INTERVIEW with Jennifer Zelvin McCloskey
Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States of America
Current role: Attorney at Law, Professor, and Board Member
One word that best describes how you work: Intensely
1. Hi Jennifer – Noting your previous experience as Deputy Attorney General in Delaware, how did you find the shift to private practice?
The shift from government practice to private practice was challenging. I knew what to expect because I had worked in private practice for nearly five years before becoming a criminal prosecutor, however, the private practice pace and the billable hours made it challenging. Those challenges proved positive nonetheless because they inspired me to seek my LL.M. in tax and to focus on my estate planning and administration practice.
2. You have been with Clermont 1 year and 2 months. What to date has been the highlight of your time with Clermont?
The highlight of my time with Clermont has been the people! This role has provided me with the opportunity to meet and work with so many brilliant people in a variety of countries. In America, our reach is often within one’s State borders, or just outside the borders to a neighbouring State. With this role, my interactions are on an global scale. I have learned culturally and professionally from each person I have worked with. It has been an absolute joy to begin developing new professional relationships across the globe. It is something I have always been interested in doing during my career.
3. What legislative change during your work lifetime has had the biggest impact on the way in which you work either yourself or in the course of your client work?
This question is quite timely. The SECURE Act of 2019 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 have had equal impact on my clients planning and the way I work. Both laws have significantly impacted estate planning, causing clients and attorneys alike to re-evaluate estate planning strategies and techniques. With that said, the fact that tax law changes with consistency, is one of the reasons I was attracted to this field.
4. With travel having been off the agenda for most in the last year, if you could travel to one place, where would it be and why?
I I love to travel so this question is a tough one. I want to travel everywhere! I of course would love to make another trip to Geneva, Switzerland to meet my new colleagues in person! I started working with Clermont during COVID so we have not yet met face to face. Second to that, two of my bucket list places are the Maldives to relax for a few weeks in an ocean bungalow, and Peru to see Machu Pichu and the Rainbow mountains.
5. How do you think people would communicate in a perfect world?
In a perfect world, people will communicate by honestly and respectfully talking in person face to face. There is so much body language and context that is lost in email, telephone calls, videoconference and the like.
6. What advice would you give to 18 year old high school graduate Jennifer Zelvin?
That is a great question! I actually given this tremendous thought because I have a stepdaughter who is just shy of her 18th birthday, and I am prepared to give her the advice I would have given myself at age 18. First, go to class…no matter what! Second, you are enough just as you are. Get out of your head and believe in yourself. Be your own best friend. Finally, don’t be afraid to fail and to make mistakes. If you fail and make mistakes it means you get the incredible opportunity to learn resilience, to demonstrate grit, and to learn and grow.
Thank you for your contribution!
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