Written by Nicole Tanaka (California Western School of Law ’21) and originally published online here on April 19, 2022.
Deveney Wells-Gibson’s path to opening her own law firm shows how hard work and dedication can open opportunities for entrepreneurship and making dreams come true.
A Texas native, she completed a business degree and worked in accounting in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area until it did not prove itself as fulfilling as she anticipated. After an honest discussion with her mom, who reminded her of her dreams, Wells-Gibson moved to California to attend California Western School of Law and fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an attorney. Alongside the support of her community, Wells-Gibson gives utmost gratitude to her mother for pushing her back into her passion for helping others.
As an attorney, Wells-Gibson briefly worked for a well-known family law firm and interned in the family law division at the Central Courthouse before taking the leap to open her own firm just months after being sworn in to the bar in 2021. As the recipient of the San Diego Family Law Bar Association (SDFLBA) Bonnie Reading Scholarship, Wells-Gibson is thankful for the opportunities that she was given that inspired her decision to start her own practice.
With the help of California Western’s Access to Law Initiative solo practice assistance program, Wells-Gibson runs a successful family law practice. At Wells-Gibson Family Law, Wells-Gibson and her team help clients with divorce, legal separation, annulments, child custody, alimony, and prenuptial agreements. The mission of her firm is to deliver quality legal services surrounded by the principles of honesty, loyalty, integrity, and downright hard work.
Wells-Gibson recently launched the Divorce It Yourself Program™ as part of her law practice. Through this unique program, Wells-Gibson offers legal support on a more affordable basis to litigants involved in an uncontested or default divorce case.
In the busy year that she’s been operating, Wells-Gibson has hired two associates and a law clerk to assist in her practice. She is a firm believer that if you take care of yourself and your team members, you will be better equipped and ready to take care of your clients. She is grateful that this community has supported the growth of her practice in such a short period of time. She has plans to grow her practice and add more people to her team as she continues to stay busy.
Now a second-year attorney, Wells-Gibson recognizes how much the community has given her and continues to give back time and energy. In addition to running a successful practice and taking pro bono cases through her firm, she is a volunteer with Free to Thrive, a San Diego-based clinic that provides mobile, holistic, and trauma-informed legal services to victims and survivors of human trafficking. She also sits on the SDCBA’s Modest Means Panel, a program designed to help low-income individuals with limited financial resources find family law counsel. Wells-Gibson additionally volunteers with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program and helps her alma mater through the Community Law Project.
To be the best lawyer for her clients she stressed the need for due diligence, honesty, and boundaries. To be competent is required, but to be honest is essential. Not in the business to give false hope, she finds that her clients appreciate an honest discussion rather than talks of unrealistic expectations. She articulated, “I don’t sugar coat things. I want to be honest with clients. These conversations are tough and oftentimes emotional for the clients. But, I remind them of the bigger picture, inform them of what they’re legally entitled to, and help them to move forward with their lives.”
Her biggest piece of advice to new lawyers and seasoned lawyers alike is to remember that people are far more capable than they think they are. As a new attorney with a blossoming practice, she resonates with the quote best spoken by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or can’t – either way you’re right.” She declares, “Remember to trust yourself and your abilities, but also know there is a time and a place to lean on others for guidance, assistance, and encouragement, so it is important to surround yourself with people who do that for you.”