Serving San Francisco and the East Bay

Member Profile

Fernande Marie BenczeElizabeth Holt Andrews

Severson & Werson, P.C.

When you were 10 years old, what were your career aspirations?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My mother’s mother was a regular contributor to Sunset Magazine and other local Bay Area publications, and she was an important role model for me. When I was growing up, she always encouraged me to engage in creative writing on my own, outside of the constraints of school assignments. I’m extremely fortunate to have found a career that enables me to write every day.

What's your favorite part of your job?
I like being a litigator because it lets me focus on my two favorite things: writing and people. Litigation is a career path that provides daily opportunities to engage in disciplined, rigorous research and writing. But at the same time it also requires you to exercise good social skills, build strong professional relationships, and be a shrewd negotiator. Most days, I get to spend half my time interacting with people on the phone or in court, and the other half researching and drafting legal briefs. It’s a nice balance.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Passing two bar exams (California and North Carolina). I hope I never have to take another one!

What talent would you most like to have?
I sure wish I was good at playing a musical instrument. I’m not, though.

What trip or hobby delighted you in the past year?
Last year my husband and I spent a week on the Isle of Mull. It’s one of the Inner Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland. It was remote, lovely, and wild. When I have a particularly stressful day, I try to mentally conjure up a hike we did along the clifftops, with the sea crashing on the rocks below us and green fields full of lambs playing around their mothers’ feet.

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