Meet Attorney Lori
Listen to Lori explain (begins @ 40 s) her passion behind the #GetMyGuardian community service events on PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman.
If you asked me at 8-years-old what I wanted to be, you would have heard, “I want to be a lawyer.” Somehow, this was cemented in my head at a young age by my parents. My dad, a Sicilian immigrant, could just dream of having a lawyer as a daughter–not only free legal help, but also the prestige in knowing that his decision to pack up and move to the U.S.A. was a good one. My mother thought it would be wonderful to say (in her strong New York accent), “My daughter, the lawyer.” My parents are lovely people and they always wanted the best and brightest future for me.
I also enjoyed the thought that I could breakthrough and become the first person in my family to pursue higher education beyond college. Becoming a lawyer meant something to me, and eventually, being a lawyer did too. It means advocating for people. It means offering comfort and solace in tricky legal situations. It means using creativity to find solutions.
I did not start out owning my own law firm. I used to work for a large and prestigious multi-state law firm in downtown Tampa (prior to that time I was a judicial law clerk at the esteemed Fifth District Court of Appeal). But, after 14 years and an advancement to partnership, having my son Gianni changed my priorities. I withdrew from the partnership to raise my son full-time. It was then that I realized the overwhelming “parental fears.” I had many concerns about his future!
Several months after Gianni was born, I started reaching out to other moms in the Tampa Bay community. Over the years, we formed a strong network. I heard their stories, shared their worries and happiness, and began to understand that my fears were not unique. Through these relationships, I saw a great need for these parents to communicate, and make official, their estate planning and guardianship planning concerns. But what’s more, these parents would benefit by talking to another parent–a person that understood their needs.
I felt it was an invaluable service to have someone that would draft their legal documents with the same concerns she had for her own family, and would anticipate the types of questions and concerns that may arise. And, from that concept, my law firm was born. I am helping you plan from a parent’s perspective.
To further my unique concept, I needed a different environment from the formal law firms I knew. I imagined my own issues with finding child care, trusting my son in the care of others, and feeling tired from sleepless nights. I didn’t have to do things the old-fashioned way. The days of getting decked out in your Sunday best to visit your lawyer’s office are now gone. In their place are virtual and mobile law firms that provide the same services with lower overhead costs, a more casual and relaxed atmosphere, and, in my case, a place where children are welcome–not excluded (as long as the parents can concentrate!). But even more fitting, these law firms accomplish the bulk of work with their clients electronically. Thus, when you correspond with my law firm, phone calls, video conferences, email communication and scanned documents are allowable. I still offer traditional services as well for the clients that prefer that route. Either way, welcome to an entirely new concept of having a trusted advisor that is available on a more relaxed scheduled that fits your busy lives.
Biography of Attorney Lori Vella
Lori is a native of Rochester, New York. She attended University of Rochester (B.A. Political Science 1996) and Albany Law School of Union University (J.D. 2000). She was 25th in her class after the first year. She also “graded on” the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology. She attended Stetson Law School for her senior year and decided to permanently leave the snow behind for the sunshine state. Her parents purchased a condo on Isla Del Sol when she was 7 years old, so she grew to know and love the Tampa Bay area. It was the perfect fit.
After law school, Lori clerked for the prestigious Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona, Florida for two years. She then accepted a position at Butler Legal in Tampa, Florida. Lori was a litigation attorney handling highly-complex contractual matters. She also frequently lectured on various topics. She founded her own law firm in 2017.
Lori is an avid volunteer. She currently donates her time to host children’s events at VISTA Organic Gardens in Carrollwood, Florida. She also advises the Board in a legal capacity. Lori serves as a Board Member of the Carrollwood Players. Previously, Lori was the Chair of the Volunteer Committee of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and organized all volunteer activities for local attorneys on a monthly basis. She has played bingo with the veterans and served birthday cake to kids at Metropolitan Ministry, among various other activities.
Lori is the creator of the Kid Care Package which is a comprehensive collection of legal and practical documents for parents of young kids. To take it a step further, most recently, Lori dreamt up and created the #GetMyGuardian project in Florida. With this free legal project, Lori took her original Kid Care Package and worked in conjunction with the Florida Sheriff’s Office to create documents that would do their best to keep kids out of foster care for any reason, if a parent did not return home. Lori provides valuable legal time and free services offering a voice for Florida kids and a solution for Florida parents.
Attorney Lori mentors younger attorneys in her spare time and enjoys reading classic novels. Lori lives in Carrollwood Village, Florida with her son Gianni. They do many activities together such as gardening, ZooTampa and the Florida Aquarium. Lori is a self-proclaimed “Seinfeld Expert” and appreciates any trivia thrown her way. Lori loves to travel and has taken her son throughout Europe and Australia. Lori also reviews restaurants and establishments on her journeys.
Attorney Lori is the Author of The Live-On Project. She wrote this book to accompany her estate planning. Meeting after meeting, Lori listened to the raw emotion felt by her clients towards their children. Her legal plans, though solid, could not capture this love and these emotions. She felt the need for them to vividly capture their courage, strength and love for this children, by encouraging the writing of letters to their children. Her book helps parents starts the process of writing letters to their children.