said. “From the practice side, it’s getting to help people who’ve been hurt. Everything I do makes a difference to someone, betters their lives or makes them feel heard. That is an incredible gift for both of us, the client and me as their lawyer.” This dual role, as a businessperson and counselor, has enabled Galente to maintain a healthy work-life balance and lead a happy life.
“During law school I did a different internship in a different area of law each semester, starting with second semester of my 1L year,” Galente explained. “This allowed me to become familiar with a broad range of different areas of law including family law, criminal defense, and civil defense.” Interning at Neil Dymott, a health care defense firm, gave Galente a better idea of the career path she should pursue. After Neil Dymott, Galente tested the waters at a personal injury law firm, Thorsnes Bartolotta & Mcguire. “Clerking at Thorsnes Bartolotta & Mcguire sealed the deal and I knew that it was plaintiff-side civil work that would make me happiest as a career,” Galente said.
Galente’s enthusiasm earned her a job offer at Thorsnes Bartolotta & Mcguire after passing the bar. “I graduated in May of 2008 and took the July 2008 bar exam,” Galente recalled. “I found out in November that I passed the bar and was sworn in December. The day after the swearing in ceremony, I made my first appearance arguing a property dispute case against the City of San Marcos in front of an administrative law judge,” Galente recalled. “I worked for Thorsnes from 2008 until 2011 focusing on plaintiff’s personal injury, business, and property cases, working with partners Vince Bartolotta and Karen Frostrom on some incredible cases including the De Anza Cove cases and the Hilton Bayfront explosion.”
Galente generously divides her time between her practice, various San Diego organizations and TJSL. As Vice President of Policy and Outreach for Lawyers Club of San Diego, former President of San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, former chair for Human Rights Campaign, and as President Emeritus of the TJSL Alumni Association, Galente has demonstrated her commitment to the legal community. In recognition of her dedication and leadership, Galente has received numerous accolades. Galente was included in the June 2014 San Diego Business Journal’s Best of Bar, after being nominated by other San Diego attorneys.
A regular speaker at TJSL events, Galente encourages students and recent graduates to get involved. “Hit the ground running. Get out there, and if you have not joined San Diego legal organizations, do that immediately. Get involved in the community. Show up. Sign up for committees. Get your face recognized for being someone who can be counted on to follow through,” Galente said. “That’s how you get a job now. Not through your resume. Be the person everyone likes being around. Lawyers work a lot of hours. No one wants to work with a jerk or a know-it-all. Always ask what you can bring to the table instead of what others can do for you and you’ll get a lot further a lot faster.”
Appreciative of TJSL’s support, Galente recalls those who encouraged and helped her through law school. “From the first moment, I felt like I was an important piece of the school. Dean Beth Kransberger, on meeting me, was able to recognize my name and remember information from my admission essay, which blew my mind,” Galente said. “Professor Eric Mitnick was an incredible source of calm from the first night of class when he walked in and had us all take a deep breath before we started. He always asked if I had questions and meant it. He was fantastic about asking questions and if you gave the wrong answer, he would ask more questions until you got to the right answer on your own, so that you would learn the information.”
“The school changed my life and was my first experience with an educational organization that encouraged me to succeed and that actively worked and supported me to help me reach my goals,” Galente said. “TJSL awarded me with a NAWL award which made me feel like I was someone, like I was doing the right thing and that was incredible to know that the professors at the school thought I was doing something right.”
Director of the Clinical Externship & Pro Bono Programs JudyBeth Tropp proved instrumental in assisting Galente find the internships that shaped the beginning of her career. “She talked with me about interests, and the amount of time I had open and goals that I wanted to achieve and was always able to connect me with someone that could advance those goals,” Galente said. “The Communications Department was supportive from my 1L year on, highlighting accomplishments, and even after graduating the department was always there supporting and cheerleading for me. That really kept me tied into the school. It wasn’t like I graduated and no one cared anymore. Instead, my relationship grew even more involved and stronger as I reached back out to the current students as an alumna.”
When asked what advice she would give recent graduates, in addition to taking advantage of the TJSL’s many resources, Galente added, “Create a five year plan. And be willing to change it or update it whenever you need to. If you’re not happy, then you need to change something. But give yourself something to work towards. Don’t let negativity run your life. It’s easy when you’re busy or struggling to let the negatives rules. When you find yourself there, acknowledge how you feel and then knock it off. You won’t attract anything good when you’re busy wallowing.” Lastly, Galente suggested, “Be nice to everyone. You never know when an action or a kind word will make all the difference to someone else.”