Full Time Practice

Friday, January 23, 2015

Several Women to Speak at JRCLS Annual Conference

Ten women are scheduled to speak at the upcoming J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Conference in Tempe, Arizona.  The conference will take place February 12-14, 2014 at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, located just minutes from Phoenix.  Early registration is available through February 1, 2015 at https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1646230. 

The JRCLS Women in Law Blog is featuring brief biographies of each of the women speaking at the conference over the next few weeks.  We encourage everyone to register for the conference and to go hear these amazing speakers!


REBECCA WHITE BERCH is a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court and will be speaking on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. with the Honorable Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Judge Murray Snow of the U.S. District Court of Arizona.  They will speak on the topic Are Judges Too Independent to Be Restrained?  Balancing Judicial Independence with Judicial Accountability.  Justice Berch earned her B.S., M.A., and J.D. from Arizona State University.  Since 2002, she has served as a Justice on the Arizona Supreme Court, and previously as Vice Chief Justice and Chief Justice.  In addition to her judicial experience, she has broad experience and achievement in academia, private practice, and government.  Justice Berch has served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, as Chief Deputy and Special Counsel in the Office of Arizona Attorney General, as Solicitor General for the State of Arizona,  as the Director of  the Legal Writing Program at Arizona State University College of Law, and as an associate and partner at McGroder, Tryon, Heller, Rayes & Berch. She has been actively involved in numerous judicial commissions and conferences and has received many awards for her service.


MARIANNE JENNINGS is a Professor Emeritus of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.  She will be speaking at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 13, 2015 on the topic The Intersection of Law, Ethics, and Religion.  Professor Jennings earned her undergraduate degree in finance and her J.D. from Brigham Young University.  She taught as a professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University for 35 years, retiring in 2011.  She continues to teach graduate courses as Professor Emeritus.  She is an expert in ethics and has conducted more than 500 workshops and seminars in the areas of business, personal, government, legal, academic and professional ethics. Professor Jennings has authored hundreds of articles in academic, professional and trade journals. She has served on numerous boards in areas of accounting, energy, ethics and others. 


MAREN TOBLER HANSON is a Phoenix-based attorney Tobler Law focusing in accident and injury law.  She will be speaking with Keith Hendricks during a break-out session at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 13, 2015.  They will be speaking on Going Paperless: Practical, Ethical, and Real World Considerations.  Ms. Hanson received her degree in economics from Stanford University, followed by a combined MBA and J.D. from Brigham Young University. She has worked in both law and finance at Kim & Chang in Korea, Ford Motor Company in Michigan, and Dell Computers in Texas. Ms. Hanson has passed the bar exam in Arizona, California, and Utah and now specializes in accident, injury, and medical malpractice litigation. She has initiated and implemented many ideas and methods of transitioning to the electronic age of legal practice at her firm and has widely and generously shared those ideas.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Meet Angel Zimmerman

Angel Zimmerman is an attorney and mother of four in Topeka, Kansas.  She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Women in Law Committee for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and as a leader of several other professional organizations.  Angel is the Managing Partner of Zimmerman & Zimmerman, P.A., a collections law firm.  She received her J.D. from Washburn School of Law in 2006 and her B.S. in Public Administration from Emporia State University in 1991. 


What have you done since law school and where do you work now? I bought out the senior partner at my law firm and now have my own firm with my husband.  We have 12 staff and all four kids on payroll.  Well, one is coming off to serve a mission. 

I have grown to really love being a part of organizations – especially those for women. 

I have been or am currently involved with the following organizations: Women Attorney Association of Topeka, Past-President; Kansas Women Attorneys Association, Past-President; National Conference of Women Bar Associations, board member; chair-elect for Minority and Women Business Development Council for Topeka; KBA – Law Practice Management (LPM -inaugural section president); Washburn School of Law Board of Governors (6 years) – now Adjunct Professor for LPM at Washburn Law school; etc.


What do you enjoy most about what you do? I love helping money get returned back to the economy.  I love helping creditors and I love even more working with debtors. 


Has your path in law differed from your original expectations?  If so, in what way?  Yes, I wanted to go on a mission and then law school but Larry (my husband) showed up in high school; he joined the church 6 years later so marriage and motherhood came first. 


What are your future professional goals?  Make my law firm productive and profitable and be able to bring on more associates and help more lawyers. 


