Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Her practice focuses on complex cases including mental health matters, family law and probate, and attorney Carol Soderquist reveals an affinity for these uniquely challenging situations. “My aim is to assist individuals and families as they navigate difficult times,” she states, “and to help them emerge as intact as possible.” Ms. Soderquist’s roots lie in social services. Her early career endeavors included work at the Central Arizona Child Evaluation Center and tenure at the Gila River Indian Community, where she created and implemented a program designed to empower and educate parents of young children. Ms. Soderquist went on to teach in the Gilbert School District before setting her sights on a new professional goal. “I always believed that, as an attorney, I’d end up in a practice that focused on children,” she reveals. While she does work with youth throughout the state, her repertoire has expanded to include an increasing number of mental health, family law and probate cases. “Cases involving mental health issues have become a sort of a career niche for me,” acknowledges Ms. Soderquist. “I think that being able to identify the underlying needs of my clients has made this an ideal field for me,” she explains. “It is easy, for example, to dismiss someone with a borderline personality disorder and view them as contrary or a nuisance. My approach is to try and ascertain the causation of the behavior, to understand what is driving a person from a neurological or behavioral perspective. Once that is identified, I can better guide my client to the appropriate party for assistance in stabilizing or managing the problem.” After leaving as a named partner at an area firm, Ms. Soderquist established a thriving solo practice. The transition, she notes, was borne of opportunity rather than adversity. “I remain on good terms with my former partners,” she explains. “The advantage to running my practice is that it allows me the latitude to pursue a variety of interests, attend diverse CLEs and conduct expansive research. As a result, I am better able to tailor my practice to best suit the needs of my clientele.” Her varied caseload regularly leads Ms. Soderquist into probate court, family court, juvenile court and administrative hearing settings. The freedom to practice beyond a narrowly defined niche, she notes, is particularly helpful when handling the complexities of mental health cases. Also helpful in many of her cases is Ms. Soderquist’s ability to successfully integrate and utilize a wealth of resources designed to provide holistic counsel and care for her clients’ needs. An empathetic professional, she has established a network of contacts among the nation’s top mental health specialists. Through ongoing dialogues, Ms. Soderquist maintains a current working knowledge of topics and developments in mental health fields. Her collaborative approach has yielded unexpected results; Ms. Soderquist reveals that one working relationship has evolved into a successful personal partnership. “I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Stephen Herman in a case that included components related to Arizona and Connecticut,” she says. “Once the case had closed, we discovered that we worked well together beyond a professional capacity.” Stephen P. Herman, M.D., a forensic psychiatrist specializing in cases involving children, maintains an active practice in New York City and is expanding his practice in Arizona as well. Board certified in pediatrics, psychiatry, child psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, he also holds medical licensure in the states of Arizona, California, New York and Connecticut. Though he no longer collaborates professionally with Ms. Soderquist, Dr. Herman has proven to be an excellent resource within Arizona’s legal community, as both a consultant and an expert witness. The standard of ethics by which Dr. Herman has established himself is unwavering. He has cultivated a national reputation as an upstanding and objective professional who offers independent and thorough evaluations. “Expert witnesses have come to earn a reputation for being biased toward the parties that hire them,” he acknowledges. “My work is not influenced by anything other than the case at hand.” Dr. Herman’s professional endeavors reflect the marriage of an assemblage of longtime interests. The son of a trial attorney, he grew up privy to the legal process. After earning his medical degree from the Penn State University College of Medicine, Dr. Herman pursued pediatric training at the prestigious Mayo Clinic before completing a psychiatric residency and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Yale University. It was at Yale that Dr. Herman integrated law and medicine. He explains, “I had the opportunity to learn how to conduct custody evaluations in supervision cases, and discovered that this was an area I really enjoyed.” Upon opening his Manhattan, New York practice, the doctor established relationships with judges and lawyers, and is now a sought-after psychiatric resource for forensic criminal and civil cases. Dr. Herman and Ms. Soderquist share similar ethical outlooks, and enjoy the opportunity to discuss theories and practices that impact their respective professions. “Carol challenges me to examine different perspectives of a given situation,” notes Dr. Herman. “She is an incredibly talented and professional attorney with a real heart. She’s a genuinely empathetic advocate, a standout individual within her profession.” Ms. Soderquist participated in Pepperdine University School of Law’s advanced mediation training. She has earned a reputation as a conciliatory attorney who strives to resolve issues outside of court, but asserts that she doesn’t shy away from the courtroom. She serves as a Judge Pro Tempore for the Maricopa County Superior Court, an appointment which provides her with a more comprehensive perspective on courtroom proceedings. “It’s interesting,” offers Ms. Soderquist of her bench presence. “There’s a distinct focus on narrowing each case for efficacy, and I am able to utilize the knowledge I have acquired in my areas of practice with a unique sense of objectivity.” In practice, Ms. Soderquist is challenged to establish and maintain a myriad of professional and personal boundaries with an often fragile clientele, to connect with individuals with empathy while maintaining the objective vision necessary to assist them in resolving significant issues. She manages this with a sense of grace that is at once fierce and nurturing. Ms. Soderquist is a voice for the unheard, an advocate for the underserved and a resource for those in dire need. Beyond her practice, Ms. Soderquist has served as a chair (2003-2004) of the Arizona State Bar’s Mental Health & Elder Law Executive Council. She presents continuous legal education (CLE) seminars on topics including family law, probate, mental health and mediation. She is a parent coordinator/special master for the Maricopa County Superior Court and is also licensed as a private fiduciary by the Arizona Supreme Court. Ms. Soderquist looks forward to continuing to navigate complex cases within her areas of practice, and to cultivating an expanding professional network throughout the communities she serves.
Published by Target Market Media . View All Articles.