You are listening to an excerpt from Ask the Experts on Talk 860 WWDB AM with weekly guest, LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo.
It’s the holiday edition of Ask The Experts!
Host Steve O and Angela talk about:
• Family Law and Estate Planning during the holiday months
• Finding the right LGBTQ friendly lawyer
• An in-depth look into the ABCs of LGBTQ name changing
• Angela’s holiday wish for the one law she would change in PA if she could.
And much more!
Speaker 1 (00:01)
You’re listening to an excerpt from Ask The Experts on Talk 860 WWAM with weekly guest LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo. It’s the holiday edition of Ask the Experts. Host Steve O and Angela talk about family law and estate planning during the holiday months. Finding the right LGBTQ friendly lawyer, an in depth look into the ABCs of LGBTQ name changing. And Steve surprises Angela by asking her what her holiday wish would be for the one law she would change in Pennsylvania if she could.
Speaker 2 (00:38)
Hey, good morning, Philadelphia. Welcome to another sex expert show. We’re with you every Tuesday with attorney Angela Jim Polo. And she’s an attorney. She handles LGBTQ law. But not only that, she does family law, employment law, estate planning and real estate law. And she is becoming one of my favorite shows because we’re in eight cities, so that’s big. But let’s welcome attorney Angela Jim Paulo.
Speaker 3 (01:17)
Thank you. Steve. How are you this morning?
Speaker 2 (01:19)
Well, look what’s behind you.
Speaker 3 (01:22)
It’s the Christmas episode. Oh, my gosh, it’s beautiful. Thank you.
Speaker 2 (01:29)
Are you at office or at home today?
Speaker 3 (01:32)
Neither. I’m at the Marriott. This is all thanks to our sponsor. No, I’m kidding. So, yeah, no, I’m traveling and I saw this and I figured this would be a great background for our show.
Speaker 2 (01:46)
What a great background. How are you doing?
Speaker 3 (01:50)
Good. I love this time of year. Christmas is my absolute favorite. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, If I’m not already a happy person, I’m even happier.
Speaker 2 (02:00)
Is it any different during the holidays, especially with family law as it is in other months?
Speaker 3 (02:10)
Sure. That is a great question. Every practice area is a little bit different for the holidays. And I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I would say literally every other year except this one. Estate planning, completely, no pun intended, dies down between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where nobody wants to spend disposable income during the holidays on potentially death and dying. Right. Thanksgiving to Christmas is always a slow time for estate planning. This year, that has not been the case. Everyone is being proactive. I don’t know if it’s the Omicron variant rearing its head during this time that made people realize like, oh, my God, this pandemic is never leaving us. We didn’t do it the first time. I don’t know what is different about this Thanksgiving to Christmas, but everybody is calling me about preventative, proactive type things like a prenup or estate planning or what have you. Family law, to your point around dissolutions and divorces and whatnot, there’s always an uptick because the holidays make it more like it’s one or the other. Either people are calling for a consultation, but they plan on doing something in the new year, but they don’t want to rock the boat during the holidays or the holidays really put them over the edge and they can’t get through the holidays without beginning this process.
Speaker 3 (03:41)
And so it’s one or the other. But either way, if people are thinking about it. They typically reach out during the holidays. But yeah, this year for estate planning, it has been a banner year where people are reaching out during the holidays.
Speaker 2 (03:56)
You know, we’ve shared this with people. You were taking her message out on the road.
Speaker 3 (04:03)
So to say I am. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (04:07)
Which is amazing. I am in awe of you because you’re not just going to major cities, you’re going to the heart of the beast, the heart. You’re really going to be out there. Just so people understand you handle LGBTQ law, will you be encompassing all areas like you do here in Philadelphia? Family employment, estate planning and real estate?
Speaker 3 (04:46)
Absolutely. And corporate and transgender name changes. Everything that I do that falls under the rubric of LGBTQ law will be encompassed in my nationwide expansion. Because all of those areas I mean, ultimately, when I started the law firm in 2008, the idea was to gear a law firm towards the LGBTQ community for all of their legal needs. So even if it doesn’t fall under one of the areas that I handle or that my firm handles, we will still find a lawyer for you that we trust. I don’t do bankruptcy, but I have a go to bankruptcy attorney that I trust. I don’t do criminal defense. But there are LGBTQ people that need criminal defense, and I go through bankruptcy or that have tax issues. So if it’s an area of law that I don’t handle, we will find someone that I trust implicitly that can help you. And then our firm will obviously handle the areas that we do handle.
