The Weekly Non-Practice: Cat Catching

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Written By admin at Saturday, February 18th, 2012

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It’s been a while since we wrote about a lawyer who was reborn as something else. In fact, we haven’t run this feature since Tony LaRussa was still a Cardinal. But the New York Times has found a worthy candidate: Jordana Serebrenik — possibly New York City’s only “for-hire pet-cat catcher.”

Serebrenik, a 1996 Cardozo law grad, left law practice about six years ago to catch Mittens and Fluffy full time. According to the Times,

Ms. Serebrenik, 45, developed her knack for catching cats through years of animal rescue work. In 2006, after years of practicing law, she decided she needed a change. Upon returning from a six-week trip to Africa, she began immersing herself in animal care and rescue, volunteering with City Critters, a cat rescue and adoption group.

She quickly realized that she had a knack for catching troublesome cats, and credited her intuition: being able to interpret what a cat may or may not do in a tense situation. Environments have to be considered, as in securing exits like windows and doors. Also important is “being confident and not emotionally tied in,” she said.

Catch Your Cat, Etc., serves a range of clients — from the old or physically impaired to those reluctant to force their cats to go somewhere they don’t want to go,  according to the Times.

In her legal life, Serebrenik was an associate at several New York firms, including Neufeld & O’Leary and Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen LLP. She ended her legal career at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP (now Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP), where Serebrenik dabbled in securities litigation, white-collar defense, probate matters and personal injury cases, she told Law Blog.

“Basically, I’ve done a little bit of almost everything,” she said.

So why the shift from courts to cats?

“I had been practicing for about 10 years, and I went to three different firms with a particular partner, so I never set down roots anywhere,” Serebrenik said. ”There wasn’t a whole lot of future if I was going to stay in these medium-sized firms.”

She went on, “I worked around the clock. I worked weekends,  I worked holidays. I just got to a point where I didn’t enjoy the work. I wasn’t proud of the work I was doing. I had turned 40, and I was like, ‘I paid off my student loans. I had a good run, but I’m not happy with it any more.’”

We asked Serebrenik whether any of the skills she honed as a lawyer were applicable in her new gig.

“Problem-solving,” she said, without missing a beat. Getting fluffy from Point A to Point B requires a methodical approach, she said. And persistence.

“As a litigator, you don’t just throw up your hands and give up. You try to find a way to get people to believe what your position is,” Serebrenik said.

“I try to convince the cat, ‘Look it’ll just be easier to go my way on this,” she joked. ”With a cat, the more persistent you are, and the more you stay calm, the more likely you’ll actually be able to succeed.”

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