As Zara Mason stood in front of the justices, her peers and, most importantly, her family to take her oath as a newly-appointed lawyer in the state of Wyoming, she thought a lot about the roads that she traveled to get to this point. There was high school, followed by college where she was a Division-I student athlete. There was a Master’s Degree, during which she interned as an investigator with the El Paso County Public Defender’s Office. There were the years spent as a Private Investigator, primarily working on sex-related crimes. Then came the long nights, uneventful weekends and unexciting winter and summer breaks, while she worked to financially put herself through law school and become a member of the Wyoming Law Review. Then, finally, there was the law degree, the bar exam and the job offer from WPDN – an offer that she said she ‘bullied’ her way into. But that’s how Zara has always been; she works hard for what she wants, and she doesn’t stop until, finally, she gets it.
“To be completely honest with you, WPDN wasn’t even hiring at the time I was looking to secure a post-graduate job,” Mason revealed. “In the fall of 2018, WPDN was looking for a second-year summer associate and I reached out to Kyle Ridgeway because I had previously seen some of his work product and I recognized his name.”
Mason recalled emailing Ridgeway and passing along her resume and a cover letter, hoping that he would get her materials to the right people.
“So, in a way, I was lucky that my resume even got delivered to Scott Ortiz and Amy Iberlin,” she continued. “They happened to be coming down to Laramie to interview second-year law students for the summer internship and I essentially just told Scott and Amy that I wanted to work for WPDN as an associate.”
While Zara maintains that she somewhat bullied her way into her position, WPDN wouldn’t have hired her unless she had already proven herself and produced a pretty remarkable resume. She seemed like a good fit for the team and the team, likewise, seemed like a good fit for her.
“At WPDN, the attorneys are treated like adults, you know?” Mason noted. “We have autonomy in what we do but, at the same time, if you need anything, everybody is here to help you. And everyone here is so friendly and welcoming – I’ve just been absolutely blown away and stunned by how helpful people are because, with an office this size, it’s easy for people to kind of get into their own little bubble. But people have been extremely welcoming, and it’s been such a pleasant surprise.”
Something Mason wasn’t necessarily surprised about was the work ethic of her colleagues at WPDN. Mason has worked hard for everything she has gotten over the years and, for her, it was a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by people who shared her drive.
“I’ll never forget how busy and exhausted I was as an undergrad, being a student-athlete. But here, my work ethic is matched by everybody I work with. So, if you’re looking for an attorney who’s going to work hard for you, then that’s what you’re going to get if you hire an attorney from WPDN. I’m extremely impressed by the hours that these men and women put into doing their job, as well as their commitment to doing the right thing, the right way, every time.”
Zara has grown up in a family of hard workers, so the atmosphere at WPDN is nothing new. Her father is a surgeon, as well as the owner of Alcova Lakeside Marina and her mother is a retired med-surg nurse of 40 years. Her husband is a commercial fisherman who also manages the Alcova Lakeside Marina. There are times when Zara and her husband only see each other for a few hours a day, but they both fully support each other.
“It’s genetic,” Mason said of her work ethic. “My dad is an animal. My dad is sixty-six [years old] and he’s still a practicing surgeon. He’s the interim CEO of a company and he owns the Marina that my husband works at. We just love to work; we like to be busy and we like to learn, and you don’t learn things unless you do things. And I’m 100% convinced that my work ethic is driven by genetics.”
Growing up with that work ethic, and then marrying somebody who also likes working hard, has perfectly prepared Zara for life in the fast-paced world of a law office. That is why it was so important for her husband and family to be present in the courtroom as she was getting sworn in to be a lawyer in Wyoming. As she stood among them, about to take her oath, there was one word that her mind kept going back to.
“If I had to pick one word to describe this experience, it would probably be the word finally,”
Mason admitted. “I’ve been working in the legal field for five years now, either in my capacity as an investigator with the public defender’s office, a Private Investigator, a legal intern with the Albany County Attorney’s Office or when I worked for the firm down in Colorado Springs doing personal injury and workers’ compensation. I’ve learned a lot along the way and now I have the ability to make the decisions that I want to make. And that’s what I mean by the word, finally. Now, I can learn and do what I think needs to be done.”
“Finally,” she added.