Listee Features — Law

MARY VAIL

Coming from a family of attorneys, Mary Vail developed an interest in politics and public service at a young age. She didn’t want to pursue law for personal gain, however; she wanted to use it toward charitable or governmental service to help her community. To make her goals a reality, Ms. Vail obtained a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1971 and a JD from the University of the Pacific in 1974. That year, she also became admitted to practice in the state of California. With the conclusion of Ms. Vail’s academic journey came the start of her professional one. She joined Volunteers in Service to American Attorneys and the San Francisco

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DIANE M. GENOVA

A real people person, Diane Genova has found law to be the perfect field for her. She loves being able to work with such a diverse group of clients and colleagues, and appreciates the intellectual challenge law poses. Further, she likes being able to see tangible results from her work. One of her specialties is building high-functioning teams. Ms. Genova always takes the time to learn each person individually and to help those struggling. She considers herself part player, part coach, part cheerleader, and is proud of her role in training, developing, and mentoring a whole generation of young lawyers. Ms. Genova’s first position in the field was associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, followed by vice president, assistant

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B. CONSUELA STEPHENS

Although B. Consuela Stephens didn’t always intend to pursue religion or law professionally, she is so glad she did. She strongly believes that a motivated spirit can do just about anything, so she set off to make the world a better place. On the religious end of the spectrum, Dr. Stephens served as a pastor at Chenaniah Missionary Church from 1986 to 2004 and as a consultant from 2004 to the present. On the legal end of the spectrum, she worked with DLA Piper under a prominent insurance and reinsurance attorney. She started with the firm as a secretary, and was fortunate to have a boss who saw her potential. He took her everywhere he went, allowing her to learn

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JENNIFER GILES

When Jennifer Giles was young, she was torn between pursuing law or architecture. It wasn’t until her third year as an undergrad that she decided to focus on the former. Family law in particular caught her attention because it would allow her to help others through tough times; a lot of the job is listening and empathizing with people. As a partner and owner of VanLanduyt Giles Greer, LLC, Ms. Giles handles a variety of topics, including divorce, adoption, custody disputes, protective orders, and child support. She strives to avoid litigation whenever possible, especially when there are children involved, but clients know they can count on her to be there for them whatever their needs. She is fluent in Spanish

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SYLVIA GOLDSCHMIDT

Growing up, Sylvia Goldschmidt wanted to save the world. She initially thought the best way to achieve her goal was through psychology and sociology, so she obtained a joint undergraduate degree from the University at Buffalo. After a year serving VISTA, now known as AmeriCorps, however, Ms. Goldschmidt decided that she could make the most difference as a lawyer. She proceeded to earn a JD from Brooklyn Law School in 1981 and an LLM in taxation from New York University School of Law in 1982, and to become admitted to practice in the state of New York in1983. Degrees in hand, she set out on her new path, and she hasn’t looked back since. ​ Now, Ms. Goldschmidt is thriving

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ROSE MARY ZAPOR

Backed by decades of experience with elder law and mediation, Rose Mary Zapor is thriving as an attorney at Zapor Law Office, P.C. She started the practice with the goal of helping as many people as possible, noting that, “families are facing challenges that previous generations have never known – longer lives, higher health costs, and shrinking resources.” Over the years, Ms. Zapor has accrued a reputation a passionate and skilled advocate for those in need. Her practice also includes wills and probate, Medicaid application and planning, guardianship and conservatorship, and social security disability. ​ Ms. Zapor’s introduction to law came when, at 18 years old, she was told she was not allowed to vote in the federal election. She

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DEBORA J. TURNER

Coming from a family of public servants, Debora J. Turner is very conscious of issues relating to her community. She decided at a young age that she wanted to help, and used her skills in writing and problem-solving to work toward that goal. Ms. Turner proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Arts and a JD from the University of Miami, and certification as a Florida public pension trustee through the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association. She then became admitted to practice before the state of Florida, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She considers her

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PHYLLIS FEDERICO

With experience in family, divorce, prenuptial, post-nuptial, and paternity law, Phyllis Federico has thrived as a founding partner of Schmidt & Federico, P.C., since 1994. Her responsibilities include handling high-conflict disputes with an emphasis on business valuation and custody litigation, and ensuring clients get the most effective solutions and advice possible. Over the years, Ms. Federico has garnered a reputation for being strong, compassionate, and fearless. She loves being able to use her voice to fight for those without one. ​ One of Ms. Federico’s greatest professional achievements was starting a pilot program, Child Focus Facilitation, in the Middlesex probate and family court. She considers her involvement with the program to be the most rewarding thing she does as a

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MARY LIBBY PAYNE

Backed by a keen sense of justice, Mary Libby Payne set out to become a voice for the voiceless. She became a lawyer in 1955, and quickly worked her way up the chain. Over the years, she held positions like secretary with Guaranty Title Co., partner with Bickerstaff & Bickerstaff, associate of Henley, Jones, & Henley, Jackson, solo practitioner, executive director of the Mississippi Judiciary Commission, chief of drafting and research for the Mississippi House of Representatives, and assistant attorney general in the State Attorney General Office. Judge Payne broke into academia in 1975, when she became the founding dean and associate professor in the School of Law at Mississippi College. She decided that she liked using her experience to

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EVA JO SPARKS

Positive, hardworking and honest, Eva Jo Sparks has become a trusted member of the forensic consulting community. Her expertise lies in white collar crimes like financial and health care fraud, predatory lending, and mortgage crime, and led her to create her company, Oklahoma Expert Witness. There, she is responsible for forensic accounting and investigations, detecting embezzlement, reconstructing financial records and books, preparing cases for court, creating trial exhibits, and testifying in federal and state courts. ​ The most gratifying aspect of Ms. Sparks’ job, however, is assisting pro se litigants who have been wrongfully cheated and have no means to assist themselves. One of her most notable cases involved an attorney altering her expert report regarding Medicare fraud. She worked

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