By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Emily Geary and her mother were best friends, and one of the last gifts that Emily’s mom gave her before she passed was to ask her a question: “Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were a little girl?” Emily replied, “I always wanted to be a lawyer.” Her mother then looked to the bottom of Emily’s soul and said, “Promise me that you will do that.” Now, why would a mother who was already intensely proud of the young professional woman that was her daughter say such a thing? Because as honorable of a profession that teaching elementary school is, and as dedicated and good as Emily was at it, the mother that knew and loved her daughter best knew that for Emily, teaching was “Plan B,” not “Plan A.” Thus a long journey began, and late in 2019, a dream became a reality in the form of a pleasant office on Cloverleaf whose sign simply reads, “Emily Geary Law.” Emily will be the first to tell you that she could not have realized her dream without the help of her husband, Brian, her family, and her church family; and she is determined to pay it forward for the people of North Alabama.
So, what happened in between leaving teaching school and getting admitted to the bar? First, Emily realized that there was no getting around the fact that her mother was right, and after teaching school for four years, she quit and became a paralegal for 15 years. She loved the firm for which she worked, and had a boss who believed in her. Then the day came when he said to her, “I don’t ever say this to anyone in your position, but you need to become a lawyer.” Destiny was knocking again, and the woman with a degree in education from Murray State University in Kentucky applied to Birmingham School of Law and got accepted. That was her next big step. I have learned many things in the times I have spoken at length with Emily, and one is that most law schools do not allow students to work at all while they are studying law. Birmingham Law School does, and Emily worked full time, and drove to Birmingham on Saturdays to go to law school. She started law school in 2010, graduated in 2014, and was admitted to the bar in 2019. In between that time, life happened in a way that was her “baptism of fire” when it comes to forging her deep love of what is known as elder law.
After Emily’s mom passed, her dad went downhill quickly, and Emily and her brother were having to begin the process of navigating the rough “currents” of guardianship, conservatorship, and power of attorney. As tough as it was, it prepared her for what she does best, and that is to be a tireless advocate for the elderly and children, our most vulnerable citizens. There is good news regarding Emily’s dad—he is much improved, and getting excellent care under the watchful eye of his children.
Emily configures her schedule so that she can go visit her clients at home or in whichever facility they reside. Some are at the end of their lives and have thanked her deeply for her assistance in getting their houses in order. Others just need to make changes in their wills, or other legal aspects of their lives, and Emily loves the fact that because she owns her own firm, she can tailor-make her services and schedule to meet their needs. Her commitment to her elderly clients is that she will “seek to preserve their income and assets for use while they are alive.”
Emily and her husband Brian were married in 2008, and are the owners of Geary Farms. They are firm believers in sustainable agriculture, raising organic produce, and treating the land well. They have all kinds of livestock, but the “heart stealers” are the baby goats. A couple of months ago, a nanny did not survive giving birth, and Emily became a “goat-mama.” She had to bring her baby goat to the office in order to feed her every few hours, and the goat was both crate trained and housebroken. Elderly clients would come in, see Lady Justice, hold her, and become visibly calmer within just a few minutes. Animal therapy is a real thing, and everyone was amazed at how much the presence of Lady Justice helped clients in need.
Emily Geary Law specializes in elder law, adoptions, guardianship, conservatorship, power of attorney and social security disability cases. Emily does not do divorces, but she does prepare wills, estates, and handles bankruptcies. She does so in the environs of a charming, comfortable office, and she fights hard for her clients. If you choose to have Emily Geary represent you, you will have as an attorney a woman “who believed that she could, so she did,” as well as a woman of whom it can genuinely be said, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner