Attorney Angela Reddock’s niche is helping nonprofits
Los Angeles Wave
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 7:15 pm | Updated: 7:26 pm, Wed May 1, 2013.
By Olu Alemoru, Staff Writer
In running her own successful boutique firm, labor law specialist Angela J. Reddock, of the Reddock Law Group, has a bit of a unique perspective that seems at odds with the perceived high-priced world of corporate litigation.
Reddock, who for the last 17 years has earned her living as a trial attorney, now focuses on helping employers stay out of court by helping them better manage the risks beforehand.
Essentially, Reddock, who in particular has a thriving niche with nonprofits like the Los Angeles Urban League — she is their interim vice president of human resources — works with her clients’ human resources departments and in-house counsels to implement what she believes are innovative practices for growth-oriented and conflict-free work environments.
“Usually, lawyers don’t combine those two things,” she said. “In the last five years, we’ve focused more on the front end, working with clients to look at their employee handbooks and hourly wage practices. You can get richer in court, but we pride ourselves in having created a niche in helping companies create great work environments.”
For the Urban League, Reddock said she and a team of three project-based attorneys have helped implement a 21st century human resources department and employee relations infrastructure that includes an electronic system to manage personnel, automated performance reviews and a professional development program.
“For the most part, either the money’s not there or nonprofits don’t have the time to do all the great things you might be able to do in the private sector,” she said. “I like working with nonprofits in our low-income areas because they don’t have the resources to go out and hire the big law firms. We’re hoping the work we’re doing with the L.A. Urban League will be a model for their agencies nationally.”
As a result of branching out on her own, Reddock has also been able to devote time to a side practice dealing with the emotional issue of bullying and hazing.
A few years ago she handled a case involving a sorority where two women died of a hazing incident and she took on the appeal case for a Palmdale youth convicted of murdering an older boy, who allegedly bullied him.
“The family was having trouble finding an appeals attorney and I felt it was the right thing to do,” she said. “My client was a young African-American male from Palmdale. He was 10 or 11 at the time; he was shy and timid and was being bullied by an older boy who was 13-14 and twice his size. This boy would bully him and the other kids all the time. One day my client lost it and ended up hitting the older boy with a baseball bat and killing him.”
She added: “My client was tried and convicted as an adult for second degree murder, but through the appeal, I was able to get his sentence reduced to involuntary manslaughter and have him viewed as a juvenile. He was released from the system at 14 or 15; he’s doing well, he has completed high school and living a normal life. It’s terrible that any young person should lose their life, but I feel this was a wrong that was righted.”
A native of Alabama who moved with her mother to Compton when she was 9, Reddock received a bachelor of arts (Cum Laude) in English and political science from the prestigious all-female Amherst College and her law degree from UCLA.
As a Coro Fellow in Public Policy and Public Affairs, she also cut her teeth in the political arena, working on Yvonne Burke’s winning county supervisor campaign and then later, as a staffer for Burke’s losing opponent Diane Watson, in her successful campaign for Congress.
In 2005, Reddock surprised many by getting 15 percent of the vote in the Los Angeles City Council election for the 11th District, gaining enough capital that the eventual winner, Bill Rosendahl, sought and got her endorsement for a runoff victory.
But these days she limits her public participation to serving on boards and committees, including the Los Angeles African-American Women’s Public Policy Institute (for which she is chair), Ability First and the Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
“I haven’t ruled out running for public office, but for now I’m happy being a lawyer,” she said. “Not too many of us are sitting at the table helping to influence the policies and practices of Southern California labor law.”