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Member Spotlight
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On this page we share interviews by Board Member and
Labor & Employment Law Committee Co-chair Tejash V. Sanchala, Esq. 
with WCBA members about their experiences and insights.
The articles were originally published in the Member Spotlight column in
the WCBA's Westchester Lawyer magazine, We hope you are inspired by
their stories!

Tejash welcomes your comments and suggestions for future columns.
He can be reached here.

  

 

 

 

 

Denise Pagano Ward, Esq.
WCBA Director Representative



 

 


Number of Years as a Member of the WCBA and positions held: 30 years. I am currently a Board Member and previously participated in WCBA Board activities as President of the Mamaroneck-Harrison-Larchmont Bar Association and President of the Port Chester-Rye Bar Association.

My current job and practice area are: I am a partner in Grean & Ward, which through its prior entities, has been in existence since 1925. I primarily practice (1) Estate & Tax Planning for Westchester families; (2) Probate and Estate Administration; and (3) Residential Real Estate Transactions.

How did I decide to be an Estate Planning Lawyer: Hard to believe but I have known that I wanted to be an estate lawyer since I took a impactful trip to Italy when I was just seven years old. My father was appointed executor of my grandmother’s estate and there was a family dispute as to how the estate should be distributed. I witnessed the struggles and difficulties that can come up in a family’s estate battle up close. I decided then that I wanted to be a lawyer to help families solve just those kinds of problems.

One of my favorite legal success stories include: Building on my prior answer, I had a case where three siblings were not speaking with each other when their last parent passed away; things were so bad that they would not attend the funeral or wake at the same time. By the end of the case, the three sisters walked into my office holding hands together. I like to think that I help families come together in difficult times. It can be rewarding work.

People may be surprised to learn: I am a stupendous needle pointer! I have many of my creations in my office including a beautiful needlepointed American Flag and even some multi-dimensional pieces.

If I were not practicing law I would be: in sales. I like to think that I could sell anything!

The best thing I did to improve my skill set as an attorney: I worked with a psychologist to learn how to better elicit information from clients and improve communications with them.

What I splurge on: I am an only child and love to splurge whether it’s on my own personal trainer, my needlepoint hobby or buying gifts for family and friends!

The best hour of my day is: Having a family dinner at home or at a favorite restaurant with my husband and daughter.

Favorite movies: My Cousin Vinny – that is my family!

Favorite television shows: Blue Bloods, Game of Thrones and House of Cards.

Favorite songs: I am a big country music fan and love listening to all kinds of music, from Jason Aldean to Keith Urban to Carrie Underwood to George Strait.

Favorite meal: Pasta—followed by a Ribeye Steak—rare.

My favorite vacation spots: Any place that is warm and has water. I love having a drink on the beach. I have enjoyed going to my home in Italy, the Florida Gold Coast, Maryland Shore, Cape Cod and the Hamptons.

Three things I can’t live without: My family (all of them, including those that don’t listen), a high performance car and my two Tonkinese cats, Cara and Mia.

One of my favorite things to do in Westchester: I enjoy walking the boardwalk in Oakland Beach, which is close to my office. I also enjoy going to the boardwalk in Rye Playland or walking in Glen Island Park. My favorite places to eat are Coal’s Pizza in Portchester and Bronxville, Patsy’s Pizza in New
Rochelle or Ciao’s in Eastchester. Flames in Briarcliff Manor has a great
steak. My father used to own a pizzeria and I know my pizza!

Best advice I ever got: “Stay inside your sandbox.” My first boss, the late Mel Mitzner, at Lawyer’s Title told me to find a specialty and to stick with it. I’ve tried very hard to do that.

My advice to new lawyers: I have 3 pieces of advice – (1) don’t undervalue your work and your services; (2) don’t overbook your day—getting clients is important but scheduling time to do the work is just as important; and (3) find a good mentor. My retired partner, Michael Grean, set a great example as a partner and taught me a great deal about handling clients, and about the business side of the law.

One of my future ambitions: I’d like to teach an American history course at a college (and see Hamilton on Broadway!). And, I’d like to write one of those cozy murder mystery series based upon the practice of an estate planning attorney. I think it could work!

My favorite part of being involved with the WCBA: I believe it is important for attorneys to strive to be collegial and friendly with each other. The WCBA provides a place for attorneys to get to know each other.


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