Fall 2013 • Issue 49, page 12

Receiver Profile: Mia S. Blackler...There is a Pattern to Music, Language and the Law

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Mia Blackler was raised in “centrally isolated” Ithaca, New York, and is the progeny of a developmental biology professor and a professional knitter. She has one younger brother. All things music pro-liferated her childhood experiences. Although she was initially trained as a classical pianist, Mia took up the trombone, particularly once someone mistakenly suggested that she was too short to play it. Whether playing in a band, symphony, or the thrill of competitions, Mia’s real love was jazz trombone. She played in large and small ensembles, and was fortunate to have had tremendous opportunities to play with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins, and to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Just in case she wasn’t the next Kai Winding (that and Bank of Dad was threatening to declare a default), Mia attended Cornell University where she majored in French and Linguistics, and did as much music as possible on the side. She spent her junior year of college abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, which was when she was turned on to the practice of law during an internship with the World Health Organization.

Fresh out of college, Mia attended Boston University School of Law with a specialty in health law and with an eye to becoming a general counsel of a hospital or HMO (in addition to being a famous jazz trombonist). Looking back now, Mia appreciates the professor who set her straight that to be a general counsel, she needed to first get a solid education in corporate, real estate and business law and that she should plan on practicing for at least 10 years before getting back into health law.

After enduring too many East Coast winters, Mia moved to San Francisco on a whim, and took a job as an associate attorney in a litigation shop, only to be promptly laid off in 89 days (not that she was counting). As to that turning point, she advises “Getting laid off turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me because it not only freed me up to date, and eventually marry my (former) co-worker, Mark Inbody, but also it also led me into the world of banking and real estate which I’ve never left.”

Since 2000, Mia has been with Buchalter Nemer, and credits her entry into the receivership world to the kindness and mentoring by Richard Ormond, Randye Soref and Michael Wachtell, to name just a few, and notes that she wouldn’t have been brave enough to represent receivers without Beverly McFarland, Kevin Whelan, and Kyle Everett, to name just a few. Mia also considers several Bay Area judges to be her mentors – before whom she has both won and lost –and she always makes the effort to take away something new from each motion or conference.

Mia reflects, “There is no secret to why I love receiverships. There’s a pattern to music, language, and law. Much like you can put a bunch of notes and rests together, or study the morphology of sentence structure, legal strategies are culled from a jumble of laws, cases, desires, ideas, facts, and unique characteristics of a party. I enjoy detangling these factors, and working with my clients and other parties/counsel to fashion a resolution, whether it’s through litigation or something less formal. In particular, I love what receiverships can accomplish; the flexibility which allows me not just to fight for one side of a dispute, but also to bring about a finality that combines law with a business level of understanding by taking into account all sides’ perspectives. Whether it’s representing a lender in preserving or selling its collateral, or advising a receiver or trustee in the management of real estate, business operations, divorce proceedings, or post judgment issues, I adore each jigsaw puzzle that has to be carefully put together. I also pretend that everyone I meet likes me, and that they are interested in the perspective I bring to the conversation, even if I’m not necessarily as experienced in years as others. I really try to think outside the box and bring my enthusiasm and humor to each challenge.

I’ve found a great niche in the receivership world in Northern California, and relish the similarities and differences of the practice across the state. I will never forget my first Loyola Symposium, where I became hooked on the subject matter and the people. Years later, as I’m close to finishing my second term as President of the Bay Area Chapter of the Receiver’s Forum, and having recently been an Education Co-Chair of Loyola V, I look forward to helping shape the future of the receivership world.”

As for what she does in her free time, until recently Mia lived in San Francisco in various living situations that did not permit the playing of musical instruments, so she concedes that she’s “a bit rusty” on the trombone at the moment, but “not to worry - that’s my next career if this law gig ever gets dull.” For years Mia ran marathons, but two car accidents and a degenerative disc later, she hung up the running shoes and started road bicycling. Now, you can find her training in West Marin, or racing somewhere in the Northwest on the weekends. In those few moments at home, you’ll find Mia with her recently-rescued kittens, so there goes the rest of the free time.