Fighting For Your Civil Rights with Lisa Bloom

October 20, 2020

Lisa Bloom founded and owns one of the largest civil rights law firms in the US, The Bloom Firm, with offices located in LA and NY. Known for representing celebrity clients like Janice Dickinson, Blac Chyna, and Mischa Barton, Lisa mainly fights for ordinary people seeking justice, especially victims of sexual harassment, domestic violence, LGBTQ discrimination, racial bias, sexual assault, and police excessive force. Lisa and her team has won many verdicts and settlements against high profile people accused of misconduct, including sex offender Bill Cosby, serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly, Guess CEO Paul Marciano and billionaire Alki David; as well as many multimillion dollar victories against companies and public entities like the LAPD that failed to respect workers’ or citizens’ rights. A graduate of the #1 law school, Yale Law, and former national college debate champion, Lisa has been chosen by her peers as a SuperLawyer for the last six years straight and has a perfect 10.0 rating on the largest lawyer rating site, Avvo.com. She has been called “the record holder for the most television appearances by an attorney” (thousands) and is frequently interviewed about her cases on television, radio, websites, podcasts and print all over the world.

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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. I am John Shegerian and I am so honored to have with us today Lisa Bloom. She is the owner and she is a civil rights attorney. She is the owner and founder of The Bloom Firm. Welcome to the Impact Podcast, Lisa.

Lisa Bloom: Thank you so much, John.

John: Lisa, before we get going about what you do at The Bloom Firm, can you share a little bit of your backstory?

Lisa: Well? Sure. I am 59 years old. So there is a lot of stories [inaudible].

John: [laughter]

Lisa: I grew up in Los Angeles. Then as an adult, I have been back and forth, New York and LA. I went to Yale Law School, which then and now was the number one law school. I was a national debate champion.

John: God.

Lisa: I practice law in New York for many years. Then I started my own law firm The Bloom Firm in Los Angeles about 10 years ago. We only get paid when we win. We have won so many cases that we have continued to grow and grow. We become one of the largest victims rights law firms in the country. I always reinvest everything back in my firm, so we can represent and help as many victims as possible. That is what we do, we represent victims of discrimination, harassment, and abuse every day. I have a terrific team. I do not do it all myself, they get a lot of the credit for the victories that we get. I have a lot of very brave clients who I am honored to represent.

John: You give voice to typically those who have historically been voiceless in our society.

Lisa: Yes, exactly.

John: Lisa, in the last year or so we have lost four civil rights icons, Elijah Cummings, John Lewis, Arbee Gee, and Helen Reddy. Just a couple of days ago, we saw one of the most uncivil political discourses we have ever seen in American history. You are a civil rights attorney, you give voice to the voiceless. Where do we go from here? Who is going to fill this void?

Lisa: Well, you are absolutely right. Who is going to fill the void? We all are. It is on all of us now. I hold firmly in my mind that beautiful picture of a little girl who put on her Supergirl costume and stood in line to pay respects to Arbee Gee. We all have to put on our Supergirl costume, and our Superman costume.

John: Right.

Lisa: We have to rise. So I represent as many victims as I can, every day. In terms of the election, Trump is a clear and present danger to our civil rights, to our planet, to our democracy, to our country. Instead of complaining about it, I spend time doing phone calls for Joe Biden. I have done hours and hours of those calls, I am going to continue to do them right up through election day. Anybody can do that. You just go to joebiden.com. When you do these calls, they train you, your number does not show. There is a script to follow. It is very easy. I encourage everybody to do that. This country depends on us. I do believe that most people believe in civil rights, believe that women should have equal rights, that people of color should have equal rights, the disabled, LGBT, everybody should have equal rights. But we have to fight for it every day because we are backsliding and it is incumbent on all of us now.

John: Lisa, you have spent a lifetime in the law. You grew up with your mom being the iconic and legendary Gloria Allred.

Lisa: Yep.

John: With Arbee Gee now passing away, what does that really mean for the future of the Supreme Court? And where we are going directionally from a legal perspective in the United States? What do you see happening here?

Lisa: Well, there is no question that the Supreme Court is going to lurch very significantly to the right. That is going to primarily affect voting rights, climate change, which I call climate crisis, and abortion rights. But the Supreme Court even though they are appointed for life, they still care about public opinion. I read just a Sandra Day O’Connor’s memoir, and she cared, cared very much about sort of being in the center and not getting ahead of public opinion. Even though they are not supposed to do that they do. It is very important for all of us to continue organizing, consciousness-raising pushing the law forward. By the way, the Supreme Court only interprets the law. It is the congress that makes the law. If we can get a progressive Congress and get better laws in place to protect people, the Supreme Court and the role of all of the courts will be less significant.

