Local

Bass Lake Shooting leaves 2 dead, searching for suspect

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Judy Soley started practicing family law in the central valley straight out of college in the 1970's and opened up her own law office twenty plus years ago. Friends and colleagues are still in shock over what took place.

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Lenore Schreiber is still numb after learning that her dear friend and colleague Judy Soley was murdered at Bass Lake Wednesday.

"Just devastated. We're all on just some type of automatic pilot. And we're in shock." said Schreiber.

The two became friends in 1971 and through the years Schreiber describes the 65-year-old as a fearless woman who never let anything stand in her way.

This is video of Soley in the mid 1990's when Action News profiled her in a story.

"She was never afraid of anything. She never even thought of being afraid or concerned for her own personal safety. Although we know in family law when you have a high-conflict case you always think these things can happen but you never think they can happen to you." added Schreiber.

"It just took the breath away. It was very shocking obviously but also just so sad." said Jim Petrucelli.

Jim Petrucelli is a superior court judge and a former attorney who spent his first five years in family law under Soley's watchful eye. He describes his mentor as a true pioneer who's success in the courtroom came at a time when men dominated the bench.

"When she started in the 70's there weren't that many female lawyers in town. She forged the way for a lot of our family law lawyers now that are female. She really did." said Petrucelli.

Soley was recognized by many in the law community, receiving several awards and even becoming the first woman to serve as president of the Fresno County Bar Association.

Because of a birth injury Soley required a wheelchair to get around but friends say it allowed her to have compassion for her clients and turned her into the ultimate people person.

"She was not going to let any physical limitation limit her dream, her ability to operate intellectually and be independent." said Schreiber.

"She practiced family law because she cared about people." said Petrucelli.

Both judge Petrucelli and Schreiber both say Soley's crowning achievement was not a case she won in a courtroom.

Rather it was seeing her daughter Leslie follow in her footsteps -- becoming a lawyer herself and eventually joining her mother as a partner two years ago.

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shooting, homicide, crimetracker, bass lake, madera county, local
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