Twitterview: The Attorney-Mama Behind the Tweets

In case you missed it, here now for your reading pleasure is the complete text of my Twitterview with Lance Godard for 22 Tweets (@22Twts) Real-time Twitter interviews with practicing lawyers who tweet:

Today we’re tweeting with @dgvelaw, a Massachusetts lawyer who helps people add to, protect, and move their families

1. @dgvelaw thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @dgvelaw?

Thanks for having me – very excited about this!
Deadhead feminist Atty-Mama (5, 3 & 5 mos), fun wife, big sister, DD, loyal friend, clients’ trusted family advisor for life

2. Tell us about your law practice.

DGVE law helps pp add to, protect, & move their families: adoption, estate planning, residential real estate

3. What type of clients do you represent?

most DGVE law clients are in their 30s-40s, own homes in the Greater Boston area & are parents of minor children

4. And what would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?

legally protecting their kids- naming guardians & ensuring kids’ $ is protected until they’re mature enough to receive it

5. Important matters indeed. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?

we date b/f we get engaged- I tell prospective clients a little about me, ask about them, then we can see if rel. would work
6. I like that analogy. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.

I’ve had the privilege of becoming the trusted family advisor to an extended family, helping each of them…
Also very excited about clients who started w/me for estate planning & are now in the process of adopting!
7. Why do your clients hire you?

I’m genuine, friendly, deeply empathize w/my clients & want to help them in as easy a way possible- they can sense that immediately
8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?

Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Guardians for Kids, Living Wills) though Real Estate & Adoption have been picking up lately
9. What’s the most common mistake people make with respect to estate planning. How can they fix it?

Avoid/delay. No certainty but death/taxes but never know when disability/death will come, what cost, or how old kids’ll be…
always better to plan calmly than react in crisis. DIY estate planning = close second- that’ll be big news going forward.
10. Heard it here first…. You charge flat fees for your work. How long have you done that? How has it changed your practice?

did some hrly billing as I was taught when I first went solo. It was awful for me & the clients. I decided never again &…
everyone’s happier this way. It fosters more & better communication & engenders more good will all around.
11. That makes sense. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
I help pp add to (adopt), protect (plan for disability & death), & move (homes) their families in empowering, friendly way.
12. You blog at MA Wills, Trusts, and Estates ( What objectives drive your blog? Are you meeting them?

I aim to educate & motivate in easy nonthreatening way to plan NOW/spare families later & believe I’m meeting those goals.
13. Besides Twitter and your blog, what other Web 2.0 tools do you regularly use to market your practice?

FB Fan Page where I regularly interact w/others & also post items related to real estate & adoption.
14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?

I’ve had a # of clients via FB & met wonderful colleagues nationwide & found great referral partners locally via Twitter…
referred to me or Googling, Clients often say they checked out my website & blog & “liked my vibe”
15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?

I enjoy connecting w/pp on deeper level, find my friendships on & offline personal & professional in origin lead to the best…
word-of-mouth “brand enhancement.”Also 1 day/wk on my biz & mkting plans, learning what they didn’t teach in law school!
16. It seems to be working well. Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?

Mistrust of lawyers nothing new, but fear of being “taken” financially exacerbated right now. Disconnect I’m seeing w/…
clients who feel can’t afford all legal services need, so gamble instead trying DIY approach or w/less comprehensive plan…
don’t like it but I get it. Something’s better than nothing, so I do what I can to make high quality affordable & accessible
17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?

not clairvoyant but I’d love to see more respect for less conventional e.g. dedicated home offices & flex hrs enabling more…
atty-parents to be happier being w/their kids & continuing to serve pp as we worked so hard for so long to learn to do.
& lots more DIY legal attempts – yikes!
18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?

Spanish Literature Prof. at forward-thinking U. teaching a series of classes from El Quijote! Makes me happy just thinking about it!
19. How do you want to be remembered?

positive role model/loving, safe harbor for daughters; still-fun-to-hang-out-with wife & friend; clients’ trusted advisor for life
20. What do you do when you’re not working?

5yo 3yo 5mo 2 cats house & DH, but we make time for great TV (recorded to watch when we can), friends & family. I don’t sleep much.
21. I can imagine…. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?

As Mama Odie tells Princess Tiana u gotta dig down deep/figure out what u REALLY want, then work hard to make THAT happen.
22. Wise words. Our final question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?

Make sure heart’s really in it/know why or don’t go. Do what’s always worked for U. Avoid fearful dramatic competition like plague.
Thank you for a very interesting interview; I enjoyed learning about you and your practice very much.

It was my pleasure – thanks so much!

About Danielle G. Van Ess

Danielle G. Van Ess is a Massachusetts (born and raised), experienced estate planning and small business attorney who helps her clients protect and preserve what matters most to them. To learn more, please visit: or call: 781-740-0848