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PROFESSIONAL BIO | GET TO KNOW KATIE

OVERVIEW

Katie focuses on estate planning and litigation. She also has experience in estate administration, contract law, real estate and family law, among other practice areas. She is fluent in conversational and written Spanish.

Before working at HPS, Katie served as a private practice attorney and advised clients in matters of contract law, wills and estates, tax law, family law and employment law. She provided individuals and small businesses with legal advice, negotiation assistance and representation in litigation, and also assisted fellow attorneys with appellate advocacy and brief writing, including appearing before the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Katie is a native of East Tennessee, hailing from Oak Ridge. She completed her undergraduate studies at The University of North Carolina, where she graduated with honors.

Katie earned her J.D. at The University of Tennessee College of Law. During law school, she received special orders from the IRS to represent clients in administrative hearings and litigation. She was also licensed as a student attorney by the TN Supreme Court to handle other types of cases. She also represented clients in the domestic violence clinic and the education law practicum.

Over the course of 10 years, Katie served The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands as a volunteer, law clerk, and attorney.

The American Bar Association Section of Taxation profiled Katie in 2012. Read the piece here.

When Katie is not at the office, she volunteers with community organizations and enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

I decided to become a lawyer to help people. I started volunteering for Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands when I was in high school and saw how first-hand how attorneys can make a difference.

What attracted you to litigation?

I enjoy the challenge of preparing for complex litigation. I also enjoy writing, which is a significant part of successful litigation.

Of all the cases you’ve worked on, do you have one that stands out the most that you have permission to share?

I have found that the most rewarding cases aren’t always the ones in which large sums are involved. I had a client who is terminally ill. She lives on about $600 per month. The IRS was levying 15% of that amount. Because of that levy, she was not able to pay for medication she needed and was running out of food each month. She was paying her rent and barely scraping by. I was able to stop the levy and get some payments refunded. When I told her she would get a refund, she broke down crying. She said she had not been able to sleep because she was so worried about how she was going to stretch her food budget. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it really had a positive impact.

How would you describe yourself both personally and professionally?

I am hard working and committed to causes I care about. I bring that same commitment to work on behalf of my clients.

What do you love about your career?

I enjoy both planning and litigation and do both types of work. I am hard-working and enjoy the challenge of sorting through complex legal problems and finding solutions to them. I love that my work is varied and interesting. I get to use the law to help make my clients’ lives better.

Who was the biggest influence in your career?

At the beginning of my career, the biggest influences were the attorneys at Legal Aid who showed me how their work can make a difference.

What is something that you are really proud of, and why?

Professionally, I’m proud of my accomplishments and love the feeling of pride I get every time I finish a type of project that is new to me. Personally, I have a sense of pride when I try new things or reach the end of a particularly strenuous hike.

What are the goals you are still working to achieve?

I have travelled to more than 2 dozen countries and would like to double that number.

What are your main interests, hobbies or passions outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling. I have a husband, Terry, and three cats, Reno, Geiger and Khaleesi.

Is there something you wish you could do over again?

I have learned from everything I have done, so I’m not sure I would have the same perspective if I went back and did things over.

When people look back at your life, how do you want to be remembered?

That is a hard question. Of course, I want to be remembered as a good attorney and a good person. More specifically, I want to be remembered as someone who helped other people make their lives better.

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