Garden Creek Law Offices, PC (307) 232-0053

259 South Center 3rd Floor, Casper, WY 92605

 

 
TRACI E. MEARS, JD
Attorney/Mediator
 
 
 
 

EDUCATION:

    • Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, JD
    • Seattle University, Seattle, WA, BA Criminal Justice with emphasis in psychology
    • University of the Nations, Kona, HI, AA in Performing Arts

EXPERIENCE:

PRIVATE PRACTICE

October 2004 – Present
Practice areas include estate planning (including tax planning), trust litigation, estate settlement and distribution, real estate transactional document preparation and review, contract review, drafting and negotiations, adoptions (domestic and international), guardianship, dissolutions, post-dissolution issues, child support, adjustment and modifications to child support and parenting plans, parentage, custody and visitation rights, domestic violence issues, substance abuse/addictions, and domestic partnership agreements. Provided consulting and guidance for non-profit organizations including assisting with strategic planning, organizational development, and establishing policies & procedures. Certified as a mediator through the American Mediation Association and have successfully mediated many different types of cases. Trained as a Guardian ad Litem and have significant experience representing both children and elderly/disabled persons in that capacity in both Washington State and Wyoming. Appointed to the King County Unified Family Court Pilot Project and assisted in the resolution of several very difficult cases. Received an award from the court for my service on the Pilot project. Experience includes trial preparation, trial, hearings, motions, document drafting and preparation, legal research, mediation/settlement, etc.

SENIOR TRUST & FIDUCIARY OFFICER | WELLS FARGO PRIVATE BANK

January 2013 – July 2014
Managed Client Trust Portfolios with a combined net value of $156 Million. As part of The Private Bank's investment and Fiduciary team role was to assist clients in building, managing, preserving and transitioning their wealth. Position was grounded in the Prudent Investor Rule, utilizing in-depth knowledge of fiduciary principles and risk management; trust regulations; wealth structuring and transition; and asset management (asset allocation, alternative assets, real estate, specialty assets, oil/gas/mineral, and closely-held business assets). Worked closely with other team members to manage assets to help meet clients' goals. Assisted with developing and implementing wealth plans. Duties Included: Serving high net worth clients as a specialist on a team, in a relationship management capacity or as a fiduciary consultant; Demonstrating specialized experience in the identification of Investment & Fiduciary Services needs as part of the Tactical Sales Process; Leading or participating in new client acquisition through leveraging fiduciary skills and knowledge; Managing risk through application of my legal education & experience along with fiduciary knowledge and experience; Leading and participating in the Core Planning Review process to uncover and address Wealth Management issues; Participating in the wealth planning and implementation; Demonstrating strong investment acumen and knowledge, including application of RiskOptics; Estate Plan and Trust Document Reviews; Client engagement and family dynamic management.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | CASA OF NATRONA COUNTY

March 2007 – July 2010
Leader responsible for directing the development and activities of the CASA program including oversight of accountability, certification and contracts; personnel development including supervision, performance evaluations, and policies; volunteer management; fiscal management; fundraising; grant research and writing; fiscal reporting; public relations; and assuring compliance with all national affiliations and funding donor requirements. While in this position doubled the organization’s revenues, establishing a reserve fund equal to one year’s annual budget amount, and developing and implementing a long-term fundraising structure and annual fundraising event.

NETWORK ATTORNEY

2003 - Present
Network/Consulting Attorney for Hyatt Legal Plans (A MetLife Company) and The ARAG Group providing full-service legal representations, phone advice and limited representation for legal insurance policy holders in Washington and Wyoming.

FIELD ATTORNEY

2005 – 2011
Field/Consulting Attorney for each of the law firms of the Legal Advice Line Consortium, consisting of Legal Advice Line, LLC, Persels & Associates, LLC, and Consumer Law Associates, LLC.

ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY | HANIS GREANEY, PLLC (FORMERLY HANIS GREANEY ZORO, PLLC)

September 2003 - October 2004
Hanis Greaney is an AV rated firm, renowned as the largest law firm in South King County. Invited to join the firm on a one year contract to assist them in establishing their family law department. Practice covered the spectrum of all matters relative to domestic relations including dissolutions, post-dissolution issues, child support, adjustments and modifications of child support and parenting plans, parentage, custody and visitation rights, domestic violence issues, restraining orders and protection orders, and guardianship. Trained in and have extensive experience with the Collaborative Law process, mediations, arbitrations, and all aspects of the trial process. Practiced in the area of bankruptcy and debtor rights and all adoptions for the firm including agency involvement, private adoptions, domestic and international cases.

PRIVATE PRACTICE

January 2001 - June 2003
Practiced in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties including family law and domestic relations, adoptions, estate planning, guardianship, real estate transactions, and Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. Provided in-house counsel services to two small technology based start-up companies. Experience includes trial preparation, hearings, motions, document negotiation, drafting and preparation, legal research, etc.

JUDICIAL LAW CLERK/BAILIFF | JUDGE RONALD L. CASTLEBERRY | SNOHOMISH COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

Dec. 2000 - Dec. 2001
Responsibilities included liaison between the Court, attorneys, and witnesses; legal research; legal briefing; file summarization; preparation for sentencing; preparation of written opinions and memorandum decisions; review and preparation of issues for pre and post trial motions; maintaining the Judge’s calendars; updating all library and research materials; jury instruction preparation; responsible for establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with jurors, attorneys, associates, other county employees, and the general public; responsible for maintaining orderly conduct, proper decorum and security in the courtroom.

DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE | NATIONAL WOMEN LAW STUDENT’S ASSOCIATION

1999 - 2000
Coordination of all National Conference activities including hotel contract negotiations; scheduling; booking keynote speakers; registration; fundraising; conference bookkeeping; accounts payable and receivable; appointment and oversight of conference committee; appointment of and coordination with Moot Court Director; planning and implementation of the annual national Moot Court Competition; design and implementation of artwork, logos, brochures, pamphlets, flyers and posters related to advertising.

OFFICE MANAGER/LEGAL ASSISTANT | GARY S. WIESE, INC., P.S.

1995 – 1999
Estate Planning and Probate; Adoptions; Corporate and Tax Law. Prepared wills, trusts, estate planning documents, deeds, IRS forms related to probate, and pleadings. Billing including accounts payable and receivable; hiring support staff; overseeing day to day operations of law office; staff-attorney liaison; meeting with clients re: execution of estate plan documents.

SKILLS:

Advanced Training: 

  • Certified Mediator (American Arbitration Association) 2005
  • Guardian ad Litem Certification (Washington and Wyoming) 2002 to present
  • Certified in Collaborative Law (2004 to present)
  • Certified Grant Writing Specialist (2008)
  • Certified Non-Profit Management & Consulting (2009)

PUBLICATIONS:

“The Female Psychopath in Art and Science: An Analysis of Film Portrayals of the Femme Fatale,” Co-Author, Criminal Justice Review, pending editing.

“The Baby Connection: How Serving Time Becomes Quality Time” Submitted for publication, pending editorial review.

Author of final revisions to Mandatory Guardianship Forms published and used statewide beginning January 2000.

 
 

ACTIVITIES:

    • Off Square Theater, Jackson Wyoming, Board Member, 2013 - Present
    • Leadership Wyoming Alumni Board Member, November 2012 - 2014
    • Rotary of Casper Wyoming, Member, June 2012 - Present
    • Governor’s Appointee to Wyoming Children’s Trust Fund, June 2011 to Present
    • Board Member: Meals On Wheels of Natrona County, 2010 – 2012
    • Endowment Advisory, True Care Pregnancy Resource Center, 2010 - Present
    • Graduate, Leadership Wyoming, Class of 2011
    • Licensed Member in Good Standing, Wyoming State Bar Association, 2006 – Present
    • Licensed Member in Good Standing, Washington State Bar Association, 2000 - Present
    • Founding Board Member/Former President, Casper Family Connections, 2011 – 2012
    • Member, Wyoming Child Major Injury and Fatality Review Team, 2009 – 11/2012
    • Board Member, Casper Youth for Christ/The Link, 2008 – 2010
    • WSBA Family Law Section, Member 2003 – Present
    • WSBA Guardianship & Elder Law Section, Member 2002 - 2005
    • WSBA Gender Equality Committee, Member 2002 - 2004
    • King County Bar Association Judicial Screening Committee, Member appointed 2004 Washington Women Lawyers, Snohomish County Representative, 2001 - 2003
    • Washington Women Lawyers, Member 2000 - Present
    • Phi Alpha Delta, Harry S. Truman Chapter, Vice Justice 1999 - 2000
    • National Women Law Student's Association, Director of Conference 1999 - 2000
    • Public Interest Law Foundation
    • Member Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
    • Alpha Phi Sigma - President 1996 – 1997
    • Alpha Phi Sigma - Vice President 1995 - 1996

 

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