This year, our associate attorney, Jeanna Shelton, is celebrating her fifth anniversary of legal practice. Jeanna first became licensed to practice law in North Carolina in 2016. A lot has happened in Jeanna's life in the last five years, both professionally and personally, so it is our pleasure to mark this milestone by highlighting some of her biggest accomplishments and favorite moments. Read on to learn more about Jeanna's journey to the successful attorney she is today.
A Clear Vision
Growing up, Jeanna's family placed a high value on taking care of people, whether that be through preparing and taking them meals during difficult times or spending time listening to their stories (which always went well with homemade baked goods!). When her father passed away at the start of Jeanna's senior year of high school, a family friend and local attorney helped them through the estate administration process while providing kindness, strength and direction to her and her family members. After completing her bachelor's degree, Jeanna began working as a paralegal for the same attorney and friend, who consistently showed her the positive difference an attorney can make in her client's lives through offering legal expertise and compassion for individuals and families facing challenging and painful situations. The experience Jeanna gained working directly in these matters inspired her to pursue a career where she could apply her desire to care for others with her interest in legal strategies and services.
Jeanna says: “My background as a paralegal instilled in me a detail driven and process-oriented approach to the legal issues my clients face. For me, legal practice is not just about attaining a positive result, but also about taking an organized, thought-out, and well communicated step-by-step path to attain each client's legal aims. However, even the best legal plan will fall short without an attorney who genuinely cares about her clients and the impact their legal challenges have on their lives. It is for this reason that one of our firm's guiding principles is to partner with our clients, get to know their values, and work together to accomplish their goals.”
Estate Planning and Estate Administration: After graduating from Wake Forest School of Law, Jeanna began practicing law in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, and elder law. Over the last five years she has helped numerous North Carolina families select and implement custom estate plans and navigate the complexities of estate and trust administration after the death of a loved one. She is consistently complimented for her engaging and educational approach with her clients.
Jeanna says: “Offering peace of mind on inheritance matters is the best part of what I get to do each day, both in the planning phase and in tackling legal processes after a death. Almost 10 years ago I started my legal career as a paralegal because I wanted to help people, so I am very grateful that I get to serve my community through these practice areas.”
Business Law: After moving to Charlotte, Jeanna gained experience in handling purchase and sale transactions for small businesses, including multiple dental and veterinary practices. She also refined and enhanced her proficiency in employment contract review and negotiation, North Carolina business formation, and general corporate records matters. We are delighted that our entrepreneurial clients receive the benefit of her vast experience and knowledge in this area.
Jeanna says: “Starting a new business is an exciting time in my clients' lives and I love that I get to be a part of creating a strong legal foundation for such important and special ventures. It is also an honor to work alongside business owners and professionals throughout the lifetime of their business and careers. Hiring new employees, bringing in new owners, acquiring new locations, or ultimately selling their hard-earned, successful business to the right buyer, getting to witness and assist in the growth of a business is a wonderful experience.”
Along with practicing law, Jeanna is passionate about providing legal education and information to the community. She has conducted multiple seminars on the components and benefits of estate planning and taught a community enrichment course at Mitchell Community College on the same topics.
Jeanna says: “I think because estate planning, by necessity, requires people to think about death, people often subconsciously (or consciously) avoid learning about their options and the estate administration process. This can, unfortunately, create a great deal of misunderstanding, difficulty, and financial burden for loved ones after someone passes away. Seeing this firsthand has instilled in me a passion for starting these conversations in a friendly and informative setting, so that people feel empowered, rather than intimidated, when contemplating their own legacy.”
Changes at Home
In the last 5 years Jeanna has had many exciting changes in her personal life! In time order Jeanna: became a North Carolina resident (having been raised in central Florida), got engaged and then married, welcomed two more nieces and nephews to the growing group (currently standing at 5 strong), bought a house, and this past September welcomed her first child, daughter Isla Jean Shelton.
Jeanna says: “My life now looks nothing like it did five years ago but I feel so blessed when I stop and think about all the amazing changes I've experienced! The relationships I've developed and deepened have especially kept me going and grateful, including my friendships with Erin Patterson and Erin Kyker. I am so excited to look back in another five years and see how far we all will have come! Also, recently becoming a parent has opened my perspective even more to the considerations parents, and especially young families, must face in developing an estate plan and I'm sure that perspective will grow along with my daughter and each new stage!”
Along with continuing education in her practice areas, Jeanna has exciting plans to add additional certifications to her repertoire. Be sure to stay tuned for these announcements and other information about upcoming events with Jeanna and Erin Patterson Law, PLLC.
Jeanna says: “I never want to stop learning and growing, and that's a foundational tenet of our firm. There are always ways to improve, to go above and beyond, and to better serve our clients. I am looking forward to continuing to push myself in striving for that goal.”
As you can see, we have many reasons to celebrate Jeanna's fifth anniversary. Our team is stronger because of her, and our clients have seen her skill benefit them in countless ways. We will continue to share her career highlights here with our readers in the years to come. In the meantime, you can read more on her bio and connect with her on LinkedIn.