Human-Centered Legal Advocates
With our roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
How We Work Together
All employees are treated as human beings with independent thoughts, emotions, and bodies; unique strengths and weaknesses; and good days and bad days. Each person is valued by their strengths which fill a need on our team. We help nurture those strengths and calm fears. We do not dwell on weaknesses; instead, we identify them and find alternatives. Reviews do not exist because we do not need them when daily focusing on strengths.
A lack of money is the greatest distraction to good work. Naturally, money determines whether our basic needs can be met, so it is unavoidably emotional, especially when a lawyer relies on others working additional hours at a lower rate to make more profits. We just removed the conflict: Dawn (receptionist), Josie (business manager), Ann (UX researcher and strategist) and Erica (attorney) have equal salaries.
All profits will be shared equally. Ann and Josie will put hard work into this business, too. They should also financially benefit – not just Erica as the attorney.
After 12 years as an access litigation and probate administration attorney, Erica set out to give her fellow Yoopers other trustworthy options for legal services. With a team of like-minded individuals, she has applied human-centered design to the law and created a practice that educates and advises clients in a way they understand, meets their needs, and enables them to make informed decisions with confidence.
Erica applies these principles to her true passion: resolving access and easement disputes. Her niche practice was unexpectedly born in the family camps of the UP where easements are commonly misunderstood and disputes often arise. She has coached clients to achieve resolutions with their neighbors by bridging communication and seeking alternatives.
If a client needs to enforce a right, Erica counsels her clients and fully evaluates the financial and wellness expenses throughout litigation. By implementing the human-centered strategies, her clients know what to expect from litigation. They can better evaluate risk, prepare for the financial and emotional impact, and plan a settlement and litigation strategy. By creating this environment, Erica’s clients have more capacity to deal with a trial or the ordinary demands of life while working on a litigation project.
Erica lives with her dog, Nyla, in Marquette, where she practices remotely from her home. Erica is curious about the world and the people around her. She enjoys deep conversation, gardening, and creating.
Josie left her home state of Minnesota for the UP after marrying her husband in 2021. Josie’s experience and skills as a professional musician and a former teacher have been essential in improving our communication with and education of our clients. She loves the outdoors, music, writing, andMuay Thai. She lives in Sands with her husband Ben,and their dogs, Leo & Layla.
Ann considers herself an honorary Yooper, raised in Crystal Falls, now living in Ann Arbor. With 15 years of research, teaching, and content design and management, Ann is committed to working with the Taproot team to achieve innovative outcomes and support clients with a human-centered approach. When Ann is not working, you can find her running around with Jet the wonder dog, cross-country skiing in the winter, finetuning her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, or hiking in the Michigan woods with her husband, Ben, and Jet.
UX Researcher and Strategist
What is human-centered?
Ways to use coaching
A coaching call includes:
- Coaching & Planning Tools
- Summary & Strategy Map
- Simple Process & Information
- Discounted Rate on Additional Sessions
- Real estate. After her mentoring partner suffered a personal tragedy, Erica helped with an upcoming trial that had all sorts of easement issues and that experience changed her life forever. She was hooked to the puzzles that these problems real estate litigation presents. Over the years, Erica has managed cases that include the following issues:
Probate Court Cases. Because Erica started her career in estate planning, she knew how trusts and wills should work, so it made her powerful in court. As her career progressed, so did the prevalence of probate litigation, and Erica was able help many clients through the types of cases resolved in probate court including:
- Prescriptive easements, implied easements, and easements by necessity
- Easement safety and liability for accidents
- Improvements that can or cannot be made to an easement
- Abandonment or termination of an easement
- Adverse possession
- Abandonment or termination of easement rights of an easement
- Probate estate administration – all types of processes available
- Administration of a hand-written will and other disputes about the terms of a will
- Variety of disputes, especially between siblings or adult children and stepparents
- Trust administration
- Removal of trustee, agent under a power of attorney, or personal representative
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Petitions for grandparenting time or visitation with an elderly parents under the care of a stepparent
- Various requests for information from personal representatives, trustees, agents under powerse of attorneys, and other fiduciaries.
Trained mediator in the areas of:
- civil litigation (2010)
- domestic relations (2011)
- permanency planning (abuse and neglect cases) (2014)
State Bar of Michigan participation
- Executive Council, Young Lawyers Section
- 25th Circuit (Marquette County), Representative Assembly
- Member · Jan 2016
- Probate and Estate Planning Section, State Bar of Michigan
- Real Property Section, State Bar of Michigan
- Chair, Winter Conference, San Diego, CA (2020)
- Legislative and Case Update, Summer Conference (2021)
- Legislative and Case Update, Summer Conference (2022)
Finlandia Alumni Board
- Vice President · Jun 2013
Marquette County Bar Association
- President (2015-2016)
- Secretary/Treasurer (2014-2015)
- Vice President (2013-2014)
- Member (2011-present)
- Bass Fest Sponsor, Crystal Falls Lion’s Club (2023) by Taproot
- Marquette-Alger Resolution Service
- Volunteer Mediator · (Jan 2011-2019)
- Board of Directors
- Zonta Club of Marquette
- Recording Secretary · Jan 2013 – Jan 2015
- Board of Directors
- Student Leader Fellowship Program, Northern Michigan Leadership Program
- Mentor · Jan 2011 – Jan 2015
- Dancing with Our Stars (2018), Fundraiser for UP Home Health & Hospice
- Super Lawyers’s Rising Star 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
- Rising Start for the Young Lawyers’ Section for the State Bar of Michigan