How Michelle Helps Clients
Michelle is an associate in the Wealth & Succession Planning Group. Michelle concentrates her practice on estate planning and probate litigation. Michelle’s estate planning practice primarily focuses on counseling high net worth families on sophisticated planning to transfer wealth and legacy, often in connection with closely held businesses or other valued assets. She prepares a wide range of estate and tax planning documents, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives. She also helps clients navigate the administration and potential modification of trusts.
Prior to joining Buchanan, Michelle was a litigator at a nationally recognized litigation firm in D.C. where she represented clients in a broad range of complex civil and commercial litigation matters, with emphasis in the areas of high-stakes multidistrict product liability cases, trade secret matters, and employment disputes in the energy industry. Her trial experience includes the successful representation of both defendants and plaintiffs in federal and state court jury trials. Michelle’s roots in litigation shape her estate planning and can be credited for her distinctive wholistic approach to drafting that includes identifying and mitigating potential disconnects, ambiguities, and other pitfalls that may run the risk of discord if not clarified or corrected. Michelle also contributes to trust and probate litigation spearheaded by litigators at Buchanan, assisting in the firm’s representation of clients in will and trust contests, disputes concerning the obligations of fiduciaries such as trustees and executors, and the interpretation of testamentary instruments.
What Clients Can Expect
Michelle comes from a family of estate planning attorneys (and farmers) in Texas. After litigating for a number of years, Michelle came back home to the practice she has always felt connected to and passionate about. Her approach to estate planning is marked by that passion, a warm demeanor, a sincere interest in her clients and dedication to achieving their planning objectives, and a unique perspective identifying issues that may risk litigation or other discontent down the road.
Planning for wealth transfer and succession can be a strategically complex and deeply personal endeavor. I know not everyone enjoys estate planning and tax code topics as much as I do, so my goal is to make the planning process for clients enjoyable, distilled, authentic to their family needs, and most of all something they feel confident about.
Outside the Office
In her personal time, Michelle enjoys playing tennis, skiing, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. Michelle and her husband recently moved out of the city and into a home down a dirt road in Northern Virginia, so they’re getting acquainted with the hobbies of horses and wine. Both hope to get to use their private pilot’s license a bit more.
In addition to estate planning, Michelle is very passionate about asylum work. She has successfully represented a number of women in asylum proceedings before the Asylum Office and Immigration Courts. Through that work, her case established new law in the Immigration Courts, making clearer the standards to qualify for asylum and limiting application of certain bars to asylum where the persecution endured would function as the bar to asylum.
University of Texas School of Law, JD, with honors
University of Texas, B.A., Economics, with honors
University of Texas, B.B.A., Finance
Georgetown University, Estate Planning Certificate Program, Expected graduation spring 2025
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit