The Probate ProSM, is proud to have Angela Esseily as a member of the team. Joining in March 2019, Angela helps The Probate ProSM with conservatorship and guardianship cases. Sitting down with Angela, she shared with us her experiences that led her to where she is today.
The Probate Pro (TPP): You have a very interesting backstory as to how you arrived at The Probate ProSM, would you care to share with us?
Angela: Originally, I joined The Probate ProSM in February of 2016. I started off as a law clerk, while seeing some paralegal work as well. As a paralegal, it was more secretary-related work, whereas being a law clerk, everyone I was working with was trying to get me ready for practicing law.
TPP: What was your experience as a law clerk and paralegal like?
Angela: I was getting familiar with the courts, so I was running around a lot, going from county to county. I even got to do some out of county filing, so that was cool. Really, it was about just getting the experience of what probate court was like, because probate was completely new to me.
I would say that experience did a lot to prepare me for what was to come as an attorney and in terms of being familiar with the courts and the ways the clerks worked. Otherwise, as far as the actual work in the office went, I got a lot of opportunities to write memos and do research and that supplemented my legal studies from law school.
TPP: What were maybe three things you took away from being a law clerk and paralegal?
Angela: I guess just being familiar with the courts is one because I never did that before and that was a big deal for me.
Being able to interact with other people outside the law firm was also big. Just building relationships with those clients and PI attorneys. People don’t realize just how much you have to work with people and these [probate cases] are always sensitive and you have to learn how to go about things, so that was different.
Finally, just getting that experience of working in a law firm was enough to take something away because in college, I was waitressing. When I was a paralegal it was more like sticking to one group of people and not really expanding.
TPP: During your time as a law clerk and paralegal, who were some individuals you credit for helping you?
Angela: For sure, Kristy Black and Jason Wagner. With Kirsty, I used to do some work with her and I remember specifically – and she may not remember this – being able to follow a file from beginning to end. She kind of let me take the reins on it and it was a big deal for me. I was able to build a relationship with a client and do the work with him. He was really happy with our work in the end, closing out the estates for his wife and daughter. She also very knowledgeable, so I was able to learn a lot from her.
As for Jason, I worked with him a lot because I was able to fix issues with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and that was fun for me because I was able to understand the language being used and the way to do billing, which is a different world.
TPP: So you took the State Bar Exam in 2017. What were you doing since passing and before joining The Probate ProSM?
Angela: I started off as a PI attorney, but I realized I wanted to do more of the helping people than dealing with just trying to get money. I wanted to help them know what they do with that money when the time comes. So I was able to bounce back into probate and I’m a lot happier and I feel less stressed because I feel more excited about going to work.
TPP: Now you’re back at The Probate ProSM. What laws do you practice here?
Angela: I practice conservatorship and guardianship law. For conservatorship law, I provide clients with assistance with funds. These are funds that benefit people with some sort of legal incapacity and even minors that somehow end up with the funds. It could be either from car accidents or maybe they inherited money from the estate. I also practice guardianship law, which is more about taking care of the client’s personal needs to some capacity if they can’t do it themselves. For people in severe accidents or sustained brain injuries, we help the guardian take over the required needs that a guardian is supposed to do. There’s a lot of laws they’re not familiar with, so we help them make sure they’re doing things the way the court wants them to.
TPP: What are some of the things you do on a daily basis for your clients?
Angela: Sometimes a client might call with questions about paperwork they received in the mail because their reports are due to the court. Often times the conservators have to make reports to the court on what they paid for and why they paid for something. So they’re asking me what they need to bring to you or the court, and what can they do to make the process easier. I’m able to assist them with that.
As for guardians, they have to report to the court on how the ward is doing and if they need further assistance or whether they’re treated the way they should be as required by the Estates and Protected Individuals Code. Sometimes it’s just a simple question asking whether they can do something or if they can purchase something for the ward because they need it for school. Sometimes they want to call and vent, and that’s okay too.
TPP: Finally, who is Angela Esseily outside of work? What do you like to do with spare time?
Angela: Well now that I’ve finished law school, I’d love to travel more around the country. I’ve been down to part of Florida often, but I want to have more experiences now. One day I’d love to travel through Europe. Visiting Spain, Italy, France seems like everyone’s dream, but I think it would be fun to visit those areas. I like to stay physically fit by going to the gym multiple times a week. I also consider myself a big reader. I enjoy reading a good book when I have the time. I’m very close to my siblings and like to spend time with them, as well as my close friends.