Elizabeth Vozzella's Life Choices Led to Law
From Issue: Volume XX - Number 20
By Steve Propes
Attorney Elizabeth Vozzella
There’ll come a time when those with serious assets must decide how to prepare for the future. In all cases, the future means how their estate is distributed. There are several choices.
Increasingly, many do choose to create a living trust to avoid costs and public disclosure connected with probate.
That’s where a trust attorney like Elizabeth Vozzella comes in. A lifelong area resident, Vozzella has been handling wills, trusts and family law since 1999 when she graduated from Southwestern Law School in L.A.
Born 51 years ago at Lakewood General Hospital, Vozzella attended Lowell Elementary, Hill Junior High and Woodrow Wilson High School.
While at college, she decided she could do accounting. “I took some classes in accounting and one in criminal law at Long Beach City College in 1992.”
Literally working her way through CSULB, “I worked for the college, which did a fee waiver. I started doing the accounting. I liked it, I’m very thorough, I’m picky and organized. Law follows that.” In her early career, she was a bookkeeper or office manager of auto body, office supply and property management businesses, among others.
But the career choices weren’t over. “I took a business law and a criminal law class, fell in love with the administration of justice. Vozzella found out that her “passion for the law” offered a variety of jobs, from probation officer to attorney.
“It gave me impetus to go into law. I was told to try the LAPD, but that was a little scary.”
During law school, she had a baby. She “passed the bar first time out,” which has a 50 percent pass rate. “It meant studying 14 hours a day after the day of graduation from May to end of July.”
While waiting for bar results, she set up her own practice. “I knew I wanted to go out on my own, didn’t want to work for a bigger firm. I had a young baby and I wanted to work from home. That’s extremely important.”
She’s married to a sales director for L.A. Freightliner and her son is now in high school and wants to be an architect. “He’s pretty precise like his mom.”
In her own high school days, she was a strong devotee of hard rock and heavy metal music, beginning with the early purchase of Led Zepplin’s “Stairway To Heaven.” At the time, “there was no heavy metal. We got free Don Kirschner rock concert tickets at a room at the Arena. Guess Who, Linda Ronstadt and Steve Martin. Then we watched ourselves on TV.”
“Our parents took us or we were taking the bus. In the 1980s, there were all-day concerts, five acts would play in a day long thing. The last one I saw there was Motley Crue in 1989 or 1990.”
Those days are gone, but not the music. On her cell phone is an AC/DC vamp. “I think you have to be born to like that music, or to hear music in it.”
Vozzella’s experience comes from both sides of the bench. “I used to sit as a judge pro-tem” in traffic court. “Ninety eight percent of the time you believe the cop, because they know how to testify. Lay people don’t know the defenses. If they say they weren’t going 65 in a 55, just going 62, that‘s no defense. They think it doesn’t mean they weren’t going too fast. It comes down to who’s more credible. Traffic violations are strict liability.”
However, she recommends showing up in court as the cop might not show, which means don’t tell the cop you’ll see him or her in court, as they make sure that happens.
“I like doing the child custody and visitation. I think a child should have custody of both parents.” Vozzella admits that in the past, the mother would generally get custody in a divorce. “That’s totally changed, because dads have changed.”
However some divorces are near tragic. “It’s horrible. Vengeance and anger. People are more aware, nothing’s hidden anymore, people air their dirty laundry more, they don’t care if it’s public record. Some people don’t care if they ruin people.”
Vozzella has had to act to protect spouses in some of these bad divorces. “Because of past abuse, when the abused spouse cuts loose and is planning going to court, we get a locksmith where they live, lot of orchestration to keep people safe. You have the police or process server go to the house, that keeps the other party in line. I just know I’m doing my job.
“When there’s ongoing spousal abuse for twenty years, you help to rebuild the abused spouse. You’re a counselor as well as a lawyer. When I get clients, I pretty much get them for life.”
For more information, go to www.vozzella4law.com.