Elizabeth Timme has established a successful trust and estates practice after transitioning from Ice Miller’s litigation team. When she’s not helping clients plan and secure their financial aspirations, she often is helping women succeed in the legal profession through her involvement in the IndyBar Women and the Law Division. Timme also serves as a board member and officer of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
What motivated you to pursue a legal career?
There are no other lawyers in my family, and I didn’t know any growing up. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that as a kid, I was fascinated by the OJ Simpson trial (so much so that I used to make my younger sister reenact courtroom scenes with our stuffed animals), so that’s probably where my interest in being a lawyer began (and my sister’s ended!). As I progressed through school, a legal career just seemed to make sense for someone who enjoyed reading, writing and public speaking.
What led you to transition from litigation to trusts and estates?
There are a lot of things I really enjoy about a litigation practice, but the daily adversarial nature of the practice eventually began to become more stressful. My firm really stepped up and helped me find a practice area that ultimately felt better suited to my personality. I absolutely love the collaborative work I do with clients on estate planning and administration matters now, and I feel like I have the best of both worlds because I still get to work on the litigation that arises in this practice area, as well.
Who is someone who inspired or mentored you, and what did you learn from them?
My grandma has always inspired me. She overcame a lot of adversity in her life and demonstrated the importance of a strong work ethic to me, but most of all, she’s always prioritized family, faith and having fun.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your practice?
As an estate planning and administration lawyer, my work gives me the privilege of helping families plan for and then navigate some of the most challenging and personal times of their lives. The peace of mind that clients experience from having a plan in place to protect their loved ones is by far the most rewarding aspect of my practice.
What have you gained from the pro bono cases you’ve handled?
Most of the pro bono matters I’ve worked on have involved issues relating to domestic violence, and from them I’ve gained gratitude and perspective. So many of the good things that have happened in my life — including the opportunity and desire to pursue a legal career — are really the result of a sheer accident of birth. I was lucky to grow up in a safe and loving home, but not everyone has that. I’m grateful every time I get to use my law license to help someone create a better future for themselves and their kids, in spite of the hurdles they’ve faced in the past.
What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not in the office?
Traveling with my family (especially to national parks and Disney World), reading, cooking and watching “The Great British Baking Show.”
Where do you see your legal career 10 years from now?
I feel lucky right now to be doing work that I find meaningful and interesting, with and for people I like, while having the flexibility to lead a fulfilling life outside my career, as well. In 10 years, I hope to have grown my practice significantly, but my biggest hope is that all those key elements are still in place.
How has active involvement with bar groups helped your legal career?
I’ve been very involved in the IndyBar Women and the Law Division for several years now, and it’s been a great way to grow my professional network and to connect with mentors outside my law firm. But it’s also been inspiring to me to see the many different ways that my WLD colleagues have developed, changed and advanced in their own careers. It has really reinforced for me that so much is possible, and a successful and fulfilling legal career can take on lots of different forms.
If you could change one law, what would that be?
It may not pass constitutional muster, but I would outlaw airing the same commercial more than once in a single commercial break. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.
What’s something about you not many people know?
I love karaoke.
What’s your advice to a younger person who’s thinking about a legal career?
Work hard. Be nice. Don’t be afraid to take risks to try to create the career and life that you want. And try to avoid taking out a huge amount of student loans.•