Seniors and those with diminished capacity are always at an elevated risk of falling victim to financial abuse. The problem has been heightened during the recent pandemic, but navigating and helping such clients in litigation with personal one-on-one communication is Amy Martinez – Senior Attorney of RMO LLP.
As a senior attorney and leader in the Orange County market, Amy is responsible for developing relationships, supporting the local community, and mentoring and coordinating with team and client satisfaction initiatives. She has been working for more than a decade now and understands the emotional & financial quarreling clients go through in corporate, business, and probate litigation. She strives to present her experience to maximize and secure economically favorable results for the clients.
“Our vision for the next 5 years at RMO is to continue to grow into areas where our client-first service model can provide value to people in need of probate and trust estate dispute legal services.”
An Empathetic Attorney
Throughout her tenure, Amy had to come across various hurdles. For her, understanding that clients are often acting and speaking out of emotion, and trying to get them past the emotion so they can ultimately make wise decisions, was a challenge at the beginning of her career. Early on, she also worked tirelessly to build rapport and confidence with clients, especially those who were much older than she was as a young attorney. Additionally, ever-changing laws, rules, and regulations were also there.
In the workplace, Amy made it a priority to create an entrepreneurial mindset to network and grow the business. She says, “It can be hard to find your place or maintain confidence as a woman in a male-dominated field. I learned early on to stop the mental anguish of comparing myself to more experienced attorneys, which can only lead to frustration and self-doubt.”
Amy realized a long time ago that her skills are unique and comparing herself to other attorneys provides no value. For example, an attorney may be very aggressive or have some other trait that Amy doesn’t possess, but she has the ability to engage with people on a very human and compassionate level and her clients know she cares about them as people and not just as clients. Amy also tries to acknowledge opposing counsel as individuals she can learn from, and not just as an adversary. That makes the litigation process more enjoyable for her. She tries to make friends instead of enemies because if everyone continues to battle, the clients will never win.
Amy is of the opinion that law firms have to understand that AI and the use of non-lawyers to perform legal tasks will soon disrupt the need for so many lawyers. Drafting documents and conducting legal research, tasks often performed by junior associates, will soon all be performed by either AI tools or services such as Legal Zoom. Firms that do not embrace technology might become extinct, and certainly, firms that do not train their attorneys to negotiate and advocate (tasks that cannot be performed by AI or non-attorneys) will surely suffer a similar demise.
Response to Pandemic
Talking about the pandemic, Amy mentions that working in a service industry, RMO could have struggled greatly during the pandemic. Instead, the company swiftly altered the way business is done by transitioning everyone to work from home and continuing to maintain high levels of communication with clients. It also relied heavily on networking and creating/maintaining relationships with key business partners. RMO overcame this challenge because its attorneys are passionate about protecting their clients, especially elderly clients who were forced into seclusion during the pandemic. The company also focused on bolstering the relationships between those who work at RMO and ensuring the mental health of the employees remains a top priority.
Giving Back to the Community
Helping and giving back is at the core of RMO. Amy became an adjunct professor at Chapman University School of Law because she loves supporting students working towards a career in the legal field. She tries to be extremely patient and approachable with them because she wants them to fully understand what they are learning and not be afraid to ask questions. During every class, Amy emphasizes the attorneys’ ethical duties because the biggest mistake an attorney can make is undermining their role as a fiduciary. “Once you’ve lost your credibility, you might never gain it back,” advises Amy.
Strategic Growth Mindset
Amy states that her parents always had this growth mindset. If Amy, or one of her siblings, had an idea, her parents would say, “Go for it.” There were no limitations, and nothing would hold them back. If they wanted something, they should “go for it.” “Knowing that nothing can hold you back makes you realize that what some people consider a ‘failure’ is merely a minor delay or bump in the road. Even when I experience a failure, I know that doesn’t mean I am a failure, it just means I have to take a detour on my road to success.” Amy tries to engrain the same mindset in her son so he is not paralyzed by fear when trying new things or afraid to take a risk. She knows if it doesn’t work out, the next adventure is right around the corner and he certainly will have learned a lot along the way.
In her advice to upcoming businesswomen, Amy says, “Be a woman who supports other women; acknowledge their successes, congratulate them on wins. Also, don’t let your ego make decisions for you. If you live by your ego, you will never be living your true passion. Don’t focus on salary, titles, or prestige, but instead, focus on what’s truly important to you. Make a list of non-negotiables for your life and never settle for anything less because you deserve it all.”