Trusts and Estates

Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly 2023, VOLUME 29, ISSUE 2

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR

Written by Mary K. deLeo, Esq.*

As Chair of TEXCOM, I often get asked why I chose to serve on TEXCOM and why I chose to throw my hat in the ring for election as Chair. After all, it is a big commitment – TEXCOM members serve six year terms, followed by an additional five years if one is elected Chair. Arguably, eleven years is a long time. Many (most?) Hollywood marriages don’t last even half as long.

And, of course, TEXCOM work is in addition to my normal workload as a Trusts and Estates attorney, so it just adds to the juggling game that we busy attorneys engage in (and who isn’t busy these days?). It’s certainly not for the pay – which is zero – or for the glamour (although for us law nerds, it is fun to be privy to the inner workings of the legislative process). So why do I, and all the chairs and TEXCOM members that have come before, do it? Simply put, serving on TEXCOM, and especially serving as Chair, is one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life.

When I first joined TEXCOM eight years ago, I sat through my first meetings amazed at the vast legal knowledge and experience exhibited by my thirty-five fellow TEXCOM members, many of whom had well-deserved state-wide reputations for being the best of the best. For all of that year, and the ones that followed, I learned so much from my TEXCOM colleagues and became an immensely better lawyer because of it. Through TEXCOM, I have formed friendships and relationships with venerated Trusts & Estates counsel throughout the state and expanded both my professional and social network. I have worked on projects to shape and frame California law (such as a revamp of the care custodian statutes) in a direct hands-on manner that opened up my eyes to the difficulty of crafting unambiguous, loop-hole proof legislation. (Trust me, you never develop such a deep understanding for how imprecise the English language can be until you try to draft a statute that no one can ever deem vague). I’ve helped co-edit and publish a journal (the Trusts and Estate Quarterly), learning not only about substantive topics but also about the ins-and-outs of publishing a periodical, and have participated in calls and Zooms with stakeholders, including Legislative staff members, discussing the finer nuances of the laws that shape our practice area. All of these experiences, none of which would have come my way absent TEXCOM, have added to the richness of being a lawyer.

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