Speaker 2 (05:50)
Somebody just asked me this morning before the show who actually lives in New York and listens to our show on Iheartradio wants to know if you’re going to be doing any work in the New York area.
Speaker 3 (06:09)
Yeah. So we have reciprocity between Pennsylvania and New York. So I myself will be getting licensed in New York. Arizona is our first expansion location where I believe in March, March or April of 2022 will be in Arizona, but New York will be soon, and that will be myself getting licensed in New York. We won’t have a physical office right at the outset, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Exactly. It doesn’t matter anymore. And with the Acela train, I’m there in an hour in order to meet with people. So, yes, definitely. New York is on the early side of our expansion, and Arizona is our furthest West Coast expansion state.
Speaker 2 (07:04)
Well, and we’ve learned so much from Zooming. That’s how we do our show. This is a live show. A lot of shows out there are tape shows. Ours is live. We’re going to be talking about before we get started because again, there’s always new people tuning in every week. Just tell people about your firm. You have the greatest story of how you got started.
Speaker 3 (07:34)
The greatest stories are always the most random stories. I feel like, so yes, I was going to be an international human rights lawyer. And that was always sort of the dream. And I was going to travel the world and work on international human rights issues. And I got there, I was doing that. I succeeded at that. And so I was living in Beijing and I had worked in human trafficking there. And then I was working at the war crimes tribunal for the Rwandan genocide and working on genocide and crimes against humanity. And then I quickly realized that that is not what I feasibly could do for the rest of my life while remaining sort of empathetic human, but dealing with genocide and crimes against humanity and human trafficking all day, every day takes its toll on people. And so I realized that’s not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And so came back to Philadelphia and I at that point had no idea what I was going to do. And for seven months walked around aimlessly, thought my work ethic had gone out the window. And one night I’m having drinks with a gay couple friend of mine, friends for a long time.
Speaker 3 (08:54)
And they’re like, I met one of your kind today and I was like a lawyer? And they’re like, yeah. And so I was like, oh my God, why did you have to meet with a lawyer? And so they laughed. And this was long before we thought marriage equality would ever become a thing, right? So this is like if I opened my firm in 2008, this was like 2007. And so one of them is out of the country and here illegally and they couldn’t get married and they never thought that they could get married. So how could they form and they owned a business together, so how could they protect their assets as if they were legally married without being able to get legally married and as well as their businesses and estate planning. And so there were all these practice areas that came into helping them recreate a legal marriage. So they went to a lawyer and the guy in one of the skyscrapers, 47th floor of whatever, and the guy, they walk in and the guy is like, oh, you’re business partners. And my friends like, no friends, no brothers? No. And the guy just kept digging the hole, digging and digging deeper and deeper.
Speaker 3 (10:12)
And so then finally the guy, his voice gets real low and the air quotes come up and he’s like, partners, partners. And if ever you have to lower your voice and air quotes come up, just know that whatever’s about to come out of your mouth is not good, okay? And so my friends like, yes, we’re life partners. And so totally not thinking that they hired them because of that. I was like, well, I know a couple of lawyers that are totally cool with the fact that you’re gay. I can refer you. And he’s like, no, we gave him a $5,000 retainer check. And my mouth did what yours did. My jaw hit the floor. And I was like, seriously? And he’s like, well, and we don’t have a ton of options out there. And he’s good at what he does, regardless of the fact that he’s not necessarily comfortable with us being gay. And then it just clicked, right? Human rights has always been my passion. And I’m 4’11”. They say it’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog. And that’s my motto. And we were then and are now an underdog in this country.
Speaker 3 (11:19)
So it’s on me then. This is the human rights issue that I will work on for the rest of my life. I am a lesbian. We are the underdogs. We do have human rights issues right here in the US. And Giampolo Law Group was born like that. And then Philly Gay Lawyer is the advocacy arm of what it is that I do. So that is how Giamoplo Law Group was born.
Speaker 2 (11:45)
Angela, if you look back on your career, you really care about people. Everything you’ve done is about caring for other people.
