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Kelley Anne James

Estate planning Attorney at La Mesa, CA

5.0   11 reviews

About Kelley

Learn Kelley’s areas of practice.

5
Practice areas
  1. Estate planning
    40%
    Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person's life while eliminating uncertainties over the administration and reducing taxes and other expenses. The ultimate goal of estate planning is to meet the specific and unique goals of each client. We handle all areas of estate planning including: Trusts (Revocable, Non Revocable, Pet, Special Needs), Wills, LGBT Planning, Advanced Directives, Powers of Atty, and Conservatorships.

    7 years

  2. Child abuse
    30%
    Dependency law involves allegations of abuse or neglect on a minor. Many times, children are immediately removed from their parents and placed in protective custody during an investigation. A court decides whether the child can return home within an 18 month period or parental rights could be terminated. We can assist parents in fighting their case. Additionally, we can represent family members trying to obtain custody of the juveniles or foster/defacto parents trying to maintain custody.

    7 years

  3. Power of attorney
    10%
    A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place. We can help you with financial powers of attorney or medical powers of attorney. We can also assist you with filing for Conservatorship of the person and Advanced Health Care Directives.

    7 years

  4. Trusts
    10%
    A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. We can assist you with a variety of trusts including: Revocable, Non Revocable, Pet, Special Needs. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries. We can tailor a plan to fit your needs.

    7 years

  5. Wills and living wills
    10%
    A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property at death. We can assist you will preparation of your will or go over alternative options if better suited for you.

    7 years

The Early Years

 

 

I was born in Portage, Indiana then raised in San Luis Obispo, California.  Although these places are separated by thousands of miles, they have one thing in common, they are both small towns.  Growing up in a small town taught me something I treasure…the joy of being happy and excited about simple things.  A beautiful day is an inspiration to be outside, smile, engage in life and be genuinely happy.  For me, family and friends have been and always will be of utmost importance.  Growing up with the support of these individuals has been incredibly valuable.    

 

Education/Professional Career

 

For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for arguing coupled with a desire to help people.  This combination can be limiting for career choices; however, becoming an attorney married these two important strengths quite nicely I believe. 

 

 

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Upon graduation, I sought out a law school which would provide me education in both of my areas of passion, law and the desire to help the unfortunate.  I chose a dual degree program obtaining both my Juris Doctorate of Law from California Western School of Law with an emphasis in Child, Family, and Elder Law; and a Master of Social Work from San DiegoStateUniversity with a published Thesis. The dual degree program provided me with a strong legal education and a clear understanding of the importance of human interactions. It also afforded me the opportunity to participate in internships and voluntary positions at some of the most amazing organizations in San Diego County including: San Diego Office of the Public Defender, San Diego County Health and Human Services Child Protective Services, Voices for Children, Homeless Court, Stand Down, Center for Community Solutions, and the San Diego Family Justice Center.  My education and experience only reaffirmed my desire to continue to work with families and other vulnerable populations. 

 

My work as a Court Appointed Juvenile Dependency Attorney began in 2006. Juvenile Dependency cases involve allegations of child abuse or neglect and in many cases the child has been removed from their parents care.I remained a Court Appointed Juvenile Dependency Attorney until 2014 when I made the decision to go into private practice.  I have provided legal representation of parents accused of abusing their child(ren), and also for the non-offending or less offending parent. I have handled thousands of dependency cases and covered every type of child abuse. Working in this area for such a significant period is difficult; however, I love it and am grateful for the rewards of such meaningful work.  I will always zealously advocate for each of my clients to obtain positive results.  It is my goal to make sure children are in the homes of loving families where they will continue to be protected and flourish. 

 

In my private practice, I have been able to expand into other areas of the law which allows me to reach and help more families.  I realized while working with clients in estate planning that everyone knows they need to have a plan but because it is a difficult and uncomfortable subject, many avoid it.  None of us want to consider our demise or how the people we care most about will deal with that loss or our decisions regarding our estates.  That being said, we all want to assure that our loved ones will be protected after we are gone.  The simplest way to do that is to have an estate plan.  It is my goal to make your estate planning easy and simple. Estate planning is not something only for the elderly. It is something that everyone should have in place particularly if you have children or own real estate.  I have assisted clients with small to huge estates.  I listen and respect every client’s wishes and will make sure that your estate planning documents reflect those wishes.

 

Personal

 

I am not an overly mushy person but will admit that when I met my now husband Gabe, it was love at first site. Shortly after we began dating, Gabe, who was an infantry machine gunner in the United States Marine Corps, was deployed to Afghanistan.  He had previously completed two tours in Iraq during which time I was thankfully not involved.  Those months he was gone were the worst eight months of my life.  I had finally found the person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life and now I worried constantly that he wouldn’t return home.  A year and a few months after his return, we were married.  I lived the life of a military spouse and have a special place in my heart for those in the military and their families.

 

Three years to the day of our wedding, we were overjoyed to bring our baby boy into the world.  His birth truly made our family a family.  I have had many accomplishments in life, but my son is by far my best and I am so proud to be his mommy. 

