What are three traits that define you?
Dedicated, Compassionate and Easygoing
Why did you choose to become a settlement planner?
After practicing law for several years, I realized that although I was able to get great legal results for my clients, I wasn’t able to help create meaningful value for them once the case was over. I am fortunate to have several family members who had worked with settlement planning professionals, so I witnessed the impact that settlement planners have on claimants’ long-term well-being. My family members were especially impressed with The Settlement Alliance –WEST’s planners and the extensive resources the company has available to help both attorneys and claimants. I was advised to look into settlement planning as a career option and am forever grateful for the recommendation. I truly love settlement and trust planning and can see the tangible value my work provides to injured claimants and their attorneys.
What are some of the challenges your attorney clients face and how do you help them?
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to serve as a resource for my attorney clients and to support the important work they do. From my perspective, the biggest challenges attorneys face during settlement are: 1) ensuring that the settlement will sufficiently provide for their client’s lifetime financial needs and 2) understanding how they (the attorneys) can best protect themselves and their clients from the many issues that may arise during settlement.
For instance, attorneys don’t want their clients’ government benefits to be jeopardized by a settlement. I frequently help develop strategies to protect needs-based benefits, often by utilizing a special needs trust or a spend-down. Attorneys also don’t want any delays on a settlement that requires court approval. In my previous work as a practicing attorney, I attended many compromise and trust petition hearings. That experience has given me a unique insight as a settlement planner to help attorneys get petitions approved without delay.
Share one of your favorite client stories
I have so many favorite client stories, but a recent one involves a client who was in a severe car accident. An 18-wheeler semi-truck flipped over a median and landed on my client’s car, completely crushing him. If you saw a picture, you would never believe that someone could survive this type of accident, but my client miraculously did. Despite his permanent catastrophic injuries, he maintains the most optimistic outlook on life. He is the epitome of resilience; he lights up any room he enters, and his appreciation for life is truly infectious.
I was honored to work with this gentleman and his wife. In addition to looking at the numbers, we discussed their dreams and goals for the future. I helped them locate and purchase their dream home and also put together a plan for their settlement funds that will provide lifetime security and financial flexibility. As a part of the comprehensive settlement planning process, I compared insurance options to ensure a smooth transition off Medi-Cal health insurance, and today, he is thriving. In his own words, “if a semi can’t take me down, nothing can.”
These types of stories and people make me appreciate how lucky I am to call this my job.
What do you enjoy most about being a settlement planner?
In short, helping people. My clients are extraordinarily resilient people who have been through so much hardship. They inspire me and remind me of how fortunate I am to help those who have suffered unimaginable pain and loss. Through them, I learn to fully embrace and appreciate my life and to work hard to help those who need it most.
I do everything in my ability to connect with my clients on a personal level, to understand what their experience is like, and to uncover resources and benefits that will alleviate some of their stress while awaiting and after the resolution of their lawsuit.
I cherish being part of a team that provides these same clients with lifelong security and the necessary tools to reach their post-injury goals. The best part of my job is keeping in touch with clients to see how they are doing down the road.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Most of my time outside of work is spent with my family and friends. I cherish the time I get to spend with my daughter and husband in San Francisco exploring the Bay Area. You can also find me cheering on the sidelines for the Warriors and Giants.
I love to travel and an ideal day involves soaking up the sunshine near a beach with friends or family, typically with a cold drink in my hand and a game of cards in front of me. During the winter, I love skiing and snowboarding the back bowls at Snowbird and Alta with my closest girlfriends.
What is your personal motto?
Work hard and be nice to people.