This month, we are delighted to spotlight Arlene Segal. Our readers know Arlene as one of the County’s eminent elder law attorneys, whose volunteer efforts include many years on the Contra Costa Lawyer editorial board and as the active Chair of the Elder Law Section. She is also a member of several other sections, as well as a regular panelist in presentations focusing on legal issues faced by elders.
Arlene was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey. She completed her undergraduate degree at Douglass College at Rutgers University (graduating Phi Beta Kappa with honors in Political Science and University Honors). She then attended Stanford University and obtained a Masters in Political Science (in 1966) and a Masters in Education (in 1967). Arlene then taught high school in several northern, and, southern California districts (due to her husband being stationed at Long Beach Naval Hospital). However, she “retired” from teaching after having her first child, a daughter. After her son was born and started Kindergarten, Arlene entered Law School at the University of Santa Clara. She finished law school in 1984, ranking first in her part-time class.
Arlene’s legal career started as an Associate at the firm of Trembath, McCabe, Schwartz, Evans & Levy. She became a Partner there when Judge Trembath was elevated to the bench of Contra Costa County. In 1996, Arlene moved her practice when she associated with the firm Lipton, Warnlof & Segal. Thereafter, she went out on her own, handling real estate litigation, trusts and estate disputes, financial abuse of elders and mediation.
But with Arlene, there is more: For the past several years, she has contributed her time and talents by serving on the Board of Directors of The Law Center (whose mission it is to increase access to justice by connecting those who cannot afford legal services with agencies or Pro Bono representation by one or more of its Panel Attorneys). Within her work for The Law Center, she is one of the individuals who has helped ensure the continued existence of the Elder Law Clinic (now, the Elder Law Center, “ELC”); and, she was instrumental in obtaining ELC funding from, among other sources, The Rossmoor Fund.
With Arlene, there is much, much more. She credits her husband and children and finds her most cherished time spent with family, having 2 grandchildren in the area. She and her husband, Dr. Josef (“Jerry”) Segal, have been married for over 43 years. Together enjoy travelling.
Arlene and Jerry’s children have combined their parents’ professions: their daughter is a paralegal in the area of medical malpractice and their son is an attorney who works primarily with pharmaceutical and medical device clients.
What struck us most is that Arlene is not only an attorney who sets “best practices” in her practice: she is also one of those (perhaps regrettably few) attorneys who has much more in her life than her law practice. By way of example, over the past years, Arlene has cultivated a keen interest in cooking and baking. She enjoys sewing and knitting – when she finds the time – and her current interests include learning golf and Spanish. She also reports that she is currently “relearning math” alongside her 7th grade granddaughter. Lastly, let us not forget, she recently began cultivating Irises – and anything else the deer won’t eat. Amidst all this activity, she is still making plans for her future and perhaps even her next career: Arlene wants to find a way to use her background in the field of education in new and exciting ways.
Arlene: you inspire us. You are another great example of how lawyers can make widespread contributions to their profession, assist in the lives and legal struggles of their clients and even help those we have never met—while still living a life with many interests, hobbies and other endeavors.
– For those who have not yet made their own pro-bono commitment for 2011, there are many ways in which attorneys can assist indigent parties, assist the court in processing its cases and increase access to justice. For further information on how you can become involved, please contact Craig Nevin at cnevin@LawNRS.com.
Filed Under: Pro Bono