Take one day at a time and trust yourself to make the right decisions in the moment

A Conversation On Lessons Learned & Life In The Law With Francesca Boyd

Attorney Francesca Boyd works in our Trusts & Estates practice group out of our Oakland office where she advises clients in all areas of estate planning, estate administrative law, wealth management, and wealth transfer planning. She has experience in drafting complex wills and trust agreements, probating estates, administering trusts, analyzing estate and gift taxation matters, and advising fiduciaries and beneficiaries.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with Francesca about lessons learned and her life in the legal profession.

Fennemore Wendel is in the house, and we’re happy to be in the East Bay at our new Oakland, CA office! In this week’s leadership profile, we turn the spotlight on attorney Francesca K. Boyd. How are things going during this transition period? And what is your vision for the future as Fennemore Wendel continues to grow?

So far so good! This last weekend all our California attorneys met in person, and I can report that connecting with my new partners has been the easiest, and most enjoyable, part of the transition.

I envision the next few years bringing countless opportunities for our practices and our clients to benefit from our combined and expanded expertise.

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on in the trusts & estates and tax law sectors? Are you seeing lots of Baby Boomer activity? (Some analysts are calling the impending financial actions “the greatest wealth transfer in modern history”).

Baby boomers have been incredible entrepreneurs. One of the benefits of practicing in California is the diversity of our client base – families with long standing west coast histories to families who immigrated to the US – and have in many cases established innovative and successful empires within one generation. I love learning the ins and outs of their businesses and designing a succession plan customized for their own unique business and family dynamic.

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at the University of San Francisco, School of Law (especially women) now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

I remember when I was involved in the Women’s Law Association at USF I felt overwhelmed by the challenges of practicing law and having a family. Ultimately, I manage to balance work and family, as do so many of my peers, both men and women. I’d assure my younger self that whereas life can be complicated, one doesn’t need to take it all on in advance. Take one day at a time and trust yourself to make the right decisions in the moment.

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

My dad. He would say he most values intelligence, loyalty and work ethic, but I can tell you that kindness and (an often inappropriate) sense of humor also rank high. He was a CPA and a tax attorney, so whereas he clearly had an influence on my career path, it was the strength of his relationships with his family, friends, co-workers and clients that made the strongest impression.

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

Change and uncertainty is always difficult for me. And I’ve had plenty of both in my life. Life is messy. I’ve found the best path forward for me is to embrace hard times with acceptance, compassion for myself and others, and then, for good measure, a plan. A spreadsheet always makes me feel better.

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

Best:  “The best referral source is doing good work.”

Worst: “Never apologize.”

What are you currently listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

My kids try to keep me current musically, but I’m fairly stuck in the 1970s. Fleetwood Mac is on heavy rotation.

My most recent TV binge was The Bear on Hulu. The characters strike the relatable balance of being both complicated and endearing – I highly recommend.

Last, but not least, you’re hosting a lavish dinner party at your home. Name the three people – from any time in human history – who you’d invite.

It’s a ladies night! Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tina Turner and Julia Child – I’m not cooking.

Many thanks to Francesca for your astute insights and words of wisdom!

And if you’re a Boomer entrepreneur of business person in need of a thoughtful and strategic succession plan, please click here to learn more about partnering with our Trusts & Estates team: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/services/practices/trusts-estates/