 

So, here I am back in a small town, La Mesa. And although part of a large metropolitan area, it has the small town flavor I love and treasure.  It’s the simple things that make life so joyous.

Licensed for 17 years
State CA
Status Active
Acquired 2005
Updated 09/07/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Kelley

Kelley Anne James
5360 Jackson Dr Ste 200
La Mesa, CA, 91942-6004

Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  11 customer reviews
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Posted by Justin | April 16, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A very reliable, trusting, and personable attorney ‼️y
Kelley James was able to provide peace of mind, encouragement, and relief while handling the MOST stressful situation of my life. Dealing with CPS is already difficult, but handling a CACI case proves this law office can handle any situation. I had no idea the severity of a CACI finding from CPS. These findings are extremely serious and can affect your life dramatically, yet not everyone fights the findings. After learning about the case and having to find representation for this issue is where I learned that these findings are detrimental to anyone dealing with CPS allegations in their life. James legal group specialty is: Estate Planning and Dependency Law. Given this was a complex case, the representation from James Legal Group, was astounding at accomplishing the task at hand with limited resources. A service that cannot be compared‼️
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Posted by anonymous | September 20, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Attorney Kelley James is THE BEST!
We contacted and checked out other law firms that does Estate Planning but none of them gave personal service and they cost more. Attorney Kelley James was kind, direct, understanding, and we can't thank her enough for all she's done. We highly recommend asking questions and comparing her with other attorneys so you can see the difference and if you value personal service and want the one that understands your needs and can answer as many questions as you may have, then you will likely choose James Legal Group. We are so happy we did!
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Posted by mo | June 28, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Powerhouse in the Courtroom
Kelley represented my fiancé and I in a battle against the county for our two year old foster son. Kelley has a sharp legal mind and is a powerhouse in the courtroom. She fought tirelessly for us and we felt extremely comfortable and confident that we had her in our corner. She held our hands every step of the way and was very patient with my hundreds of emails with random questions during the process. She’s also known to the San Diego legal community as everyone that we spoke to in San Diego either knew her or knew of her. I’ve never met a more thoughtful and honest professional and while I hope that we never need to use her services again, she’ll be the first person we call for any legal matters.
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Posted by Donna | May 3, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Detention/Dependency Lawyer.....Ever!
Kelley James got results for our family. She gives your case the time and attention necessary. And most of all, she's knowledgeable. She's who you want on your side. She's who you want in that courtroom for you. I've worked in the system for over 25 years. She's one of the best dependency lawyers I've ever seen. Honest, ethical, and smart. I highly recommend her.
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Posted by Melissa | April 5, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Estate planning made easy
Kelley made the process very easy from start to finish. She was patient and answered every question I had. My husband was very skeptical and felt that a will and trust were unnecessary since we are young and in good health. At the signing, Kelley did a great job explaining each document and mixing in casual conversation. She really put my husband at ease and had him laughing by the end of the signing.
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Posted by Richard | June 1, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Estate-Planning Attorney
My wife and I recently wanted to set up a living trust but didn’t know whom to contact. The thought of setting up a trust along with an updated will, Powers of Attorney, and Advanced Health Care Directives was all very intimidating for us and we wanted to be sure that the attorney we selected was, above all else, someone easy to work with. After doing some online research we decided to “take a chance” with Kelley James. Having now gone through the entire trust process we feel extremely fortunate to have made that decision. Ms. James listened carefully to everything my wife and I had to say, she offered numerous suggestions when she felt they were needed, and she explained the entire living trust process in terms that my wife and I could clearly understand. Our feeling of being intimidated by this whole process dissolved immediately upon meeting her. Ms. James is a true professional in the work she performs for her clients. And her personable demeanor made it obvious to us from the beginning that we had picked someone who would be easy to work with. We are completely satisfied with all of the final documents she prepared for us and highly recommend her as an estate-planning attorney.
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Posted by Alexis | January 19, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Kelley James is the best out there!
We hired Ms. James for a dependency court matter. Dependency issues are very stressful, confusing and overwhelming. Ms. James was incredibly compassionate, thorough and comforting. She is incredibly intelligent and skilled with Dependency issues. Everyone likes Ms. James. She is a great person to be around, and to have on your side. Ms. James won the case that she represented us in, and she did it with the highest amount of skill and professionalism. I would absolutely recommend Ms. James to anyone for any legal area that she practices. She is helpful, personable, and as already stated, supernaturally smart. I always found her to be honest and straightforward. She is passionate about the work that she does. You will be very pleased if you hire this attorney, she is the best!
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Posted by Steve Mendenhall | December 7, 2015
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Family Trust Review
I just want to say that Kelley James was awesome. We had her review my parents trust and she found it to be OK. However, she passed on to us some fnatastic suggestions regarding the family trust and the estate. I'd recomend her to anyone needing this type of Attorney service
Posted by Connie | July 28, 2015
Above and Beyond
I fortunately found Kelley from an AVVO commercial. My current lawyer is no longer in the private sector, so I had to find new counsel. I had contacted many lawyers because I needed to make changes to my current will. Kelley was the only person that offered to take a look at my will to let me know if she can help me. It only took her a couple of days to get back to me and she said she was able to help me make the changes I needed. Kelley was very sensitive to my emotional needs. (my sister had passed away thus the updated will). She kept me up to date on all aspects and when noting hesitation in my voice she made sure I understood every aspect. The presentation of the will was a bonus. It is a very high quality binder and when I asked for two copies she gladly made them for me at no charge. Kelley thank you so much for your help.
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Posted by Eric | July 11, 2015
Great person to work with.
A friend recommended The James Legal Group so I followed their lead and after years of procrastination, the creation of my trust is finally complete. Kelley made it so easy because of her extensive knowledge and willingness to spend the time with me to answer all of my questions about estate planning. She laid out all of that legal jargon in laymen's terms so it was simple to understand. The process was so easy and the price very reasonable.
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Posted by Michael | June 12, 2015
Just Out Standing!!
If you are reading this and have the same overwhelming fears, doubts, etc as I did let me share this Ms. James will take charge and get the job done. In my dealing with Ms. James she was not only clear and honest but also respectful of my needs. At the time my career needed special attention. I needed to be confident my critical legal matter was in excellent hands. After two other attorneys I finally got exactly what I needed and wanted!
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Cost

