Mary Ellen received her JD degree from American University where she graduated cum laude.
At law school Mary Ellen was an Editor of the Law Review. She was a recipient of the Betty Southward Academic Scholarship Award and she currently acts as a mentor to law students through the Alumni Association. Mary Ellen received an MA degree in International Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she graduated magna cum laude.
During law school, Mary Ellen interned at the US Department of Justice, Civil Division in the Aviation and Admiralty Division. Following law school, Mary Ellen was a law clerk at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and thereafter, she served as Counsel in the General Counsel’s Office of Ernst & Young LLP (EY), in Washington, DC, where she argued and drafted appellate briefs before federal and state courts throughout the United States. Following her work at Shaw Pittman, Mary Ellen joined a boutique estate planning law firm in Fairfax, Virginia where she practiced estate planning and trust administration.
Thereafter, Mary Ellen opened her own firm and concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, trust and estate administration, elder law, special needs trusts, premarital agreements and business planning.
Prior to attending law school, Mary Ellen was an English teacher at the American School of São Paulo, Brazil. While living in Brazil she learned Portuguese and published an article in International Quarterly Magazine, located in Princeton, New Jersey, titled, “Writing and Rhetoric in English as a Second Language.”
As a former teacher, Mary Ellen strives to educate her clients about the estate planning process so that they understand the purpose and the dynamics of their estate plan. Mary Ellen often hears from her clients that the process was made easy and that they appreciate her explaining how their plan works.
Mary Ellen was named a “Top Attorney for Estate Planning” by Northern Virginia Magazine and a “Legal Elite Attorney for Trust/Estate/Elder Law” by Virginia Business Magazine. She gives seminars in the Washington, DC Metro area in estate and tax planning. You can visit her at www.LinkedIn.com to see referrals and additional information.
Mary Ellen lives in Bluemont, Virginia, and enjoys horses, gardening, the outdoors, and traveling. She has happily been a mentor to a young lady since 2005 through the non-profit organization, Loudoun Families for Children. She also sponsors a Brazilian teenage girl, who lives near Recife, Brazil, and attends the “Projeto Criança Feliz (the “Happy Child Project”) through the non-profit organization, Compassion International.