Interview with Jackson Law
#1: What made you choose a career in law?
Kristen Jackson: In my earlier years I thought I wanted to be an artist. After graduating
from The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale I was hired into an interior
design firm in St. Petersburg, Florida. During my tenure as an interior
designer and architectural space planner, I focused my specialty on commercial
and professional office space design. The more I interacted with and observed
other professionals for whom I was designing I developed a sense of admiration
for positions different than my own such as accountants, doctors and lawyers.
Because I was exceptionally good in math, I decided to return to college
and pursue a career as a certified public accountant (CPA). Upon graduation,
my husband and family encouraged me not to let my dream stop with simply
an accounting degree but rather pursue an even higher degree opportunity
in medicine or law. With this type of encouragement and support behind
me, I decided to pursue a law degree. After my first year in law school
I realized my passion of becoming a lawyer. Following law school I became
both a practicing attorney and a certified public accountant and have
been practicing in Orlando Florida for 30 years.
#2: In your opinion, what sets your firm apart from other firms in the area?
When opening our practice, we didn't want to exhibit control over our
clients or dictate what we thought they should do in their situation.
We wanted to keep the focus on their needs and create an environment where
they could take on an active role in achieving their desired result, all
while understanding the process as it was happening. Our philosophy of
working together as a team was memorialized in the company's trademark,
"Together We Stand." We partner with our clients. Whatever the
desired result is for them, we will tailor their needs and work together
toward that goal.
Also clients will often call for advice on changes to existing laws and
sometimes non-law related matters not only because they feel comfortable
asking us questions, but because they trust the answers they're getting.
Our clients call us as though we're their counselors. They trust us.
We've become a part of their family and they've become a part of ours.
#3: Tell us about a case that you are particularly proud of:
Many cases come to mind but one of the more recent ones involved a family
with a sizable estate. The father of the family had our firm prepare a
living trust to protect his family and business assets valued at just
over ten million dollars. It cost a few thousand dollars to set up the
trust and we emphasized the importance of transferring all of the assets
into the name of the trust in order to avoid a costly and lengthy probate
upon his death. Being only 56 years of age, he figured he had plenty of
time to get around to transferring his asset regardless of our continued
reminders to do so. Before he got around to it he died suddenly without
any warning to the family. The family had to probate the entire estate
as most holdings were in his name only.
The case took on the elements of a fiction novel. It involved a health
care provider for his disabled wife who survived him. In an attempt to
manipulate and take control of the wife and estate assets, the health
care provider kidnapped the wife, temporarily housed her in a motel and
quickly set an appointment to meet with another highly respected law firm
to generate a new will and financial and health care documents for the
wife to sign. The deceased father's business partners also entered
the mix by hiring an attorney to obtain control over and abscond with
as much of the business assets as they could.
The oldest son, emotionally concerned at the sudden loss of his father
and kidnapping of his mother approached our firm to represent him to fight
the business partners and the health care provider and to challenge the
other law firm who had prepared new documents for the mother to sign naming
the health care provider as her guardian and as a beneficiary to the will.
This other law firm was likewise representing the business partners of
the deceased father.
To increase our legal advantage, Jackson Law Law Firm partnered with a
litigation firm to regain control over the end game. A legal battle ensued
between the firms. During our firm's pursuit we learned that the health
care provider for the mother had a criminal background for fraud and elder
abuse. Two days following this discovery and with the assistance of the
police, the son managed to grasp his mother from the claws of the health
care provider. The mother said that she did not know what happen and that
under the duress during the entire experience and that she was induced
to sign documents at the encouragement of the law firm representing the
health care provider and the business partners.
Once learning this, Jackson Law Law Firm notified the law firm representing
the health care provider that it would be in the best interest of their
firm to forward all documents signed by the mother over to our firm or
their firm could be facing charges of inducement and fraud together with
the health care provider and the husband's business partners. Needless
to say, all of the documents signed by the mother were returned to our office.
Following these events, litigation with the business partners was readily
negotiated, the health care provider disappeared, and our firm regained
control over the assets for the son who opened a probate for the estate.
The entire stage of events took almost 3 years to settle the estate.
#4: What steps do you take to prepare for a difficult case?
Regardless of difficulty, the first step that Jackson Law Law Firm takes
with a client is to concentrate on the specific nature of their needs
and categorize those needs into the best representative area of legal
practice. When clients first meet an attorney their explanation of their
legal matter is often incoherent rambling about what just happened and
without any substantive facts that are mixed with a lot of personal opinions,
hearsay, and emotion.
After clearing the fog and identifying the client's specific legal
need, we then present them with our representative approach and begin
to collect facts needed to proceed with their legal matter. Simultaneously,
we try to ease their concerns and comfort clients in knowing that they
are never alone throughout their legal endeavor and assuring them our
firm will be there to lead them through the entire legal process. Comforting
a client is essential to a client's initial preparation because many
with whom we first meet are already apprehensive, anxious and often afraid
of or intimidated by lawyers.
Finally, upon retaining the client, although we encourage clients to go
about their daily lives while our firm becomes the work horse toward achieving
client success, we do not deter our clients from becoming involved in
the legal process and often encourage it.
#5: How do you view your role in the attorney-client relationship?
We see ourselves as guardians, mentors and partners to our clients. Clients
often see us more like counselors by voicing their confidence in our honest,
trustworthy and refreshing participation when representing their legal
needs. Many clients treat us as if we have become a part of their family
and they've become a part of ours.
#6: What sets you apart from other attorneys – why is this important?
Our firm believes that no single client is more important than any other
existing client or potentially new client with whom we speak. When a client
contacts our firm they are received by a live voice and directed to someone
who will take the time to discuss their legal need whether or not our
firm practices the specific area of law that they may be requesting. And
if we do not handle a particular area of law requested by a client, we
will take the time to refer them to an attorney who would best represent
that their legal needs.
#7: How does having experience benefit your clients?
Experience itself is the benefit. Having handled thousands of client matters
specific to our areas of legal practice, we are constantly in touch with
the current laws. We do not have to relearn or research existing laws
hours on end and each and every time we meet a new client. Experience
can save the client time, aggravation and money.
#8: What types of cases do you specifically handle?
While our areas of practice are varied, our passion lies in Wills, Trusts,
Probate, Medicaid and other estate planning and elder law practices. Although
our firm centered its devotion to these passions during our earlier years
of growth, client needs influenced our expansion into most other legal
and financial aspects of law that include business, real estate, family
law, and more.
#9: In your opinion, what is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
One of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of being a lawyer is
to assist and obtain a positive result for people who are in desperate
financial conditions or difficult situations and not knowing who to turn
to, and who cannot effectively deal with the legal system without help.
#10: What advice do you most often give your clients & why?
We advise clients to let our firm remove any legal burden or concerns.
We encourage them to go about their daily lives while our firm becomes
the work horse toward achieving their legal success. Also we do not deter
our clients from becoming involved to a degree in the legal process and
often recommend it. We want our clients to feel comfortable with their
attorney as if they are a partner throughout the entire process.