After graduating from Duke University School of Law and practicing in North Carolina for 10 years, Lena Wade was ready to come home in 2006. “I was born here in the Coachella Valley,” she says. “This is where my family is, and I wanted to raise my son here.”
Now a partner with Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney (SBEMP), a full-service firm with offices in Palm Springs, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, and New York, Wade and a team of other female partners were tasked with opening the newest branch in Indian Wells. She chairs the public agency practice group, representing cities, counties, and joint powers authorities, while the firm’s other 25 attorneys cover civil litigation, business, labor and employment, family, and trusts, estates and probate matters.
Wade praises SBEMP’s commitment to serving the community through local nonprofits. She herself is vice chair of FIND Food Bank, a trustee on the Desert Bar Association, and a director for the Desert Best Friend’s Closet.
She spends her free time with her 14-year-old son Cameron, who she likes to remind that her father, Dr. Ripton Wade, one of the first African-American physicians in the Coachella Valley, “created big shoes for us to fill, and it’s our duty and our responsibility to carry on what my father had started.”
She loves being back in the desert to enjoy its “perfect weather,” vast cultural offerings, and outdoor lifestyle. “This is a place to set down roots,” she says. “There are plenty of opportunities to establish one’s own business; you just have to be creative and take the chance and do that.”
VIDEO: Lena Wade chats about returning to the Coachella Valley in 2006 to practice law.