“My first goal when I meet a new client is to listen to their story,” says Navah Spero, a litigation associate who joined Gravel & Shea in 2011, “to understand why they have the unfortunate luck of having to sit down with a litigator.”
While Navah works on a broad variety of cases—from personal injury to complex contract disputes—her specialty is trusts and estates litigation.
“The challenge of being a litigator,” she says, “is that you’re doing what you love – strategizing and crafting arguments, but for the client, that conflict is the worst part.”
For trusts and estates clients especially, coming to her office means acknowledging that they can’t resolve this problem on their own. With disputes between family members, having to involve a lawyer can cause a lot of emotional turmoil. Navah values the opportunity to guide her clients through a difficult time and help them come to a positive resolution.
Prior to joining the firm, Navah worked as a judicial clerk for a Washington, D.C. judge assigned to the probate docket. There, she developed an understanding of the types of disagreements—like conflicts over will interpretations or the actions of an executor or trustee—that bring family members into probate court, which has its own set of rules, different from those in civil, criminal, or family court. Working with the trusts and estates attorneys at Gravel & Shea, Navah built on that knowledge to combine litigation skills with subject matter expertise in this very technical area of the law.
Doing this work in Burlington, Vermont is the icing on the cake for Navah. After spending a few years in the area before heading to law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., she knew she wanted to move back as quickly as possible. “Burlington,” she says, “has a rare quality. It’s the biggest city around, so even though it feels a lot like a small town, there’s a cosmopolitan vibe. And the people are respectful and friendly.” As the current president of the Chittenden County Bar Association, Navah works to ensure that positive energy exists throughout the local legal community, where she helps develop opportunities for education and connection, building a sense of legal camaraderie.
Whether she’s representing individuals or businesses, what keeps Navah in the game is the strategy. “I appreciate the legal culture here—for the most part, people are respectful and friendly. I play fair, but I never turn away from a good fight,” she says.