John: For those listeners who have just joined us, we have got Lisa Bloom. She is the civil rights attorney who owns The Bloom Firm to finally say, you could go to www.thebloomfirm.com. Lisa, talk a little bit about this, the Me Too generation now and people finally wanting to speak up or having the guts to speak up. Is it still hard for people who have been wronged or sexually harassed, to actually seek you out and to try to come forward and get this past behind them?

Lisa: Yes, it is. That is a very insightful question John because I really do not think things have changed all that much for victims. The Me Too movement is certainly a very positive movement and a positive change. But I have been representing, let us say, sexual harassment and sexual assault victims for thirty-three years. I still have to prove my case. In every case, I still have a client who is traumatized, who is fearful. In every case, I have a lot of power and resources on the other side. In every case, they go after her, they go after me, there is a lot of ridiculous false news stories that are put out there about me. I do not have time, or frankly, the interest in going after them and getting them all taken damage. To me, it is just part of-

John: Right

Lisa: …what I do. But for my clients, it can be devastating. Social media bots that come after them and defame them. It is very difficult, but my clients every day are an inspiration to me because they have made the decision to reach out to me, we partner with them on the cases. They may stumble and have a hard time, and we are there for them. But in every case, witnesses are so important. I would urge anyone who cares about sexual harassment or sexual assault to consider if you have ever been a witness to any of that, to contact the victim and let them know you are willing to be a witness, you are willing to speak out, you are willing to write a letter or sign a witness statement, because in every case, that is so important, and we are just begging people. Even now, most people say “I do not want to get involved”. They pretend they did not see anything. That just makes it a huge hurdle for the victim to prove their case.

John: With we are living through very strange times. Also, very tragic times with this COVID-19 period that we are all trying to make our way through. How was that affected your practice, Lisa?

Lisa: On March 1st, I came to understand how serious COVID was going to be based on what was going on in other countries and our country’s failed leadership, failing to test, failing to give us the truth. I could see what was ahead and we immediately took our entire firm virtual meeting, working from home, we got everybody up and running well before the stay at home orders. We were ahead of the curve. I thank God every day that I have the kind of work that I can do remotely. Before I did this interview with you, I just jumped off the Zoom call with a couple of dozen employees at my firm. We have been working very effectively remotely and we are going to continue to do that. Of course, many people have the kinds of jobs where they can not work remotely and my heart goes out to them. We also took on the first nationwide case of Corona Virus discrimination. Somebody who was fired because they were perceived to have the Corona Virus even though in fact he did not have Corona Virus.

John: Oh my gosh.

Lisa: He thought he did. He said he had been exposed. He told his boss because he wanted to stay home and get tested and they just immediately fired him. We thought that was wrong. We also represent a number of victims who do not want to go back to an unsafe workplace, who want to continue working remotely, or want their employer to put reasonable safeguards in places like distancing and masks and plexiglass barriers. Many employers are refusing to do that. I thought it was important in this new era to continue to stand up for workers’ rights, especially workers’ rights to workplace safety. Nobody should have to choose between their health and their job. That is just wrong.

John: Lisa, I know you are very busy and you have a lot of people tugging on you and a lot of obligations. I am going to give you the last word and for our listeners out there that want to find Lisa and her colleagues and the great work that she does, giving a voice to those who have historically been marginalized here in the United States, you can go to www.thebloomfirm.com.

Lisa: Well, thank you, John. Yes, we are happy to talk to anybody and do a free confidential consultation, let them know what their rights are. I would also encourage everybody if you think you might have a legal case, but you are not sure you should reach out sooner rather than later. There are tough time limits in place in many cases, sometimes as short as thirty days or sixty days or six months. Sometimes I have to tell people “Oh gosh, I wish you had contacted me last week. But now, unfortunately, your time-barred”. Do not let that happen to you. In general, stand up for your rights. If you are a victim of discrimination, harassment, or abuse, document, everything, save it in a personal email. Think about who your witnesses might be so that when you reach out to a lawyer, you have that information. We are here for you. We are proud to represent the victims that we fight for every day.

John: Lisa, you are a legal icon. You have an important voice and the reason why we had you on Impact today is because of the impact that you make on a regular basis, fighting for justice, and giving a voice to those who have historically been marginalized. Thank you for making the United States a more fair and just place. Thank you so much, again, for being on the Impact today.

Lisa: Well, you are very kind. Thank you so much, John. Have a good day and stay safe.

John: You too.