Speaker 3 (12:02)
I think that’s why I don’t understand how so many lawyers are miserable. I don’t understand it. I think it’s because not many lawyers enter the field truly from a place of wanting to help people. There are no lawyers in my family. That’s not true. There was one lawyer in my family, my uncle, who passed away. But he was the only lawyer in my whole family. And I didn’t grow up with him. He lived in California. I lived in Quebec. So all to say I didn’t grow up in a family of lawyers. It’s not like my parents were lawyers and I was the 7th generation of lawyers and you just knew that you were going to become a lawyer. It was nothing like that. I mean, we’re blue collar raised by a single mom. And so becoming a lawyer is and was a privilege and an honor. And I do it to help people. And I love what I do.
Speaker 2 (13:04)
You know what? There’s attorneys out there because I deal with them every day that do say they care about what they do, what they do. But I got to tell you, you walk the walk and talk the talk. You really do. I don’t think I’ve ever said that to you, but I think it is so amazing. So can you imagine make an appointment with Angela. And you know what? You’re working in an area that we’re not 100% accepted, which is really sad. And you’re walking into an attorney’s office not knowing what to expect. This is so great that you could sit down with Angela. She’s going to understand your problems. She cares. I mean, I don’t want this to turn into a commercial, but it’s just always so spot on what you want to do now and down the road because I am like amazed.
Speaker 3 (14:12)
And don’t forget, Niko will be there. I travel with him.
Speaker 2 (14:19)
Angela is showing her little dog. It’s amazing.
Speaker 3 (14:26)
So give everybody your phone number, 215-6452 415.
Speaker 2 (14:33)
And give them your website, giampololaw.com.
Speaker 3 (14:37)
And you can find my blog at phillygaylawyer.com.
Speaker 2 (14:41)
I love shopping, Angela, and it’s on my list of things I wanted to tell her today. So I live here in South Florida and there’s somewhat in certain areas of Fort Lauderdale, there’s a big LGBTQ community. And I knew this already. But I have people I know there’s an area that own restaurants, some of the finest restaurants and chefs in a place called Wilton Manor. And I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a chef owner at a restaurant, Wilton Manor. And I told them about Angela and what she is doing now. Here’s a guy who lives and works in Wilton Manor, which is a huge LBGTQ community. And the first thing he said to me was that is incredible. And for him to say that because you would think there’s other attorneys, but just because you put I got to say this, just because you put on your website, LGBTQ doesn’t mean you really understand.
Speaker 3 (16:21)
Right. Or even practice it. Right. Absolutely. Or even practice it. I know a ton of attorneys who are really criminal defense attorneys and then put an LGBTQ page up on their website around family law. And it’s like you don’t even do family law. Yeah. It’s become an SEO play. That is unfortunate. But for lawyers that really, truly live in and work in the community, it’s not as often that you find that.
Speaker 2 (16:57)
Well, he’s actually listening to today’s show and he will be excused because when you’re in the restaurant business, you work late hours. So I will understand if he’s not. But he said, I’m going to listen today. So Jack Fool, you’re getting the plug.
Speaker 3 (17:17)
Speaker 2 (17:19)
So Angela, can anyone change their name?
Speaker 3 (17:25)
Yeah. So anyone can change their name that wants to change their name. And a lot of people know that when they get married, you get a free name change, if you will, when you’re getting married, but only up to a certain degree. You can make your last name your middle name. You can take a new last name, but those are about the only changes that you can do for free in the midst with a marriage license. And right now, in the last couple of years, I’ve seen a big trend of people getting married and wanting a new last name, a combined last name. Right. So taking the last name of both people and combining them, like if you’re Schultz and Sullivan and creating a new last name out of those two, that’s not considered. That’s not free with your marriage, you actually need to go through a name change in order to do that. And then obviously my transgender clients who are transitioning and want to take on a new name that is obviously a complete new name change. So anyone can change their name. And it just depends if you’re doing it in the process of getting married, whether or not you want a completely new last name.
Speaker 2 (18:45)
What is the process like?
