Member Spotlight

Annika Mitchell

// Mitchell Law Firm, LLC

Description of your practice:
An intentionally-small law firm, we focus on two practice areas:  estate planning for individuals, families, and business owners and probate matters with uncontested estates.  Most of our estate planning clients are well under the estate tax threshold, but that’s often when careful planning becomes even more important – to be able to preserve as much of the estate as possible.  With our probate clients, we never lose sight of the fact that we are being engaged following the death of a loved one.  In either case, we recognize that it’s not easy to think about one’s own demise or to deal with red tape while grieving, so we work hard to make sure the process is as simple and straightforward as possible for the clients.

Why are you a member of the WBAI?
I love the mission of the WBAI – supporting women lawyers, encouraging friendship amongst members, assisting in legislation and the administration of justice, and protecting women’s interests and rights.  It’s a perfect blend of my professional and personal interests.  And, there are so many ways to become involved and get to know other attorneys.  I serve on the Newsletter Committee, so I pay close attention to the accomplishments of our members.  It’s inspirational to learn about the challenges, successes, and achievements of other women attorneys.

What do you think is the best way to empower women in law? 
For me, the journey to empowerment began when I realized that my non-traditional approach to becoming a lawyer was not a disadvantage.  Because I went to law school part-time, supporting myself by working full-time in corporate communications, I wasn’t able to clerk or shadow attorneys in their day-to-day environment.  I always felt like I was lacking a critical component of “lawyer training”.  It took a few years, along with some helpful feedback from other attorneys, but I discovered that my non-traditional path from high school English teacher to writer/editor to lawyer was advantageous.  My secondary education training provided me with skills to teach complex concepts in a meaningful way.  My career in communications had given me a leg up with drafting and writing in plain English.  And my corporate background gave me all sorts of tools to help structure and enhance my law firm, such as project plans, process documents, RACI charts, and customer satisfaction standards.

Over the years, I’ve met so many women attorneys who also have had a non-traditional path, whether it’s a shift in career choice or a change of personal priorities.  So I think empowering women in law is twofold:  an acceptance of the non-traditional within the workplace (whether prior work experiences or current law firm policies, such as remote working, flextime, job sharing) and a solid inner belief that non-traditional just means different, not less than.

What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally ?
As I’m sure many of us are, I am looking forward to a return to the social aspects of our pre-Covid lives.  But, I am interested in seeing how much of the Covid precautions are here to stay.

Tell us something interesting about you.
I love road trips and American history.  Last Spring, my kids and I packed up the car and drove to Mount Rushmore.  It was breathtaking!  We stopped at state capitol buildings along the way and collected stamps for our capitol passport book.  (Only 44 more!)  We also traced some Mitchell Family history and, using old phone books, located my great-grandfather’s farmhouse in Huron, South Dakota, and discovered my grandmother played high school basketball.  Go Wolsey Warbirds!

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