Michelle Garcia Gilbert
Managing Partner // Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A./Sapphire Title & Escrow Company

Michelle Garcia Gilbert was first drawn to the practice of law in order to help people, and that this remains a strong appeal for her, “especially in our other practice areas of guardianship and probate.” She explained, “We handle guardian advocacy cases, which allows developmentally disabled adults to have guardians once they turn 18.” Having practiced for 34 years now, she noted that “Female attorneys tend to be in the minority in a room of fellow attorneys,” explaining that this can often limit mentorship opportunities for women in the financial services law sector. Gilbert said that she tries to offset the gender imbalance “by not being intimidated and by proactively reaching out to male colleagues for assistance.” After more than three decades spent in service of the law, Gilbert said that becoming the owner of her own firm more than a decade ago remains one of her proudest career accomplishments. Looking to the year ahead, Gilbert noted that the industry will continue to operate in the shadow of COVID-19 and its consequences. “Tech-savvy attorneys—which default attorneys are—can utilize processes and automation not only to handle default legal services but also to manage forbearance alternatives, and asset management services to help lenders and servicers, like another outsource vendor.” While this year had presented numerous challenges, Gilbert told DS News that her commitment to proactively improving her firm, including purchasing the building from which they operate in 2015, has proven invaluable. “We have commercial tenants and an additional revenue stream,” she said. “[These efforts] helped the firm to weather the ups and downs of default servicing legal work.”