Attorney Profiles

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Kelley James, SBN 239120

The Early Years

I was born in Portage, Indiana then raised in San Luis Obispo, California.  Although these places are separated by thousands of miles, they have one thing in common, they are both small towns.  Growing up in a small town taught me something I treasure…the joy of being happy and excited about simple things.  A beautiful day is an inspiration to be outside, smile, engage in life and be genuinely happy.  For me, family and friends have been and always will be of utmost importance.  Growing up with the support of these individuals has been incredibly valuable.

Education/Professional Career

For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for arguing coupled with a desire to help people.  This combination can be limiting for career choices; however, becoming an attorney married these two important strengths quite nicely.

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Upon graduation, I sought out a law school which would provide me education in both of my areas of passion, law and the desire to help the unfortunate.  I chose a dual degree program obtaining both my Juris Doctorate of Law from California Western School of Law with an emphasis in Child, Family, and Elder Law; and a Master of Social Work from San Diego State University with a published Thesis. The dual degree program provided me with a strong legal education and a clear understanding of the importance of human interactions. It also afforded me the opportunity to participate in internships and voluntary positions at some of the most amazing organizations in San Diego County including: San Diego Office of the Public Defender, San Diego County Health and Human Services Child Protective Services, Voices for Children, Homeless Court, Stand Down, Center for Community Solutions, and the San Diego Family Justice Center.  My education and experience only reaffirmed my desire to continue to work with families and other vulnerable populations.

My work as a Court Appointed Juvenile Dependency Attorney began in 2006. Juvenile Dependency cases involve allegations of child abuse or neglect and in many cases the child has been removed from their parents care. I remained a Court Appointed Juvenile Dependency Attorney until 2014 when I made the decision to go into private practice.  I have provided legal representation of parents accused of abusing their child(ren), and also for the non-offending or less offending parent. I have handled thousands of dependency cases and covered every type of child abuse. Working in this area for such a significant period is difficult; however, I love it and am grateful for the rewards of such meaningful work.  I will always zealously advocate for each of my clients to obtain positive results.  It is my goal to make sure children are in the homes of loving families where they will continue to be protected and flourish.

In my private practice, I have been able to expand into other areas of the law which allows me to reach and help more families.  I realized while working with clients in estate planning that everyone knows they need to have a plan but because it is a difficult and uncomfortable subject, many avoid it.  None of us want to consider our demise or how the people we care most about will deal with that loss or our decisions regarding our estates.  That being said, we all want to assure that our loved ones will be protected after we are gone.  The simplest way to do that is to have an estate plan.  It is my goal to make your estate planning easy and simple. Estate planning is not something only for the elderly. It is something that everyone should have in place particularly if you have children or own real estate.  I have assisted clients with small to huge estates.  I listen and respect every client’s wishes and will make sure that your estate planning documents reflect those wishes.

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 I am not an overly mushy person but will admit that when I met my now husband Gabe, it was love at first site. Shortly after we began dating, Gabe, who was an infantry machine gunner in the United States Marine Corps, was deployed to Afghanistan.  He had previously completed two tours in Iraq during which time I was thankfully not involved.  Those months he was gone were the worst eight months of my life.  I had finally found the person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life and now I worried constantly that he wouldn’t return home.  A year and a few months after his return, we were married.  I lived the life of a military spouse and have a special place in my heart for those in the military and their families.

Three years to the day of our wedding, we were overjoyed to bring our baby boy into the world.  His birth truly made our family a family.  I have had many accomplishments in life, but my son is by far my best and I am so proud to be his mommy.

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So, here I am back in a small town, La Mesa. And although part of a large metropolitan area, it has the small town flavor I love and treasure.  It’s the simple things that make life so joyous.