Friday, February 9th
This Member Profile features Vincent J. Oddo, an associate working in the Estate Planning and Probate department of Klein DeNatale Goldner, LLP. He graduated cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in 2016. He was lead articles editor of Pepperdine Law Review and also received a certificate in dispute resolution from the Straus Institute. Oddo graduated cum laude from Westmont College in 2012 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and business.
-What inspired you to become an estate planning and probate attorney?
Until law school, I bought into the cliché that the majority of lawyers are litigators (as perpetuated by corny legal dramas). During my first year of law school, I was steered toward litigation in classes that taught me how to write, argue, and think like a litigator. I took the required Trusts and Estates class during my 2L year and really enjoyed the subject material. During my 2L summer as a law clerk with Klein DeNatale Goldner, one of the partners asked each of the law clerks about our favorite law school courses. To his surprise, I told him I was developing an interest in estate planning. That summer, I sought work relating to that practice area and realized that I had an aptitude for it. During my last year of law school, I took advanced courses in trusts and estates as well as some tax classes. After taking the July 2016 Bar Exam, I returned to KDG to work in the estate planning practice area and I have not looked back since then!
-What advice would you give to younger individuals entering the legal profession?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is so much that is not taught in law school, which I soon came to realize during my first year as an associate. That first year was an incredibly humbling experience. I think newly minted lawyers feel the need to prove their worth by trying to navigate unchartered territories. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know. The hierarchy of a law firm shouldn’t intimidate young lawyers. I have come to find that experienced attorneys want to be a resource. You just have to ask.
-What kind of obstacles have you had to overcome as a young professional?
At the outset of my career, I had to intentionally seek my own work/life balance. Devoting time to my career and my community, while finding time for life outside of work, seemed unattainable—as if I had to focus on one area but not the others. But, working and living in a town like Bakersfield has afforded me the ability to find the proper balance between the areas of my life that are important to me.
Wednesday, August 2nd
This Member Profile features Thomas Maxwell, a partner with the accounting firm Keathley, Maxwell and Antongiovanni, LLP. After graduating from Garces Memorial High School, Thomas graduated with honors from University of San Diego, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and from Golden Gate University with his Masters of Science in Taxation. Thomas is also an AICPA COSO Internal Control Certificate Recipient.
– What inspired you to become a Certified Public Accountant?
This answer will sound a little cliché, but it’s a true story. I took an aptitude test in sixth-grade and my number one result was that I should become an accountant! The results honestly stuck with me, and I went into college wanting to become a CPA. Once I was in college and dove into the ins and outs of how accounting work I realized that there was a natural aptitude for me, and I was hooked on the challenges of understanding the science behind accounting. Being an accountant allows me to be creative in ways that I never could have imagined.
Along with the drive and desire to be a CPA, I wanted to help people. I think there are few ways to better positively influence someone’s life than to help them understand their financial realities and help them meet their financial goals. It’s often said that money can’t make you happy, and while I agree with this, it sure does make life easier. My objective is to help every client’s life become easier, because they understand where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow.
– What advice would you give to younger individuals entering the accounting profession?
The best advice I can give is find a mentor, be it a teacher, professional just starting their career, or a seasoned professional and ask them all your questions. I can almost guarantee that whatever advice you are in search of was something your mentor needed advice about in their career. Accounting is a challenging profession because along with the personal satisfaction and rewards of helping people, the road to success is not easy. Being a public or private accountant takes commitment and hard work that will challenge you immensely. Be patient in your career and remember that becoming an expert in your chosen practice areas will take some time and just when you think you know it all you will learn something new.
– What kind of obstacles (if any) have you had to overcome as a young professional?
An obstacle all accountants face in today’s world is having a well-rounded knowledge base. My clients call on me to know more than just how to perform the compliance task of preparing a tax return. Often, clients are looking for solid advice about a whole host of topics from someone they can trust. Knowing enough about everything to give solid advice can be an overwhelming endeavor in our complex and ever-changing world, but that’s a challenge I’m willing to accept.