Sibby Bonilla: Always Chase Your Dreams- Ladies of the Law

Sibby Bonilla grew up in The Bronx. She would see the injustices that happened in her community, and see how her neighbors would react. This made Sibby want to join the cause in uplifting her community through advocacy. She wanted to speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves. One of her favorite movies is ‘Legally Blonde’ and it was also another driving force behind her law career. She loved how Elle Woods overcame all the stereotypes that came with being blonde and became a successful lawyer. 

Sibby has experienced her fair share of gender inequality in the legal field too. She says, “If at first, you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” Her goal is to not intimidate anyone, rather it is to understand them so she learns more! She always tries to work things out by having honest conversations about the issues and taking it from there. “It is good to keep in mind that not everyone will agree with you and that’s okay, but respect is what’s important at the end of the day.” Some of the best advice she had received came from her grandfather. He always wanted her to succeed in reaching her dreams. He would quote verse Mark 11:24 so often to Sibby she has it memorized. The verse embodies faith when chasing after your dreams, as they are always attainable. The verse reads, “Therefore, I say unto you, you shall have whatsoever you say.”

One of Sibby’s main inspirational forces is her mother, Tasha. She always came through for Sibby whenever she needed encouragement. One of the things her mother said to her that has stuck with her is this, “Never cry in the street. Make sure that you stand firm. The road you are embarking on will be a tough journey, but not impossible.” It is so important to have someone by your side during victories and failures. Sibby is so blessed to have her mother by her side throughout her entire life. “She has seen me fall, but also rise like a phoenix multiple times, and she has never left my side.” 

sibby-bonilla

Sibby’s entire legal career was originally based on the premise of her becoming a defense attorney. She was a litigator after she served as the former Assistant State Attorney. But instead, she took a different path that led her to Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Her experience gave her the tools she needed to understand both perspectives of clients and of insurance companies. Her proudest moment so far is how she went from being a paralegal to completing law school, then getting her first job as an Assistant Prosecutor. She is looking forward to her next proudest moment here at Steinger, Greene & Feiner. 

A hurdle that Sibby has had to overcome was recognizing that as an Afro-Latina woman, she has learned to be immediately confident when stepping foot into a courtroom. Fully understanding the cases before her, the law and requesting the relief she seeks on behalf of the community she represents are all part of the confident attitude. However, she knows that the bumps in the road, she does face reminded her that she is only human and trying her best is most important. Sibby says, “As a practicing attorney, not every case and courtroom experience will be perfect and it took me a very long time to acknowledge such principle.” Her own advice for other women wanting to practice law is to never give up, “Whatever a man can do, so can you.” The best thing anyone can do is learn the lessons, keep going no matter what and being humble throughout the process. 

If Sibby didn’t pursue her law career, she would’ve pursued journalism. Her B.A. is in English Studies and according to Sibby, words matter! Her interest in legal studies started with her studying Political Science as a minor. This ultimately led her to pursue law so she thinks it was always in her cards to be in law.

 

Sibby Bonilla

About the Author

Michael Feiner
Michael Feiner

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Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.