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Contact for Details

Resume

AVVO RATING 9.2 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • James Legal Group, Inc.
  • 2015 - Present
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Coleman University
  • 2015 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Dependency Legal Group
  • 2010 - 2014
  • Adjunct Professor
  • California Western School Of Law
  • 2006 - 2014
  • Attorney
  • San Diego Alternate Public Defender
  • 2006 - 2010
  • Community Court Coordinator
  • Downtown San Diego Partnership
  • 2005 - 2006
View all work experience

Education

  • San Diego State University
  • MA - Masters
  • 2005
  • California Western School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2005
  • University of California - Santa Barbara
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 2001

Associations

  • American Sociological Association
  • Member
  • 2015 - Present
  • National Association of Professional Women
  • Member
  • 2015 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Awards

  • Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services
  • State Bar of California
  • 2005

Publications

  • San Diego State University
  • Evaluation of a San Diego Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Program: Does Court Mandated Counseling for Domestic Violence Offenders Reduce Recidivism?
  • 2005
  • San Diego State University
  • Evaluation of a San Diego Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Program: Does Court Mandated Counseling for Domestic Violence Offenders Reduce Recidivism?
  • 2005
  • San Diego State University
  • Evaluation of a San Diego Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Program: Does Court Mandated Counseling for Domestic Violence Offenders Reduce Recidivism?
  • 2005

Attorney endorsements

Received (10)
Given (1)
Child abuse Attorney | Apr 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Kelly truly cares about her clients. She works well with other attorneys to provide the best outcome possible for her clients."
Estate planning Attorney | Feb 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly endorse Ms. James. She is a well-respected and knowledgeable attorney, and a great choice for anyone seeking representation."
Unknown Attorney | May 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Kelley is one of the hardest working and most diligent attorneys I have ever met. She is organized, diligent, and intelligent. She is also very client focused and accessible. She can always be counted on to deal with issues quickly and efficiently."
Juvenile law Attorney | Apr 24
Relationship: Co-worker
"I worked closely with Kelley for a significant amount of time while practicing juvenile dependency law. Kelley is a strong advocate for her clients. I have observed Kelley work well with diverse clientele, and use creative strategies and solutions to attain client goals. Kelley is articulate, passionate, and respected within the legal community. I endorse Kelley as a competent attorney who works alongside clients for a successful relationship and outcome."
Juvenile law Attorney | Apr 23
Relationship: Co-worker
"I worked with Kelley James for several years. I always found her to be knowledgeable and passionate on her cases. She worked hard for her clients, was very professtional and thorough, and is well-respected by both attorneys and judges. Kelley is extremely honest and strives to provide the best representation for her clients. I would highly recommend Kelley in any capacity."
Estate planning Attorney | Apr 14
Relationship: Friend
"I have known Kelley both professional and personally over the past fifteen years. She is a remarkable attorney with a passion for her clients and their needs and desires. I would not hesitate to recommend Kelley."
Child abuse Attorney | Apr 10
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | Apr 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Top-notch attorney. Highly respected in the legal community."
Child abuse Attorney | Apr 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Having worked with Kelly, I have had the opportunity to witness her vigilance, competence and advocacy for her clients. She is strong, knowledgeable, and has an assertive approach to protecting her clients's interests and preserving their rights. Kelly's ability to articulate the law to her clients is empowering and her ability to argue before the court is persuasive. She truly cares for her clients, is respectful and empathetic to their needs and circumstances."
Child abuse Attorney | Apr 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
View more endorsements
Estate planning