By John I. Borja
In the seemingly endless workload that comes with being an attorney on Guam, Leslie A. Travis finds solace in knowing she is moving right along towards her aspirations in the career she set out to take on since she was a young teen.
A law practitioner of 14 years, Travis has spent nine of them with Civille & Tang PLLC, primarily working in commercial and civil litigations. She received her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley and studied law at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is licensed to practice in California and Guam.
It was a natural decision for her to return to the island after school and service the community she grew up in, she says. Having moved to Guam at the age of 12, Travis is a product of the local public school system. It was through here she realized being an attorney was her calling.
“I come from a family of dentists, but my older sister is a lawyer. When I was in middle school, I would watch her participate in the mock trials and that’s what really got me excited about law.”
Travis ended up participating in mock trial for all four years in high school. Through the program, she learned applicable skills such as how to function in court, introduce a document or even impeach a witness. It was experience that was crucial to the success of her career as an attorney.
“I love trial advocacy,” she says. “Not everyone wants to go to trial. It’s not for everyone, even the ones who want to go to trial but don’t necessarily have the training you get when you’re in mock trial.”
Aside from her long-term goal to practice trial advocacy at a higher level and capacity, Travis also wants to nurture the next generation of lawyers by being a mentor and coach for them. She firmly believes that Guam’s youth are capable of achieving greatness in law, and she wants to provide that support to boost them to reach their full potential, much like how mock trial shaped her.
“The next generation of lawyers — we have a responsibility to make sure that people from Guam are interested in that profession as well. And it shouldn’t just be because you come from a family of lawyers. We need students from diverse backgrounds.”
The legal career takes more than just interest, though, Travis says. There’s a lot of commitment to the work, and she often finds herself working on the weekends to catch up or take time to organize her schedule for the following week. Yet even in this capacity, she still strives to set aside time to teach aspiring lawyers what she knows.
Every once in a while, she also sets aside time for her own personal ventures, like her local food touring business. Travis is the creative director of Guam Food Tours Inc. With a small team of close friends and family, Travis introduces her customers to various food establishments for an experience people wouldn’t typically get if they stuck to the popular areas. The tours go to around five different establishments where participants get to try at least one standout dish from each. It’s a great way to get people acquainted with the lesser-known eateries, Travis says.
“The idea came together when my husband and I traveled to Vietnam. We went on a food tour and it was excellent. We felt there was a lot of overlap between tourism there and here. We left that experience feeling like this was missing on Guam.”
Travis admits it’s tough to be more active with the business since all of Guam Food Tours’ members have day jobs of their own, and she finds herself setting the tour aside to prioritize her work at the office and the clients she represents. She is hopeful that sometime in the future she’ll be able to devote more time to this passion project.
“We’re just going to have to make time for it and push it,” she says. “We don’t have the time for it right now but it’s something we love so much and really enjoy doing.”