Grace C. Budka

I was born and raised in rural Alaska, and although I am not an Alaskan Native, I grew up in a predominantly Athabascan culture.  Athabascans place enormous importance upon their family and friends.  Prior to becoming an attorney, I worked in adult probation, juvenile probation, and child protective services.  In Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost community in the world, I was simultaneously the jury clerk, felony clerk, and in-court clerk for the now-retired Michael I. Jeffery, then the presiding judge of the Second Judicial District of Alaska.

I moved to Honolulu for 6 years, working for the Hawaii State Legislature, the Hawaii State Judiciary, and attorney Henry F. Beerman, who represented Long's Drugs and Ross Stores, among others, and also defended class actions.  I  became a certified volunteer guardian ad litem (minor's counsel, counsel for a child in a child protective services proceeding).  I then went to work for Turbin Chu, a renowned small personal injury firm, the partners of which are husband and wife and also both past presidents of the Hawaii State Bar Association.  While working there, I wrote a 16-count complaint against Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman and his crew.  There was a televised press conference, with quotes from the complaint picked up by Hawaii newspapers and world-wide media.  The case settled prior to trial.

Since moving to Joshua Tree in January 2008, I have worked for Peter R. Cabrera (now retired) and B. Palmer Riedel (now retired).  Clients I have represented include many, many Latinos, a member of the Agua Caliente Tribe, agricultural workers, an elderly gentleman who flew on Air Force One with his friend President Jimmy Carter, a past president of the La Quinta Rotary Club, a telephone lineman, numerous Marines and their wives,  retired elderly couples, a recovering Jehovah's Witness, a date farmer, a resort maintenance manager, several landscapers, and a woman who had been living with her husband, prior to marriage, since age 12, and could barely read and write.

I love all my clients like each is my only child.  I have a picture in my office.  The face of Smokey the Bear is at the top of the picture.  The caption next to it:  "Only you can prevent forest fires.  We can't."  Below the caption is a picture of Bambi and Thumper and their forest friends.  I will point to Smokey the Bear and say:  "That's me."  Then I point to Bambi and friends and say:  "Those are you, the clients."