Black History Month Interview with WLALA Board Member
Charlene L. Usher, Esq.
By WLALA law student member Joanna Calderon
Charlene Usher, Esq., established Usher Law Group in 2001 and specializes primarily in Estate Planning, Trust Administration and Probate Law. Ms. Usher attended law school at University of California, Hastings College of Law, in San Francisco. One of her most memorable experiences at UC Hastings was participating in their Study Abroad Program in Rome, Italy. There, watching older couples hold hands, and make time for each other reinforced the idea of cultivating a work-life balance.
At UC Hastings she participated in the Black Law Students Association regionally and nationally. Law school happened organically for Ms. Usher as she knew she wanted a professional career and after enjoying pre-law classes at Cal Poly Pomona, the ultimate push was the range of career possibilities available to those with a law degree.
Ms. Usher received her Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration with a major of Finance, Real Estate & Law from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. There, she participated in leadership roles in the United Business Student Center, the Black Student Union and the Finance Society. She continues to support the community at Cal Poly Pomona, having recently been a panelist for an alumni event featuring Entrepreneurship.
A few pieces of advice she would like to give young women today is “To believe in yourself”, “Be Open to Opportunity“ and “Make it Happen.” She stresses the importance of networking, and taking time to know your colleagues.
She says not to write off something until you know enough information to make a reasonable and good decision. This wisdom has served her well, by not forgoing Estate Planning after taking Wills & Trust in Law School. She finds her work fascinating because there’s so much to it. She says, “everyone’s plan is different in some way”, and she enjoys being involved by listening to client’s goals, desires and family situations. She empathizes with the hard work people have exerted to have their possessions and is fulfilled by knowing her work makes a difference for subsequent generations. Her practice is highly referral based and set apart by the amount of time her office spends educating clients about what Estate Planning really means, and how it can apply to their life and family.
Attorney Usher says the sign of a good lawyer is that they are always in learning mode. She is a member of Wealth Counsel, a national network of estate planning attorneys, that constantly looks for content on best practices & updates in the law. Ultimately, she believes staying on the cutting edge of the latest techniques and strategies in your practice area make you value added to your clients and enhances your reputation in the industry.
Finally, she reminds us that taking a break when you need to is more than OK. Her favorite way to avoid burnout is to unplug and spend time with her daughter. She says taking a break from your career to be with your kids, will not be the end of your life or your career. You can always come back to your career, but being present in your children’s lives when they are young and need you is priceless.