Listee Features — Law

DIERDRE A. BURGMAN

Dierdre A. Burgman is a writer and an attorney with decades of extensive legal experience. She earned her B.A. in English from Valparaiso University, her J.D. from its School of Law in the 1970s, and her Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) from Yale Law School in 1985. Ms. Burgman was first admitted in Indiana, but a few years after her admission to practice in New York in 1982, she chose not to renew her Indiana license. She was also admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Seventh Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court. After clerking for the chief judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals,

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RENEE K. GUCCIARDO

Growing up, Renee Gucciardo always wanted to be a lawyer like her grandfather. She found the idea of helping people to be very fulfilling, and was awed by the impact her grandfather had on the others. There was no question in her mind that this was what she was meant to do. Ms. Gucciardo decided to pursue her passion at Michigan State University and at the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, which propelled her to her first role, intern at the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, in 1991. She quickly garnered a reputation for her compassion and zeal, and was promoted to assistant prosecuting attorney at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office in 1993. Ms. Gucciardo spent five years in the

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PAMELA J. KRUSE

Always interested in being in business for herself, Pamela J. Kruse is thrilled with the continued success of Village Bike Shops. She got into the niche because of her husband, who owned a couple of bike shops in town. When they married, they formed a partnership that brought her into the fold. Now, each of them runs and manages a couple of the stores under their umbrella. Ms. Kruse loves the excitement people have when they come in; physical fitness has always been a big part of her life and seeing that same passion reflected in others makes her happy. Looking to the future, she hopes to be remembered for her honesty and for putting her clients first. Prior to

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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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