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Volunteer Spotlight Published September 27, 2023

Kerry Nelson

Kerry Nelson – trained geologist, house-flipper, and former environmental lawyer – is September’s Volunteer of the Month. After an oil bust in the eighties drove her to change careers, Kerry moved to Pennsylvania with her husband and attended law school. She held a number of legal positions before becoming a real estate developer. Now, years later, she flexes unfamiliar legal muscles to help her VIP clients get title to their homes and plan their legacies.

“I was never very people-motivated,” Kerry says. “In my previous legal work, all my clients were corporations or the U.S. government.” Her current work with VIP is as people-oriented as it gets: Kerry handles probate and estate planning matters, and her clients range from members of large families torn apart by inheritance disputes to a 97-year-old who is “the loveliest human who ever walked the face of the earth.”

Kerry’s work on these cases involves counseling clients on end-of-life decisions and handling delicate family situations. It’s a far cry from her former career at the E.P.A., but it has shown her to be a patient, empathetic lawyer with a passion for sound estate planning.

“Planning is so important. What happens when you die? It’s probably just as important as how you parented your young kids. It can mark their relationship with you and their siblings and everyone else for the rest of their lives,” she says. “You don’t want to screw it up.” With Kerry Nelson by their side, our clients surely won’t.