A native of New York, Ms. Gardner first became interested in the legal profession after taking part in her high school’s mock trial of the Watergate hearings. Her experience playing the lead prosecutor for the United States lead to a realization — she had found a career. With this plan in mind, Ms. Gardner received a Bachelor’s degree in English from Binghamton University prior to attending law school at the University of Akron. While in law school, Ms. Gardner sought opportunities that exposed her to a variety of different types of law. She interned with general counsel for a large health system. She clerked for a criminal defense lawyer and volunteered as a guardian ad litem through the juvenile foster care system.
Following law school graduation, Ms. Gardner moved to Seattle, Washington. She sat for the State Bar of Washington and subsequently worked as an insurance defense attorney. In March of 2002 Ms. Gardner moved to California with her husband and began her career with Frank Darras.