Full Time Practice

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!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fellowship Opportunity at Center for Women, Faith, & Leadership


"The CWFL Fellowship Program is an innovative 2-year program that offers women of faith the opportunity to increase their capacity and leadership skills, in order to more fully impact global affairs, peace-building and conflict resolution.  Fellows will learn from one another, and from a network of experts, in order to enhance their leadership, cross-cultural communication, and negotiation skills, while leveraging their expertise and networks in order to influence and educate multiple audiences and stakeholders.  The Fellowship concludes with a capstone project where Fellows work together, applying their skills and networks to a particular issue/challenge.  In the process these Fellows demonstrate how women of faith can play integral roles in decision-making in global affairs, while also building a global movement of women educated and equipped to be difference makers both in analyzing problems and implementing practical solutions."

The fellowship includes conferences held in Washington D.C., as well as online training.  For a detailed description of the fellowship and schedule, please see the CWFL Fellowship Application

Applications must be submitted by December 20, 2014, and fellowship recipients will be contacted by January 30, 2015. 

Questions may be directed to Kristen Lundquist, Program Officer with the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership at klundquist@globalengage.org.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top Ten Ways to Build and Extend Women in Law

JRCLS WIL Members Cynthia Lange and Nancy Van Slooten

The J. Reuben Clark Leadership Conference took place at Brigham Young University and Aspen Grove, Utah October 2-3, 2014.  During the conference, the new chair of the Women in the Law Committee Karen Clemes gave a presentation about the Top Ten Ways to Build and Extend Women in Law.  This is a great resource for JRCLS chapter leaders and women who are interested in starting a WIL committee in their local chapter.  The presentation is available at this link.