Trinity Law Firm really began in 1994 when attorney Mary Walz hired Laurie Gallegos, just out of law school. Gallegos left to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1997. She enjoyed her work there, practicing in the area of employment law and litigation, but she wanted more flexibility and to have her own practice. In 2010, she left LANL to open Laurie Gallegos LLC, which later became Trinity Law Firm.
The firm shares space at 557 Oppenheimer Dr., Suite #101 in Los Alamos with ADV Insurance, a business owned by Gallegos’ husband Vince Marciano. The family ties don’t stop there. Vince’s mom, Pat Marciano is the legal assistant and office manager for both companies.
Lawyer Jacqueline Marrast-Simpson began working for Trinity in 2012. Marrast-Simpson practices in the areas of real estate, landlord tenant, probate and estate planning. Before moving to Los Alamos she was employed at The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago as a Community Investment Specialist. Marrast-Simpson grew up in the Caribbean and then in New York City. Her husband works at LANL, where he knew Gallegos, and a connection was made.
Gallegos and Marrast-Simpson found they had styles that complimented each other. “Jackie is very calm and I’m more high energy and wound up,” Gallegos said.
In October, the firm added its third attorney. Sharon Marinuzzi has more than 25 years of experience working in the legal field. She served as a former criminal prosecutor, federal investigator/agent, and administrative law judge. Most recently she was one of two coordinators for the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.
Marinuzzi attended law school at the University of California and returned to Los Alamos to raise her family, now four generations are in residence here. She brings litigation and family law experience to Trinity, in addition to her other skills.
Marrast-Simpson and Marinuzzi work for Gallegos as independent contractors and bill their hours to her. Three high powered women attorneys, all moms with school-age children (nine between the three of them), now make up the firm’s legal staff. Their different legal backgrounds make the firm able to handle a wide variety of client needs. Together, they have more than 40 years in practice.
“In the summer, our kids come in the office. During school, they do their homework in the conference room,” Gallegos said. “Women with families need a place where they can have flexibility. How we work needs to be different, but we’re professionals and we know how to manage our time.”
The three all laughed and agreed that their time management skills were learned as much from parenting as from their professional lives.
“People are always surprised how fast we get things done,” Marrast-Simpson said.
Hours are client driven, and after hours and weekends are often when the three lawyers meet with clients. This works well for both parties.
“I want my daughter to know you can do it all,” Gallegos said. “I don’t miss the kid’s sporting events anymore.”
Like her fellow lawyers, Marinuzzi was seeking a position where she could balance work and family. She’s a single mom with a fourth grader and a seventh grader.
“This is a win-win situation of us,” Marinuzzi said. “I get to see women using their full potential.”
Like Gallegos, Marinuzzi is a Los Alamos native. “I want to be part of this community,” she said. “This opportunity spoke to me.”
Marinuzzi will do some family law at Trinity. “I saw a need here when I worked at JJAB,” she said. “I’m very familiar with the resources that can be tapped for families in need.”
“What concerns me is that when work goes off the hill, the community is not as important to them the way it is to us,” Gallegos said. “That bothers me. My family is very affected by what happens in Los Alamos. My client is number one, but I also have concerns about the community. I’ve hired people who live in Los Alamos and also care about the community.”
The positives of being local far out-weigh the potential negatives, Gallegos said.
“I try to be as professional as possible, because I see the people-including the people on the other side of the case-all the time,” she said. “When we work with opposing council and those on the other side, we know we’ll be dealing with them in the future and we want people to respect the integrity involved in what we do.”
“Social and professional experience are as important as legal experience Gallegos said. “That’s what sets us apart.”
In spite of their local focus, the lawyers practice all over the state and often deal with families who live outside New Mexico in their probate work. Gallegos is an expert in employment law and her experience at LANL has given her plenty of experience dealing with this area. She is also experienced with estate planning and real estate law, as well as small business law.
“Small business law is one of my favorite things because people are so excited about what they are doing,” she said. “We stay with them as they grow.”
Marrast-Simpson enjoys probate work. “I find it very rewarding to help people who are going through a loss and being sensitive to their needs.”
“I never thought I’d work at a law firm,” Marrast-Simpson said. “I wanted to do service-oriented things. I thought I’d do things like regulatory work. I worked on affordable housing at the bank in Chicago, but it’s wonderful to work here, where I can feel satisfaction and serve people, improve their lives and empower them.”
The respect and trust the three lawyers have for each other is evident when talking with them. “It’s a blessing to work with colleges you respect,” Gallegos said.
Gallegos has come full-circle. She started working at an all-woman firm with Walz and now at Trinity, she’s once again working with an all-woman team.
“A lot of people love it that we’re all women,” Marrast-Simpson said.
Does being a woman and a mother give the three lawyers an extra edge? Maybe so.
“There’s a practical side and a legal side. I’ll tell you both and let you decide,” Gallegos said.
“That’s not something you learn in law school,” Marrast-Simpson agreed. “It’s something you learn in life and it’s what we offer people.”
Visit Trinity Law Firm at www.thetrinitylawfirm.com or call 505.662.8955.