Jackie Stiles, Esq.
Partner, Biel & Stiles, P.A.
Interviewer: Nicole McCann, Esq.
On February 28, 2019, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jackie Stiles, Esq., of Biel and Stiles, P.A. Jackie has been selected as the February/ March Lawyer of Atlantic County (“LOAC”). We are so thrilled to have Jackie selected as LOAC as she is retiring this month! The YLD’s Chair-Elect, Inna Pokrovnichka, shared her thoughts on the newest LOAC:
I have the pleasure and good fortune of having Jackie as my mentor. She has fascinated and inspired me since our first meeting. The first time I met Jackie I was impressed not only by her professionalism, but, more importantly, by her kindness and willingness to reach out to me. As a young lawyer, having an experienced attorney reach out and offer unconditional support, guidance and encouragement means a lot. It means even more when that experienced attorney is a fellow female attorney. Most importantly, what makes Jackie a great mentor and role model, is her ability to lead by example!
Jackie was also recently awarded the 2018 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award by the ACBA. When given the news about her LOAC selection, Jackie shared that she could not think of “a better way to go out!” Although the legal profession is losing an incredible practitioner, we wish Jackie the best in her retirement and thank her for her years of community service!
How long have you been an Atlantic County resident?
I have lived in Atlantic County my entire life. I grew up in Mays Landing, and, now, my husband and I live in Galloway.
How long have you practiced in Atlantic County?
Well, after high school, I began as a legal secretary at Blatt, Blatt and Mairone. I went to Atlantic Cape Community (“ACCC”) and, then, Stockton University, where I graduated with a degree in management. I actually stayed at Blatt, Blatt and Mairone throughout my career and, after a few name changes, the firm became Biel and Stiles! Now, as a Partner at Biel and Stiles, I focus my practice in Guardianships, Family Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate.
How did you first get involved in the Atlantic County community?
I started teaching at ACCC in order to give back to Atlantic County. ACCC was where it all began for me and I thought it the most appropriate way to begin giving back. I serve as an Adjunct Professor teaching Wills and Estates, Real Estate Transactions and Litigation Procedures. I am also a Member of the ACCC Advisory Counsel.
Are you involved with any charitable or professional organizations?
I have been an active member of the ACBA for years and served as a Trustee in the past. I was Chairperson of the ACBA Home to Work Clothing Drive, which collects professional women’s clothing for donation to the Atlantic County Women’s Center, Covenant House and Alcove Family Services.
In addition, I have had other past appointments as an Executive Committee Member of the Vincent S. Haneman Inn of Court, Chair and Secretary of the District I Ethics Committee and Chairperson of the March of Dimes Walk of America.
Through the many activities and organizations you are involved with, which is the most rewarding?
I find all of my organizational involvement rewarding for a variety of different reasons.
The District Ethics Committee is so professionally rewarding. The Committee is such a necessary part of our profession because we must monitor ourselves and our peers to ensure that we are held out to the public in the best light possible. It can be difficult to investigate a peer. However, there are times when an attorney did not commit any wrong and, in those cases, it is very rewarding to be able to help them through the process.
Then, there is the Women’s Clothing Drive, which is very personally rewarding. The Drive gives women with no professional clothing the opportunity to walk into a large dressing room and pick an outfit perfect for them. The women get very excited and leave extremely appreciative.
As a seasoned attorney, what is the best advice you could give young attorneys?
Firstly, and most importantly, be prepared! I cannot say it enough!
Secondly, I think attorneys need to remember is that our goal, as some person’s or entity’s representation, is to help resolve issues. We need to have an eye toward resolutions. We must advocate for our clients, but a great attorney does not need a big ego or bully mentality to do so.
Lastly, I would urge any attorney, regardless of seniority, to remember to make time for him or herself. It is important to have a work-life balance, but, beyond that, you must do things you love outside of the office. Having time off is not enough, you have to fill that time with activities and people you love.
During your years practicing, what passion helped you maintain a work-life balance?
I love to travel! When I graduated high school, I promised myself I would take a trip every year. So far, I have kept my promise! This month my husband and I will be embarking on our longest trip yet. As a retirement trip, we will be venturing to New Zealand and Australia for six weeks. We have an incredible itinerary professionally planned to make the most of our time there. When we first approached the travel company, we requested a four-week itinerary; however, we received a six-week one. As we flipped page-by-page through the itinerary as thick as a law school book, we could not bring ourselves to cancel a single day or even hour! So, we committed to the entire six-week trip!