Janice Lee Shen
Associate Attorney, Trust Administration, Probate and Estate Planning at CunninghamLegal, Certified Specialist – Estate, Trust, and Probate Law
Attorney Janice Lee Shen dedicates herself to helping clients overcome obstacles. Often when those clients have become the Trustees for the estate of loved ones, and sometimes because they have to head to probate court.
If you’ve never experienced probate, you might not be aware of what a challenging, emotionally taxing, complicated situation it can be. Having the right attorney at your side is crucial.
Janice grew up in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in History from UCLA, she attended the Western State University College of Law in Orange County, CA to receive her J.D. She also participated in the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law program in France. Before becoming a full-fledged attorney, she worked as a paralegal and notary public.
Importantly, she is Certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Specialization as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law—a rare distinction.
Janice tells us it was a trusted advisor who inspired her to pursue her dream of entering the law. Although the road was not without its struggles, “I was really encouraged by my long-term mentor,” she says. “They really pushed me to become an attorney, so I put myself through law school, which was really challenging, but I’m glad that I did because now I have the privilege of doing what I love!”
After graduating, Janice worked in Estate Planning, Trust Administration, and Probate Law for a few years in other firms before finding her home at CunninghamLegal.
Leading the Way
As we mentioned, some of the key work Janice does at CunninghamLegal is representing clients in the probate process—when that process cannot be avoided. “It’s so important to have someone to shepherd you through the process of probate,” she says. “I want to be the person my clients can count on when they’re going through it—whether that means answering legal questions or understanding their family dynamics.”
I want to be the person my clients can count on when they’re going through it—whether that means answering legal questions or understanding their family dynamics.
She tells the story of some young clients who had lost their mother very suddenly. “There was no living trust and I represented them through the probate court process,” she recounts. “They told me later that I was able to make the overwhelmingly emotional process much easier for them and that they really appreciated my responsiveness via constant texting and calling. They made a point of telling me the whole experience was much less painful because of what I was able to do for them.”
Stepping Up During the Pandemic
At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, Janice was inundated with calls and emails from clients who were concerned about their aging family members. “I also received a lot of calls from clients concerned about their spouse or their loved ones, because they’re in the health care industry,” she remembers. “Or they were really concerned about young children and what would happen in the event of a crisis. Meaning, if something were to happen to the parents.”
She pitched in on the CunninghamLegal educational effort to answer all their questions quickly and accurately. For her panicked clients, it has been a true lifeline. “I really wanted to ease their fears and let them know we were here for them,” she says. “It’s a great feeling to know I’m making a difficult situation just a little easier.”
In addition to working full time, volunteering is a big part of Janice’s life. Fluent in Korean, she is very active in the Korean community of Los Angeles, offering her time to the Korean American Bar Association (KABA), “A pro-bono organization of attorneys and law students promoting excellence in the practice of law and providing direct support for the underserved Los Angeles community-at-large.”
An Old School Advocate
Conduct even a short conversation with Janice, and you’ll discover that aside from her passion for the law, her desire to be a champion for her clients is reminiscent of “old school” attorneys—who really entered the field for the right reasons. “There was a time when society really trusted attorneys and believed them to be advocates,” she remarks. “I want to advocate for people, and my passion is helping trustees who are administering the trust or estate for someone else.”
There was a time when society really trusted attorneys and believed them to be advocates. I want to advocate for people.
It’s really Janice’s ability to put herself in her clients’ shoes that makes her into a remarkable attorney. “I’m married with three children and I have aging parents,” she says. “My husband and I are doing the best we can. [During the pandemic] I know it’s a struggle for people, and I can relate to the phone calls I’m receiving. I’m in the ‘sandwich generation’ myself and it can be very hard.”
On the Personal Side
With three young children (including a set of twins!), Janice certainly has her hands full when she’s off work. “I have three wonderful children who really love to wake me up early in the morning!” Her favorite local restaurant? Sol y Luna, where the guacamole is made right at the table, is a family favorite.
Contact Janice & CunninghamLegal Today
Janice Lee Shen and our full team of attorneys can help you with advanced Estate & Tax Planning from any of our offices throughout Northern and Southern California. We offer in-person, phone, and Zoom appointments. Request an appointment online or call (866) 988-3956.
At CunninghamLegal, we guide savvy, caring families in the protection and transfer of multi-generational wealth.