To use water in the western US one must obtain a “driver’s license” from the State. I assist clients in obtaining these rights of use, changing the ownership of them, transferring them from one type of use to another, or in “fights” over who has the priority to use the water.
2. How did you begin to work in this specialty?
I was born and was married into it. My father is at 85 still a practicing attorney who was involved in natural resources issues beginning in about 1950 when he stared working for Robert Lytle, in Vale, Oregon, one of the first water lawyers in Oregon. I was married in 1972 to a farmer and became his partner is a 2000 acre row crop farm in eastern Oregon and assisted in irrigation activities.
3. When did you know you wanted to become a lawyer?
I never thought about being anything else. I was in my first courtroom with my dad before I went to grade school.
4. The QB theme for 2014 is "Authentic Communication: Considering the Value of Including Diverse Perspectives”, what does this theme mean to you?
My undergraduate degree is in Speech:Theatre so I have long been a “student” of this discipline. Communication focuses first on knowing perspective and culture of the listener before forming the message to be conveyed. Thus, an “authentic” communicator absolutely must understand the listener’s perspective if she is to effectively convey any message. Such is the challenge and excitement of international work, where although the message may be the same, the communicator is challenged to learn the cultural perspective in order to communicate and teach the message
5. In a mentor role, what advice can you give others?
Identify and work from your strengths.
6. In a mentee role, what issue would you seek guidance on?
Introductions to people and networks.
7. What is your favorite movie?
While I enjoy movies, I don’t have a favorite.
8. What is the last book you read for pleasure?
I am reading historical fiction in preparation for writing one based on one of my German ancestors.
9. What is something that you are proud of, that most people don't know about you?
My three children who “attended” law school with me. My oldest Rob owns a custom hay operation in eastern Oregon and western Idaho. My daughter Therese is my law partner, and my youngest daughter Sonja is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Cardiology. I have three grandchildren.
10. If possible, can you distill down to three points, what you learned during your USAID deployment to Afghanistan?
Even in a war zone, mothers live primarily for their children’s success and well-being.
Water allocation strategies have been in place for 3,000 years, have not changed much, are still contentious, and the winners often control human life and development.
American women enjoy a respect from men in Afghanistan that their wives and sisters do
Read more about Laura Schroeder at http://www.water-law.com/personnel/schroeder.htm