Beyond the Bar Number – Judith Shulman

Judith Shulman

Bar Number: 11179

I am a wine lawyer and co-owner of DAMA Wines, a certified women-owned and managed winery in Walla Walla. Previously a partner in a major Seattle firm, I took a 20-year break to start my own business, a woman-owned “landman” company (the term “landman” refers to a person who assists government, railroads, and utility companies in acquiring land or right-of-way for upcoming projects). The company had 75 employees when I sold it and relocated to Walla Walla, where I resumed my practice and enjoy wine.

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How do you define success as a lawyer?

At my age, success in law and in life is measured by the friendships with colleagues and clients I respect. With the wisdom that comes from working for so many years, I believe legal services, like any product, must add value to the purchaser. This is achieved through a sincere desire to help, understand, problem solve, and communicate. Projects begin and end, but relationships with good people build a sense of success. 

What is your best piece of advice for someone who has just entered law school?

Becoming an attorney is a gateway to opportunities. A law degree is useful in any career and in so many of life’s challenges. Try not to be intimidated by peers and obstacles. Acquire as much knowledge as you can, and then have the courage to follow your heart and your passions.

How did you become interested in your practice area?

I am fairly sure I have undiagnosed attention-deficit disorder. I was drawn to law because of the variety, and I learned that a good business lawyer had to understand all about the business represented. Wine tasting drew me to Walla Walla, where I learned that a lifetime of legal work and experiences were no match for the challenge of growing a successful winery business.  


If you had to give a 10-minute presentation on one topic other than the law, what would it be and why? 

The challenges for women working in or owning businesses, especially businesses that are historically male-dominated.  

If you could go back in time, where/when would you go?

I would go back to high school, but only if I could go with the self-esteem and vision I lacked at the time.

What is one thing your colleagues may not know about you?

I have at least one great horned owl living on my property.

What book have you read more than once?

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

What is your best random fact that you would share with others at a party?

Since the earliest days of winemaking, the industry has been male-dominated and women have been systematically excluded from the process. Until recently, some wineries in France did not allow women near fermenting wine because of the belief that if the woman is menstruating, the wine might turn to vinegar.

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