Profiles: Marie Galanti

Marie Galanti

Marie Galanti

JD 03, Rising Star Award 10

Founding Partner at Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. A Professional Law Corporation

CAREER CHANGER


Galanti grew up in Montreal, one of the great French-speaking regions in Canada. Determined that she would be bilingual, her French-speaking parents enrolled her in English-speaking schools when she was nine. Galanti developed fluency in three languages, a decided boost for an attorney working across borders.

With a doctorate in French civilization from the University of Kansas, Galanti spent her first career as a professor at San Francisco State University for three years. Her second career after academia, for well over three decades, was a publisher and journalist. In the mid-1970s she purchased and became the publisher of the country's largest French-language newspaper, Journal François, and France Today, a magazine published in English that covered issues in contemporary France. The following year, in 1977, she founded the publishing company France Press Inc. with Anne Prah-Perochon, the noted Bay Area art and French history professor who was Editor-In-Chief of Journal François and France Today.

Drawing upon her long years of teaching experience, she organized numerous workshops to train teachers in using mass media to teach French. She has conducted sessions on teaching French at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the American Association of Teachers of French conferences. She also authored and published the teacher's guide, Using French-Language Newspapers in the Classroom.

When an opportunity to sell the business presented itself, she thought that the new owners wouldn't be interested in keeping her on, so it was then that she decided to study law. Unlike the traditional students who had spent much of their undergraduate years preparing for law school entrance, Galanti hadn't considered the practicalities of the admissions process. She had assumed that her educational background would be taken into consideration to waive the LSAT exam requirement. In addition, she didn't know that there were specialized courses designed to prepare students to take the LSAT. Galanti purchased a book and studied on her own. Unfortunately, while her LSAT scores were adequate, they weren't outstanding. She wrote a passionate and motivational letter hoping to be accepted. GGU is reputable for providing opportunities to nontraditional students throughout its schools. She enrolled in January 2000, taking classes in both the day and evening programs. Like her fellow alumni, Galanti describes GGU's flexible scheduling as hugely beneficial. In her last semester of law school, with the California Bar Exam looming, Galanti decided to take the advice she might have given to one of her own students: find a tutor and work hard.

"I was probably the oldest student in my class. It is to the credit of GGU that I never felt any discrimination or questioning about whether I should be there among my younger classmates. There is such a wide spectrum of people at Golden Gate who are on second or even third careers, and are now on their way to doing something else. Students don't feel out of place whether they are much older, as I was, or much younger. Golden Gate is such a down-to-earth place in many ways."

Her international cases began with clients who had ties to France, but today the law firm provides client services to other countries. Focusing on international private transactions, she has built a niche in the Bay Area legal community. Most of her clients have an international connection. Some own property overseas or plan on purchasing real estate in another country. Some need advice on moving abroad or retiring in another country. Others need guidance on how to incorporate foreign assets into their American estate plan.

Stretching outside the box is part of the excitement of being a late-life career changer, she says. Galanti waited a long time to become a lawyer and has savored the experience for more than 10 years. Marie died on October 10, 2013. Her intellect, generous personality, and infectious laugh will be missed dearly.