An expert in many areas of law including employment and labor law, commercial and business litigation, complex commercial litigation and national insurance coverage, Iulia A. Taranu, JD, recalls doing an internship at a law firm during her senior year at Arizona State University. Prior to the experience, she never considered going into law before. She originally had aspirations to work for the FBI, which is why she choose criminology as an undergraduate. Once she got to the stage to apply, she realized that was not the path she wished to continue to pursue. Ms. Taranu knew that she did not have many options with a degree in criminology, so she decided she would seek higher education. The firm that she interned for suggested she would make a great attorney and that she should take the LSAT.
Immigrating to the United States at just 3 years old, Ms. Taranu pursued a formal education at Scottsdale Community College, earning an Associate of Arts in 2010. She then matriculated at Arizona State University (ASU), where she received a Bachelor of Science in criminology and Chinese in 2014. She went on to attain a JD from the university’s College of Law in 2017. Later that same year, Ms. Taranu became Rule 38(d) certified through the ASU Post Conviction Clinic.
Completing an internship and contracting position at Honeywell in Phoenix from 2006 to 2009, Ms. Taranu then interned for Parker & Lazzara, PLLC, in 2014 and externed for Judge Pineda at the Durango Juvenile Courthouse and the Arizona Justice Project in 2015. Following these roles, she served as the managing editor of the ASU Sports and Entertainment Law Journal and law clerk at the Gilman Law Offices, PC, from 2016 to 2017. More recently, Ms. Taranu was an attorney at Bergin, Frakes, Smalley & Oberholtzer, PLLC, from 2017 to 2019 before transferring as an associate attorney to Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP, where she has remained since 2019.
A regional board member of Playworks, Ms. Taranu attributes her success to the partners that she works with. Without them, she feels that she would have been unable to “jump in and learn things so quickly.” Having someone to back her up in the field of law is important, and she considers herself lucky to have that support. Susan Gilman also helped her greatly during her time in law school, as did Jill Ann Herman, the lead partner at her current firm and greatest mentor in her law career. Five years from now, Ms. Taranu thinks that if she is not a partner at her current firm, she will be working in-house. It all depends on what opportunities present themselves. In light of her accomplishments thus far, she was awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in 2016 and the Highest Pro Bono Distinction in 2017.