graduated from the University of California,
Hastings College of the Law in 1989 and has been an active member of the
California Bar since that time. In 1983, she received her undergraduate
B.A. degrees from the University of California, Santa Cruz with honors
in Sociology, while also majoring in Biology. After spending six years
in the area of civil litigation at a legal services organization in Oakland,
Ms. Shigekuni started her own practice. She has focused in the area of wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, and trust administration since 1996, serving a diverse clientele in Northern and Southern California.
Ms. Shigekuni has represented individual clients
as well as groups of clients in both state and federal courts on a range
of civil matters. She has trained law students and other attorneys in
matters ranging from housing rights to earthquake recovery, and she has counseled hundreds of people about their legal rights. As a legal services attorney, she created a trilingual clinic that provided legal services in Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese to the Asian American community of Oakland's Chinatown area, and she brought a lawsuit that improved the Oakland Housing Authority's responses to maintenance complaints by primarily African American tenants.
Her concern about access to the justice system
for underrepresented people includes an interest in expanding awareness of, and access to, family wealth preservation mechanisms such as trusts, in minority communities where many older residents are homeowners but few receive expert legal or financial advice. For some time she has been representing low-income Latino homeowners on a reduced-fee basis in cooperation with La Raza Centro Legal in San Francisco. She is working on efforts to help other low-income homeowners manage interactions among mortgage debt, public benefits, and family gifts or inheritances in ways that preserve the family home for the next generation.
Ms. Shigekuni is a member of
the State Bar of California Estate Planning Section and the California
Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. Her Christian
convictions regarding generosity inform the firm's approach to serving underrepresented individuals.
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Martha Bridegam graduated from the University of California,
Hastings College of the Law in 1994. She has been an active member of the California Bar since 1995. In 1989, she received a B.A. with honors from Harvard University. Ms. Bridegam has been with this office since Spring 2007. She has worked extensively as an attorney for low-income, disabled and homeless San Franciscans, receiving five Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Awards from the Bar Association of San Francisco. She has worked on litigation projects including civil rights, employment and consumer cases. Ms. Bridegam has written three brief introductory texts for high school students on current legal issues. She has additional background in journalism and continues to work part-time as a freelance writer, primarily on housing policy and California history.
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Fanny W. Tagawa graduated from Southwestern University School of Law in 2002 and has been an active member of the California Bar since 2003. She received her B.A. with honors from UCLA in 1994 majoring in Political Science. Ms. Tagawa also attended California State University, Los Angeles where she received her teaching credential and M.A. in Education in 1998. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Tagawa taught a total of six years in the public school system in low income areas with mainly second language learners. She clerked for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for three years in the Police Litigation Department. Later she helped represent clients in civil matters in both state and federal courts. She is keenly aware of families and individuals with special needs and the challenges they face, which infuses her work and the firm’s approach to serving minorities and underrepresented individuals.
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At the Law Offices of Laurie Shigekuni, we
have the experience to ask our clients the right kind of questions and
explain legal matters in an understandable manner. Unlike some law firms,
the estate planning documents we draft are tailored to meet the long term
care needs of our clients. For example, our documents anticipate the need
for financial assistance in the event that long term nursing care is required.
Our documents are drafted to eliminate the need for court intervention
in the event that someone becomes incapacitated and needs government assistance
for long term nursing home care.
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Our goal is to provide our clients with
the highest degree of integrity, competence, and service. We understand
that estate planning not only deals with issues of finance, but also involves
human relationships. Through listening to the needs of our clients, we
will provide them with legal solutions that best care for them and their
It is also important to our firm that we serve those who are unable to
financially afford legal services. Thus, we offer a sliding fee scale for
low income clients. As indicated in the biography above, we have significant
experience in public interest work. We will use a portion of proceeds from our estate
planning practice to serve underrepresented individuals.
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