Samantha Chechele Discusses Making a Living With a Transactional Practice

Photograph: Samantha Chechele.Samantha Chechele, '88, presented the Lunch and Learn "How to Make a Living With a Transactional Practice" on March 2, 2018. She was hosted by the Business and Transactional Law Center.

Originally from Michigan, Chechele attended Washburn Law on a full scholarship and graduated in 1988. She is licensed to practice law in Florida as well as Michigan, and as of 2018 she has been practicing for 30 years. After graduating from Washburn Law, Chechele worked as a Senior Tax Specialist with the CPA firms of KPMG and Cherry Bekaert & Holland. In 1991, however, she founded her own practice. Her unique background and mix of skills allows her to offer meaningful and comprehensive legal, tax and counseling services to her clients. Her practice mainly focuses on estate planning, taxation, and real estate, which she fondly refers to as her "three-ring circus." Additionally, helping others is always a passion inside and outside the office for Chechele. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association. She also serves as legal counsel and board member for the Florida Dream Center and the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.

While visiting Washburn Law, Chechele spoke with law students about her successful career and provided many real-world tips for a transactional law practice. She emphasized that a transactional practice allows attorneys to have a life outside of work because they have more control over their time than they would in litigation, which is often at the mercy of the schedules of other attorneys and judges. While one of her four daughters at a young age once told people that her mom just "goes to borings meetings and talks about paper," Chechele is enthusiastic about what she does and enjoys giving back to her community.

Chechele talked to law students about the importance of knowing their clients so that they can do what is appropriate for the client's needs. She says the practice of transactional law is not like ordering off the menu at McDonald's when a client needs a will, trust, or power of attorney document drawn up. She really takes the time to understand and relate to her clients and she stressed the importance of not shortcutting this process. Chechele also explained to law students that it is important to surround themselves with an amazing team in order to compensate for their own weaknesses.

Chechele taught law students about the importance of knowing themselves so that they can better relate to clients. While clients come in all types and styles, she said that lawyers have particular styles and they need to learn how to adapt to different types of clients so that they do not limit themselves or their practices. Chechele further emphasized the importance of disconnecting and recharging, and explained that this is one of the appealing things about transactional law - it's easier to take vacations because they control their own schedules for the most part.

Finally, Chechele elaborated on the importance of getting paid by their clients at the end of the day because this is their livelihood, the importance of giving back by mentoring others and doing pro bono work, and the importance of networking. Chechele is a member of BNI-Nexus, and provides access to her considerable network of professional contacts to her clients as a value-added service.

Washburn Law thanks Samantha Chechele for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with law students about her real-world experience and provide insightful practice tips.