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Michelle Farris

Newnam Land, LLP – Wimberley, TX

Michelle Farris
How did you get your job?

I Googled attorneys in my area. Newnam Land was one of my search results. After reading through their website, I reached out to Dixie Newnam via email. I explained that I was (at the time) a 1L attending St. Mary’s University School of Law. I then asked if she might be willing to look at my resume and consider hiring me for a summer internship. Dixie responded asking for my resume. After sending in my resume, I was invited for an interview. About two weeks later Ms. Newnam called me with an offer.

What was the most surprising thing you learned at your job?

So far the most surprising thing I learned, is that when an attorney is representing an administrator for an estate, and that administrator dies, the attorney can petition the court to be named the Administrator Successor if there is no one else local who can handle distributing the estate and all of the things the job entails.

What do/did you like most about your job?

If I had to sum up “one thing” I like most about my job it would be the atmosphere of the workplace and the attitude of the attorneys. The attorneys are genuinely nice people. I am a parent, and because the attorneys here are parents, they understand the need for flexibility when it comes to family obligations. I also love that they see teaching opportunities and will explain what they are doing and why even when it has no bearing on the projects I am currently working on. I also like that the two attorneys have very different ways of doing certain things, so I get to see different ways of handling the same issues, both of which are effective. Ms. Newnam is also an advocate for mental health and self-care of attorneys.

How do you think this experience has helped you in your career path?

Working here has solidified my initial belief that I would be happy working somewhere where I can do a lot of transactional work as well as some litigation. I’ve also discovered that I enjoy property law more than I initially thought I would.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at this job?

If your friends or family members say they don’t need to set up any estate planning, make sure you stress to them how wrong they are. If your friends or family members say they can write their own wills and don’t need an estate planning professional…stress to them how wrong they are. We have many clients whose loved ones passed without a will or with wills that were not drafted correctly, and it creates a huge headache for the person responsible for probating the estate. If you love your family, make sure you have a will or a trust setup that was created by a professional who knows what they are doing.

Did your job change in a virtual workplace?  How did you interact with your co-workers?

Our office has a very efficient virtual workplace setup. I can work from home if a child is sick, or if something comes up. When this happens, I interact with my coworkers and bosses via text, a virtual phone system (I can make and receive calls from my work number on my personal phone), email, or an instant messaging system on the computer.