How do you juggle your personal and professional lives?  I firmly believe in putting everything in the same pot.  My kids are part of my office and have been since they were little.  Church and seminary and organizations and work all know that I talk about all my activities and family as part of my entire whole.   You get me – you get all of me. 


Tell us about your family. THEY ARE AMAZING.  My kids are each other’s best friends. Weird, yes, but awesome.  I became a missionary mom on December 31, 2014.  My son will serve his mission in the Georgia Atlanta Mission.  My oldest, has been accepted to a study abroad program in Austria and will leave in February for 5 months; she loves to travel and in 2014 went to Estonia, Latvia and Cuba.  My two younger girls are a freshmen (swimmer) and junior (link crew leader) in high school. 


What advice would you give to other women either interested or already working in the law?


DO IT!!!!  The law is a demanding mistress – so no better master of it than a WOMAN.  The law can be molded to meet any need or family arrangement and the skills learned help you in everything aspect of life.  Go and Do, Don’t Sit and Stew – John Bytheway AND W.I.N – Do (w)hat’s (i)mportant (n)ow.  That changes throughout your life, let law help you with all those transitions. 




Monday, December 8, 2014

Meet Elizabeth Shill

Elizabeth Shill is an attorney in Southern California.  Thanks to Desiree Nordstrom for conducting this interview!

Where did you get your law degree and undergraduate degree? 

I received my law degree from Chapman University School of Law and my undergraduate degree at BYU.

Did you grow up knowing you wanted to go to law school? 


What have you done since law school and where do you work now?   

After law school I volunteered at a legal aid clinic and small law firm prior to getting my job.  I now work for a company called Core Development Services.  I work in the leasing department representing wireless carriers in acquiring land for cell phone towers.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?  

I enjoy the fast-paced environment because it always keeps me on my toes.  I also enjoy the daily interaction I have with people from varying backgrounds.  

How has your path in law differed from what you expected your path to be in the beginning?   

When I began law school, I was married with two small children.  I always planned on doing civil defense litigation.  Halfway through my 3L year, I divorced and realized I wouldn't be able to balance children and the time litigation requires.

How do you juggle being a mom and a professional? 

Juggling is a work in progress.  Because I can work from home I have to consciously make an effort to keep my work phone on silent and keep my laptop turned off until after my girls go to bed.  I am blessed with family and friends to help with my girls when I have an evening meeting or need them to be picked up from school.  Having family and friends nearby helps a lot.

Tell us about your kids.

 My oldest daughter is Madison.  She is 11 years old.  She enjoys drawing and wants to be an artist for Disney someday.  Reagan is 8 years old.  She has a fun personality and keeps the mood light around the house.

What advice would you give other working moms?

Try to find a balance between work and home.  Learn to put all the work stressors in the back of your mind so when you are with your children you can give them 100% of your attention and hopefully not let the stress of work come home with you.  Don't compare yourself with moms who stay at home and don't feel guilty for working.  Remember why you work in the first place and remember that you as the mom, know what is best for your children and current situation.   

What are your future professional goals?

 I'd like to focus more on real estate transactional law.  

It is great getting to know Elizabeth better! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

JRCLS Member Elected as District Attorney in Sutter County, California

Congratulations to J. Reuben Clark Law Society member, Amanda Hopper, who was recently elected as the district attorney in Sutter County, California.  You can read more about her election here and read our interview with her here.

Register Now for the JRCLS Annual Conference

The 2015 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Conference will take place February 12-14, 2015 at the Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.  Registration is available now at: https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1646230.

For more information about the conference, please view the flyer: http://www.jrcls.org/annual_conf/flyer.pdf.

Stay tuned for more information about special events for Women in the Law at the conference.

Meet Marin Bradshaw

Marin Bradshaw is an attorney in Orange County, California and a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.  A special thanks to Desiree Nordstrom for completing this interview.

Where did you go to school (undergrad and law?)

BYU (Provo) and BYU (Provo).

Why did you go to law school?

I always planned on graduate school of some kind or another, and I had been accepted to a few PhD programs during my senior year of undergrad, but I fell in love with a sophomore and we got engaged.  I started looking for graduate programs available at BYU so he wouldn’t have to transfer.  I had enjoyed my Communications Law course, so I quickly put together an application for BYU’s law school and sat for the LSAT.  It was very last minute and not particularly well-reasoned for such a life-changing decision.  Lucky for me, I loved everything about law and law school.

