Turning Obstacles into Accomplishments
By Megan Stevens | Photography by Steven J. Pallone
What do you do when faced with an obstacle in the road on the journey of life? You find a way past it. At least that’s what trial attorney Victoria Lightcap suggests. Victoria serves as an attorney with Finkelstein & Partners in Syracuse and travels to the surrounding cities of Albany, Buffalo, Binghamton and Oswego to serve her clients. She’s been a trial attorney for more than 30 years, and attributes her success to the fact that she has never given up, despite any potential roadblocks life has thrown her way.
“I never let the obstacles stop me,” she said. “I always found a way around them. You should never let challenges and obstacles keep you from accomplishing your dreams.”
Victoria faced her most challenging obstacle during college, when her mother passed away after a battle with cancer. It was a great test of her faith.
She took a semester off to have time for herself. During that period, she studied the Chinese language at Harvard through an extension program, volunteered to teach English to Chinese immigrants and volunteered at the local legal aid, all while working full time.
Then, Victoria decided to go back to school at Boston College, where she graduated with honors in political science and east Asian studies. Despite her life having been shaken, she was determined to pursue her dream. From as early as elementary school, she’d always wanted to be a lawyer. She’d “wanted to fight the world,” she remembered.
“I did what I had to do to work hard and accomplish my goal,” Victoria said.
She headed straight to law school. During that time, she worked three jobs in food service and retail, all while pursing studies at Syracuse University College of Law.
During her 30-year tenure as a trial attorney, Victoria has accomplished quite a lot. For the last five years, she’s been nominated as a Super Lawyer, “a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. This selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations,” according to the group’s website.
Similar to most accomplishments, Victoria’s have not come without work.
For a time, she was the only female attorney in her practice. She was forced to face the challenges and stereotypes posed to the few women in the male-dominated field of law. Victoria graciously overcame them, with the support of her firm, which she credits in part to her success.
Balancing motherhood and her career also posed its own set of difficulties. Her daughter was born prematurely at 28 weeks, weighing only two pounds. After Victoria returned to work, she took daily lunch breaks to visit her child.
At the end of the workday, she was at her daughter’s side until bedtime. This was Victoria’s daily routine until her daughter was able to come home from the hospital. After that, she brought her daughter to work with her as needed.
Victoria credits her drive and ability to balance family and career in part to her devoted husband, Kerry, also an attorney. The duo put their family first and worked together as a team to keep their lives balanced.
“My husband is a saint. He is my rock,” she said. “He has allowed me to be who I am. Without his support, I could not do what I do as a working mom.”
Along with career and home life, Victoria also finds time to give back to her community. She started a chess team in honor of her son, who loves the game. She’s also been involved with local politics and currently serves as chair of the Pompey Democratic Party.
“It feels good being an advocate for someone else, those who do not have a voice,” she said. SWM