Speaker 3 (18:48)
So again, it would be different depending on the why, right. If you’re getting married or if it’s a transgender name change. But the process is fairly simple in Philadelphia. So differs county by county by county and especially state to state. It’s a completely different process. But if it’s a transgender name change, we get all of the biographical information, we get your ID, we get your birth certificate, Social Security card, all of that. And a one sentence as to why you want to change your name. So in your own words, one sentence as to why. And it’s costly. In fees alone, you’re looking at $1,000 just in cost to the city of Philadelphia. It’s archaic, but we have to publish in two periodicals, and they do that just in case. Again, it’s archaic. So imagine 300 years ago when all they had was to be able to read the newspaper, and everybody read the newspaper for everything. And so if you were trying to avoid creditors, if the creditor was reading the newspaper, they would see, oh, this person is changing their name, trying to avoid the debt that they owe me. So we have to publish in two periodicals.
Speaker 3 (20:14)
But for my transgender clients, we can get that waived for safety reasons. And there’s a filing fee, a very hefty filing fee with the Court of Common pleas. And I can also get that waived for my transgender clients for just the cost associated with it. So that’s all in right there. It’s about $900 worth of fees that we can get you waived in Philadelphia County. So that’s huge. So then once we file so with all of that, we file the name change petition. And then when we get the court date, then you go and you get clearances from Family Court. You get clearances from Family Court saying that there’s no child support judgments against you. Then you go to the Court of Common Pleas and you get a civil judgment clearance saying that there are no judgments against you. And again, the idea being is that you’re not changing your name to avoid child support judgment or to avoid a judgment against you. So then we get those clearances, and then you get fingerprinted, and that goes up to the FBI to make sure that there’s nothing federally that you’re trying to avoid. So the process is really all about safeguarding creditors and the government from you potentially changing your name to avoid all of that.
Speaker 3 (21:36)
And then once we have all of that, we provide that to the court, and then we have a hearing in the name change Department, where we put everything on the record, your name, your address, the reason why you want to change your name, all of the clearances that we’ve provided, and then you have a lot of work involved, and it takes a long time. I mean, so many people come to me wanting their name changed for usually graduation. So they usually come to me at the beginning of the year wanting their name change so that their chosen name that they want is on their diploma. Sorry, I couldn’t think of the word diploma, diploma decree or what have you. And it takes a long time from the minute we file to getting the court date, we’re looking at four to six weeks. Then we finally get the court date, and then it takes months to get to the court date. Then we have the hearing, and then it takes a couple of months before we get the judge to sign off on the name change decree. So minimally, give yourself six to eight months before I can hand you a name change decree.
Speaker 2 (22:54)
Wow. Angela, I’ve got so many questions for you, but there’s a question I’m just oozing to ask you. If you had to change one statute in Pennsylvania, what would you change?
Speaker 3 (23:12)
Speaker 2 (23:13)
Like of any law whatsoever that’s related to the LGBTQ community?
Speaker 3 (23:21)
Well, I mean, hands down, it would be to have employment discrimination protections in Pennsylvania. That would be obviously the macro one. We have it federally now due to the Supreme Court and the Bostock case. But to say that the Pennsylvania legislature cared enough to do that would be huge. And then just because we’re talking about name changes, making it easier for the transgender community to change their name, there are a lot of laws out of the whole process that I just described to you. There are a lot of things that could be made easier. For instance, the filing fee not being so expensive and the clearances.
Speaker 2 (24:17)
There’s a lot that I can shorten the time that it takes.
Speaker 3 (24:21)
Yeah. Shorten the time that it would take, the cost associated, the need for all the clearances, publishing in two periodicals when no one’s reading these things, it’s really just a cost associated for no reason. So, yeah, all of that.
Speaker 2 (24:39)
Well, I got to tell you, every week I learned so much from you, and you know how excited I am for you that you’re going to be branching out Angela is with us the first every week at 10:00. Just give everybody your phone number.
Speaker 3 (25:00)
Sure. So you can give me a call at 215-6452 415. And my website is www.giampololaw.com. And you can also find my [email protected].
Speaker 2 (25:17)
When are you going to do your first book?
Speaker 3 (25:26)
Exactly? In my spare time. Definitely in 2022. That is earmarked for 2022 for sure.
Speaker 2 (25:34)
Well, Angela, thanks again, as always, for being with us. We’ll see you again next week. Enjoy your travel. Travel safe, always. We’ll see you next week, bye.
Speaker 1 (25:48)
See be sure to tune in every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. When Angela Giampolo is the guest on Ask the experts on 860 www.Dbam and [email protected].