What type of law do you practice?

Estate planning and administration.

Do you have children; if so, how many?

Two children: Charlie (8) and Cici (3).

What have you done since law school?

I graduated from law school in 2006 and had my first child one month later.  I was a full-time, stay-home parent for the next four years, but I usually had some part-time or contract work going on that I could do from home, including a job with Kaplan PMBR, researching and writing their bar study materials.

Shortly after we moved to California, I interviewed with an estate planning solo practitioner who had a specialty in special-needs planning.  I had a strong personal interest in her practice area because I have family members with special needs, and I agreed to work part-time for her as a clerk until I got my license.  This turned into full-time work as an associate attorney until she closed her California office.  When the office closed, I was nine months pregnant with my second child, and my family really needed my supplemental income.  I set up a home office in the corner of my apartment and took on a few clients on my own during the transition, and I became an expert at nursing a baby while I pecked out my documents with one hand.

I found a position with another solo estate planner who needed some help on a temporary basis.  My work for him allowed him to bring in more business, and the temporary position turned into full-time permanent work and a rewarding mentoring relationship.

My family moved to Orange County in 2012, and I took my own clients for a few months while I looked for another position.  I’ve been at my current firm for almost two years where I am a full time associate doing estate planning, trust administration, probate, conservatorships, and some trust litigation.

How do you balance being a busy mom and a practicing attorney?

Here are a few sanity-saving tools related to keeping my mom world and my professional world from falling apart:

1.      I married a man who supports my career wholeheartedly and enthusiastically shares parenting responsibilities.  Really, the list could end here because, if I am ever successful with balancing, this is 99 percent of the secret to my success.  (Hopefully he would say the same thing about me.)

2.      I find and pay for childcare providers who love my kids and who are not shy about sending me reminders when I am in charge of the preschool snack or my son needs to have his Cub Scout uniform after school.  I also depend heavily on my kids’ teachers, church leaders, and friends to keep the household rolling. 

3.      I am in a practice area with relatively flexible deadlines and manageable workloads.  Sure, I have made more than one frantic phone call to my neighbor to meet my son’s school bus because a meeting or court hearing ran late, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

4.      I try to focus on what I accomplish instead of what I am missing.  This morning I fed, shoed, and hugged both of my kids before I left for work with my wallet, keys, and cell phone all in my purse.  This is a successful morning.  Who cares if I didn’t start the dishwasher and I only mascaraed one eye?

Looking back on your path, what advice would you give a new attorney?

Take pride in being an attorney and pursue your career goals with passion and confidence. 

Take advantage of your “new attorney” identity because it gives you an excuse to spend time on legal research, try new theories and strategies, and ask dumb questions from more experienced attorneys.

Also, what advice would you give a new attorney with young children?

It will be tempting to ignore your degree and your license and focus solely on your kids, especially if you can afford it.  My advice is, if you do take time out of paying legal work, to stay positioned for re-entry.  You could do this by continuing to stay in touch with professional associations, volunteering, or simply subscribing to and reading a legal trade journal.  I know from experience that it takes a long time and a lot of effort to elbow your way back in to practicing law, and it helps to keep a foot in the door.

If you have young children and you are working in a job that takes you away from your kids, my advice would be to find and keep caregivers who you trust and who may even be better than you are at some of the parenting responsibilities.  (I am the first to admit that my babysitter does a better job than I would at keeping my kids’ noses wiped.)  When you can trust your caregiver, you can focus your attention on being a terrific lawyer. 

What are the things you enjoy most about practicing? 

In general, I love being a lawyer, but I think my favorite part of my job is meeting new clients for the first time.  My practice gives me the chance to meet hundreds of new families every year and to have meaningful conversations about them about their background and their goals.  It is gratifying to have these conversations when I am in a position to help them with their next steps.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Introducing the New Chair and Vice-Chair of the WIL Committee

The JRCLS Women in Law Committee has a new Chair and Vice-Chair.  Karen Clemes (L) is the new chair.  She is Associate General Counsel at Ancestry.com in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Angel Zimmerman (R) is the new vice-chair.  She is the Managing Partner at Zimmerman & Zimmerman P.A. in Topeka, Kansas.  We look forward to the leadership these women will provide!