Our team at the Elder Law Firm of Clements & Wallace has grown with the new year. Get to know our newest attorney, Keifer M. Exum.
What led you to this career?
My interest in practicing law is something that’s been a part of my life for a long, long time. First, I’m a nerd and a sucker for policy—I’ve always been one of those people who is interested not in just what the rules are, but why they are what they are—sometimes to the chagrin of my wife and family.
What led me to practicing law even more than policy, however, is my love of helping others and solving problems. I was introduced to community service back in high school through Key Club, a part of Kiwanis, of which I served as president for three years. Community service gave me a sense of belonging in my community that made me feel whole. In undergrad and law school, my faith began to play a more central role in my life, and I took the values of Catholic social teaching to heart.
Practicing law is the perfect way to lead a life that is immersed in the policy I so greatly enjoy and allows me to give back to the world that has given me so much.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
What I love most about my job is the opportunity to learn something new every day. Each client and each case is different, and as a young attorney, I’m grateful for the exposure to a wide range of issues. I am constantly motivated by the idea that as I grow in my knowledge and skills, I will be able to help more people with increasing efficiency and efficacy.
What’s something you find challenging about your work?
What’s most challenging about my work is actually the same thing that excites me about it. I confront new legal questions and issues almost every day, and it can take a great deal of reflection to integrate this new knowledge into my greater understanding of law and—in a greater sense—the world that we live in.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
This one took a bit of thought, but I would have to say the biggest misconception people have about attorneys is that we somehow cease to be human once we’re sworn into the Bar. Many people—even some family members–seem surprised to discover I have maintained my personality, sense of humor, hobbies and interests after law school. I enjoy movies, dinner, new foods, ice cream, concerts, fishing, hiking, photography, trips to Disney World, you name it–just like everyone else does. The assumption that lawyers are stiff and overly serious is one I totally understand—but it’s one we need to work to change.
What are you reading right now?
I have (what I think is) a bad habit of reading more than one book at once. I’m currently reading A Promised Land, the recent memoir by former President Barack Obama—I’ve read the memoirs of multiple former presidents from both sides of the aisle. I’m also reading Wonderlust by Richard O. Jacobs, a fellow alumnus of Stetson University College of Law and recent Hall of Fame inductee.
How do you prefer to start your day?
I am not a morning person at all—though I sorely wish I was—so my mornings don’t tend to go how I wish they would. In an ideal world, I’d wake up, get a workout in, sip some coffee while I read the news, then get ready to head to the office. In reality, I slam the snooze button a few too many times, drag myself out of bed, and try to wake up on the drive to the office. I’m trying to do better, but some habits are just too hard to change!
In what situations would I come to you for something?
As an elder law attorney, you can of course come to me with pretty much anything related to estate planning, probate, Medicaid, or guardianship. However, I think being a young attorney gives me a bit of a different perspective than my more seasoned colleagues. Our field is called elder law, but our services are valuable to more than just seniors and their immediate families. I think my age and background makes me a little more conscious of other issues affecting individuals and their families outside of aging, asset protection, and planning for incapacity. Parents with young children, pet owners, and young professionals—no matter their age, marital or immigration status, sexual orientation, or net worth—can likely benefit from some of the services we offer at the Elder Law Firm of Clements & Wallace.
To speak with Keifer about your legal needs, fill out our Contact form today.