Background: About Me
Born and raised in rural Michigan, in a large family of modest means, I grew up on a “dirt farm” (we farmed for our own purposes, not a commercial farm), so I’m no stranger to hard work and pragmatism. I pride myself on being an attorney with common sense.
Most of my work experience has been with small, closely-held or family businesses. I spent more than a decade providing technology and business consulting, and before attending law school, I managed a small consulting firm in California. I have a great deal of experience in doing needs assessment; because of this, I am a very good listener and a problem solver by nature.
After living in San Francisco for nearly 15 years, I moved to Winston-Salem for graduate school, fell in love with the area, and decided to stay. I live in a wonderful neighborhood, have a number of friends in the area and, and have extended family throughout the surrounding counties.
When I’m not working hard for clients, I am an avid do-it-yourselfer; I spent nine years restoring a 100-year-old Victorian home in San Francisco. I enjoy gardening, cooking, SCUBA diving, bicycling, riding motorcycles, and traveling generally. In addition to English, I speak fluent French, and have studied German, Russian, Latin, and Old French. I plan to start learning Spanish soon, and would eventually like to learn Chinese.
I value my relationship not just with my clients, but the the
communities of which we are all a part. I encourage you to become
involved in shaping and improving your world, too. The following are a
few of my current and past community activities, which may give you a
sense of what’s important to me.
- Guardian Ad Litem — I act as a court-appointed guardian ad litem for children in the custody of the Department of Social Services, investigating and researching on behalf of the court, to aid in determining what action by the court would be in the best interest of the child.
- Volunteer & Judge, Teen Court — Teen Court is a diversion program for juvenile offenders. The YWCA of Winston-Salem, in coordination with the Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s office, provides an opportunity for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes to admit guilt and submit to sentencing by a jury of teens. If a youth is referred to Teen Court by the DA’s office, she or he may elect to admit guilt and accept constructive sentencing by peers. ‘Constructive sentencing’ consists of a combination of community service, jury duty, educational programs, apologies, counseling, tutoring, etc., with the goal of teaching a lesson and helping the youth resolve the problems that led to the bad behavior. Participants are prosecuted and defended by teen attorneys and law students. I serve as a judge overseeing the process, and I also coach the attorneys. I have been working with Teen Court since 2005.
- California AIDS Ride (CAR6, CAR7, CAR8) — The California AIDS Ride (now AIDS LifeCycle) is a fundraising bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles – about 575 miles. Three years in a row, I pedaled to raise money to provide services to persons with AIDS; I raised over $15,000.
- Financial Literacy Project — I worked with a group of finance students at Wake Forest University’s Babcock School to provide financial literacy education to clients of the Department of Social Services Child Protective Services unit. I helped establish this program while I was a student at Wake.
- If your church, school, or community group is interested in providing financial literacy seminars to its members, I am available to speak. Availability may be limited by my caseload and other demands on my time. Because I provide this service at no charge, I must necessarily limit the amount of time I can dedicate to this. If you are interested, please contact me to discuss your audience, your needs and expectations, and my availability.
- Board of Trustees — The Montessori School of Winston-Salem.
- Board of Directors — Legal Aid of North Carolina
- Employers On The Offensive, Solo, Spring 2009, Vol. 15, No. 2
- A brief article on managing some of the most common issues that lead to employee lawsuits.
- Using Title VII and the ADA to Protect LGBTQ People in the Workplace, Trial Briefs, April 2018
- Authored jointly with Bartina Edwards, Esq., Charlotte.
- An article on workplace protections – and the limitations on protections – based on sexual and gender identity.
Memberships and Affiliations
- Member, American Bar Association
- Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law
- Senior Lawyers Division
- General Practice, Small Firm & Solo Division
- LGBT Bar Association
- Member, North Carolina Bar Association
- Section of Elder Law & Special Needs
- Section of Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law
- Section of Real Property
- Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Division
- Member, North Carolina Advocates for Justice
- Employment Law Section
- Civil Rights Section
- Small Office Practice Section
- Member, Forsyth County Bar Association (21st Judicial District Bar)
- Member, NCGALA
- Life Member, University of Michigan Alumni Association
- Member, American Motorcyclist Association