COMPTON — When Kree Filer, 26, was in the third grade, she made a business card that said, “future lawyer.”
She can now update her title as on May 24 she was sworn in as the fifth lawyer in her family and the first Filer female attorney. Her father, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kelvin D. Filer, performed the ceremony at the Compton courthouse.
“I’m so thankful for my support system,” the Loyola Law School grad said to a small crowd that included family and friends. “I had people who believed in my potential when I didn’t. I just want them to know that doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Kree Filer plans to continue the legacy of her grandfather, Maxcy D. Filer, who is known for his perseverance in pursuing a law career.
Though he served on the Compton City Council from 1976 through 1991, Maxcy Filer also wanted to become an attorney. He sat for his first California State Bar exam in 1967. Twenty-five years later, after 48 attempts, he passed.
“The last time he took it, I opened his results because he didn’t think he passed,” said Anthony Filer, the directing attorney at Community Legal Aid Services, and Kree’s uncle. “He also raised seven kids at the same time. His story shows you should never give up on your dreams.”
Anthony Filer stressed the importance of giving back to the community through pro bono work as “something you must do as a Filer attorney.”
Kree Filer plans to continue on at Filer Palmer, a firm owned by her cousin, Lance Filer, and Justin Palmer. It specializes in business litigation, family law, criminal defense and personal injury.
Her early business card aside, Kree Filer said her interest in practicing law grew during college, through her coursework for her feminist studies major.
“I found out the ways class, gender and race intersect, and why more people of color are being put in jail and the difficulties they face getting out,” she said.
Kree Filer said that overall, her goals as an attorney include taking a “holistic approach” to cases that extend beyond legal services.
“If someone needs a therapist or a social worker, I’d like to provide the right connections so they won’t re-commit a crime,” she said.
During law school, Kree Filer served as the chair of the Stereotypes Awareness Coalition, which provided a bridge between faculty and students from underrepresented populations who felt at times marginalized and misunderstood.
“The faculty was really receptive,” she said. “They wanted to know how to make people aware of implicit biases.”
Kree’s other interests include seeing movies and weightlifting. She joked about being a homebody and said her friends tease her about being a hermit. She said she wants to learn Spanish, not just for her career but also for personal use, and to play the guitar.
Kelvin Filer choked up with tears as he related stories about his daughter before he performed the ceremony. He wore a tie with pictures of the two of them at her law school graduation.
“I’m so, so proud,” he said. “I know my father is looking down with a smile on his face. I look forward to sitting in the back of the court watching her, if I can get through it without crying. That’s what my dad did when I was an attorney.”