Svetlana Couture is owner of Couture Law Practice, a private solo law firm based in Carlsbad, California, with focus on real property, estate planning, fraud and fiduciary duty violations and complex family law matters. With over two decades of hands-on experience, she has been a champion of the smaller clients, the underdogs—small business owners, individuals, and families. She is the Carlsbad lawyer who takes care of her people, a community-minded coastal attorney with a passion for problem-solving, on a mission to right the wrongs.
After moving her Northern California law practice founded in 1997, Svetlana re-opened Couture Law Practice in 2014 in San Diego area with a motto that embodies the fundamental principle that drives her: “Advocacy with Passion.” With her extensive knowledge and versatile skills, she takes a wholesome approach to legal issues and works with clients through all stages of case resolution, each on a case-by-case basis, tailor-making each case’s plan and strategy, or “couturing” each case, as she puts it, often advising on multiple areas of the law while taking a 360-view with her clients. “For me, it is not a matter of stepping out of the box, it is a matter of never getting into the box in the first place.”
As a transplant from Ukraine, she is no stranger to challenges, and her individual exposure to the world brings unique awareness of what the world is going through. In the midst of COVID-19, it is this rare perspective that has allowed her to continue to serve her coastal clients uninterrupted, prepared to handle the growing crossovers she is seeing in legal areas. Svetlana is accessible to her clients via virtual services and secure Internet platforms so that they don’t have to go into the office. “In this day in age with the virus going on, altering everything we know, I see crossovers happening—crossovers of areas of law that are blurring the lines and converging upon each other, such as, for example, real estate crossing with family law issues and vice versa, because everyone has been either staying at home or working from home. As lawyers we are obliged to advise on all legal issues and not just those in which we choose to specialize”, she explains.
Svetlana’s ability to pivot nimbly emphasizes the value of diversity and the ways in which it enriches both the legal profession and our society. She sees the world, and its people, through a broader lens, and one shaped by challenges that inform her deep compassion for people, her drive to succeed, and her commitment to community. Raised in the former U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, after receiving her undergraduate education, in 1989, at the age of 23 she traveled West of the then still standing Berlin Wall for the first time ever, setting her sights on California, arriving with a single suitcase and $300 in her pocket.
Her first career in the U.S. was at KPFA radio station in Berkley, California, where she also became a radio DJ. That gave her media understanding of what it takes to present information accurately and to tell stories that inspire. It led her to become an editor and a co-producer of a bilingual newspaper and later she got involved in TV and theater productions. She learned a lot during these experiences, but her greatest challenges were yet to come. “When I started to apply to law schools, I had to face a lot of bias, prejudice and, on top of that, I also had to overcome problems with basic application requirements. A lot of my Ukrainian undergrad education was not initially recognized by the Committee of Bar Examiners for the State Bar of California, and so I had my first hurdle of having to persuade the Committee, in writing, to exercise its broad discretion in accepting ALL of my Ukrainian undergraduate credits required for law school admission, even those based on ideological studies. And they did!”
She attended law school full time while raising her two-year-old son, and working at a law office part-time, still finishing law school in just three years. She graduated from New College of California School of Law in 1996, was admitted to the State Bar of California a year later, and hit the ground running as a court-appointed private public defender in Alameda County, representing indigent persons in juvenile, criminal, and family courts of Northern California. Since that time, she has spent her career helping others, staying in the realm of civil litigation and civil harassment. These days, especially now, during COVID-19, we are seeing more discrimination and bias within home-based systems and organizations, such as HOAs, among others. Svetlana is offering services to tenants and owners who are experiencing discrimination in HOA setting. “I believe the community makes us, as professionals, and our work in the community is essential. In the words used by Martin Luther King, Jr., "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream!”
Owner — Couture Law Practice