Opportunity from Even the Worst Circumstances

Vol. 42 No. 4

By

LESLIE A. GORDON (leslie.gordon@stanford alumni.org) is a secret lawyer who has been working as a freelance legal affairs journalist for more than ten years.

Cara Esposito attributes her legal career to a dangerously close brush with tragedy. She escaped an attack by a serial rapist. That event introduced her to the inner workings of the criminal justice system. She worked closely with prosecutors on her case, which was work she found that she “loved.” Because of that experience, Esposito enrolled in law school, eager to become a prosecutor herself.

After graduating from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in 1998, Esposito joined the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and spent just shy of ten years there handling all kinds of cases, eventually focusing on juvenile matters.

In 2007, a private foundation with which she was familiar experienced a “very large liquidity event,” growing its reserves from $2 million to $47 million. As a result, the foundation needed help “following the law and the required standards and operations,” Esposito recalled. Esposito found herself in a position where she could help the foundation design its mission. She loved being a prosecutor and was passionate about her work with juveniles. But the opportunity to help lots of kids through the foundation proved too tempting.

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