Estate Planning & Elder Law Services is pleased to welcome paralegal Melanie Walker to our practice. Melanie joined the firm in January, 2023, and has quickly become a valued member of the team. In addition to working closely with the firm’s attorneys, Melanie also interacts frequently with our clients, so we want to give everyone a chance to learn why we’re so glad she came onboard!
Not many children say they want to be a paralegal when they grow up, and Melanie was no exception. But while lots of kids say they want to be a princess or a cowboy, Melanie consistently responded that she wanted to help people.
When she began attending Washtenaw Community College after graduating from high school, Melanie still wasn’t sure what form that goal would take. An avid learner, Melanie explored a variety of classes, including those in paralegal studies. She quickly realized she had found her field. After graduating with an Associate’s degree, Melanie pursued further education at Eastern Michigan University, where she was voted Paralegal Student of the Year in 2022.
Attending college through a pandemic meant more Zoom classes and less personal interaction than Melanie would have liked, but she still found a way to extract as much from the experience as possible. She enjoyed getting an education in a wide variety of legal practice areas; she even got to learn about human trafficking law. Melanie also got to sharpen her legal research and writing skills at EMU. As she learned more about the various areas of the law, Melanie found herself drawn to probate and estate planning. She observes that in those areas, “You can see how your work is helping people; you get to work closely with clients, understand their wishes, and help make them happen.”
While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, Melanie also got some hands-on experience that has served her well. She completed an internship at the Washtenaw County/Eastern Michigan University Legal Resource Center, helping visitors complete forms for various civil matters, including guardianship, conservatorship, and other probate issues.
In addition to her studies and internship, Melanie also worked at a daycare during her EMU years, caring for fourteen children under the age of four! Fortunately, Melanie’s strengths include patience, the ability to triage and multitask, and calm under pressure (all of which also come in very handy in a law office).
When it came time for Melanie to look for a permanent job after graduation, she took to heart the advice of one of her professors. He counseled his students, “If you’re excited to go to work, and your work makes you happy and other people happy, you’re at the right job.” As Melanie applied for paralegal work, she naturally looked at the websites of the law firms that she was applying to. She notes that one of the things she found compelling about Estate Planning & Elder Law Services was the firm’s many positive reviews from clients. It wasn’t just that the reviews were good, but that many of them mentioned how helpful, kind, and caring the attorneys and staff were. Melanie knew she wanted to be a part of a firm that not only does good work, but has a culture of service and respect.
Since joining the practice, Melanie Walker has been realizing her childhood ambition of helping people, both colleagues and clients. In addition to taking administrative tasks off of attorneys’ plates, she drafts deeds, schedules signing appointments, and helps clients understand what to expect next as their legal matter proceeds. Melanie’s favorite part of her work is getting to interact with clients and to learn something new every day. She remembers her EMU professor’s advice and feels confident that she is, indeed, in the right job. We certainly feel lucky to have her here!
As well-suited as Melanie is to her paralegal role, she has plenty of interests outside the office as well. She is an avid reader who tries to read fifty books every year. Melanie is known as the “family librarian” and is on her way to building up an “official” library of 1000 books. If she’s not relaxing in a hammock with a favorite read, Melanie might be found playing with her new kittens, Poppy and Branch, or honing her golf game, which she has just started to play. Melanie also loves to travel. One of her favorite spots in Michigan is Tahquamenon State Park; favorite trips outside the state include jaunts to Seattle and Colorado.
We are delighted to have Melanie Walker as a part of the Estate Planning & Elder Law team, and hope that you will have the opportunity to get to know her in person!