Spotlight on Christine A. Gilsinan
by Reg Turnbull
The spotlight this month is on experienced Elder Law practitioner, Christine Ann Gilsinan. Born in Chicago in 1947, she grew up on the city’s northwest side and attended Our Lady of the Angels Grammar School and graduated from Madonna High School in 1965. She has been a Certified Elder Law Attorney (certified by the National Elder Law Foundation) since 2005 and has her office in Webster Groves where she has practiced for over 20 years.
Christine earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Loyola University of Chicago in 1969. At Loyola, she met her husband, James Gilsinan, who is currently the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Collaborative Education at St. Louis University. Christine and James moved from Chicago to Denver where she earned her law degree from the University of Denver in 1975 and James earned his PhD in Sociology from the University of Colorado (Boulder).
In 1976 Christine and James moved to St. Louis where James began his career at St. Louis University and Christine began her legal career, working for the National Labor Relations Board as a general labor attorney. Changing directions after three years with the Labor Board, she opened a law practice emphasizing estate planning and probate/trust administration.
“It seemed that I had many clients whose parents had difficulties, and I gravitated to Elder Law in addition to the typical estate planning and administration work.” Early on, Christine had an interest in computer systems and technology, which she concluded would help her in private practice. Technology, along with her legal assistant of over twenty years, Helen Paulik, allows her, as a solo practitioner, to practice law more efficiently.
“Time Matters is the system that our office uses which fully integrates calendaring, clients, documents, notes, emails, contacts, and billing,” Christine said. “I used to consult with and train lawyers in the use of technology because I saw that every law office needs technology just to keep up. Linking all information relating to a client and the client’s case enables the attorney to quickly answer questions and get up to speed in dealing with elder law and other professionals serving our clients.”
In addition to technology, Christine has had a longstanding interest in mediation. “Many misunderstandings and disputes among families can benefit from mediation, and I try to steer my clients toward a mediation process when clients bring them to my attention,” she said. She recently became a Rule 17 qualified Missouri mediator and has acquired advanced training the area of elder mediation.
Christine is the communications vice chair of the Elder Law Committee. She has also been active in St. Louis Metropolitan Bar Association activities as well as the state chapters and as a presenter for national meetings of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She was recently elected treasurer of the Missouri Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
James and Christine have two children. Daughter Kathy Gilsinan is an associate editor for World Politics Review in New York City. Kathy obtained her master’s degree in international policy at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, after earning her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, New York, in Political Science and Economics. Son James Gilsinan, IV, received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and now is a software engineer for Microsoft in Redmond, WA.
Like many of us with family members living in other parts of the country, Christine does not have much free time. The activities that she said that she most enjoys are “time spent with my family, friends, public radio and television, the New York Times and travelling (anywhere) with my husband.”
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