Langton Green is fortunate to have dedicated, talented leadership and is grateful for the contributions of its board members. This month’s conversation is with. . .
Paula Mattson-Sarli, Esq.
Paula graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2005 with honors. She is a member of the Maryland Bar and District of Columbia Bar. Paula understands how important it is to continue to learn and grow and seeks to educate her clients and prospects by offering seminars and presentations on various topics of estate planning and elder law. In 2016, she joined Langton Green’s board as a member at large.
How did you get connected with Langton Green?
I discovered Langton Green when I served on the board of By Their Side, a nonprofit that works in partnership with Marylanders with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families to make sure their wishes are addressed. By Their Side provides advocacy for health, safety, rights, and happiness, even when parents can no longer be there. At the time, Langton Green’s Executive Director Kim Breton Iaquinta was also on By Their Side’s board and she invited me to serve on Langton’s board. As an attorney who advocates for those who are vulnerable and cannot represent themselves, I am committed to Langton Green’s mission. As an attorney with a solo practice, I wasn’t out looking for this kind of opportunity, but I have found it to be so rewarding –collaborating to support Langton Green’s mission. At Langton Green, it’s about the people. I can be of service and offer legal and professional insights that may help them.
What is Langton Green’s greatest strength?
There is such a strong sense of community at Langton. The focus is always on the best interests of those they are serving. The board meets every two months and we have good communication and conversations. We know the challenges the staff face and how responsive and professional the leadership team is. Langton Green truly values staff and engages with them. The leadership team listens and learns. During the pandemic, for example, they engaged with the house managers and took the time to ask, “What can we be doing better?” The staff developed innovative virtual daytime activities. They did an amazing job with all hands-on deck, to provide virtual supports. They were prepared and made everyone feel “We’re all in this together.” The response to the pandemic was extraordinary –and a testament to the team.
What might the wider community be interested to know about Langton Green?
We have a sustainable Community Farm in Millersville, Md. The Community Farm is Langton’s connection with the wider community. If people want to be involved there are so many opportunities to volunteer side-by-side with residents. People can also make other kinds of donations as well.
What inspired you to practice in the area of estate planning and elder law?
During my final year of law school when my father passed away, I discovered my calling. My father was a wartime veteran and an employee of the U.S. Postal Service when he died at the age of 59 without an estate plan. It was a difficult time. I carry the lessons from the experience with my father’s estate with me every day. I want to help families be prepared.
How do you help those who may not be able to represent themselves?
Each situation is unique and I work closely with families and trustees to provide advocacy as well as legal services. For example, many need assistance with planning for the future and I can help by advising on special needs trusts and elder law.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I started my own practice in 2013 to provide more personal service and to have more time with my husband. I do in-home consultations and find that this works especially well for those who cannot easily travel from home; many are also more comfortable having all their papers in one place at home. I love people and I want to have a conversation, a relationship with my clients. I also like to give back by assisting veterans. I am an accredited attorney with the Veterans Administration and assist wartime veterans or their surviving spouses in qualifying and applying for Aid & Attendance pension benefits. My dad was a veteran and his death without an estate plan was a defining moment for me. I have never looked back.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Everybody I meet says, “You’d be a good mom.” Well, I’m a mom to my black lab, Jasmine! My husband, Evan, and I have been married for 20 years and live in Anne Arundel County with our beloved dog.