Member Spotlight: Klaralee Charlton

Meet Klaralee Charlton, a Montanan with her JD from the University of Utah and her masters of taxation from DU. Klaralee says she would be a chef if she wasn’t a lawyer. Klaralee works at Katz, Look & Onorato in estate administration.

Dear DBA Young Lawyers,

We love getting to know you better! We are going to spotlight a member of the DBA-YLD every other week. If you are interested in being highlighted contact Heather Clark.

kcharltonWhere are you from? Montana! And anyone from Montana knows that when you meet a fellow Montanan, you have a unique connection. I’ve had people at red lights roll down their windows and yell, “Hey, I saw your plates. Are you from Montana? Do you know the (insert generic last name like Smiths or Johnsons)?”

Where did you go to undergrad and law school? My undergraduate education at Bryn Mawr College was one of the best decisions of my life. The rigorous academics at this all women’s liberal arts institution outside Philadelphia amply prepared me to earn my law degree at the University of Utah and my masters of taxation at the University of Denver.

Where are you working and what is your practice area? I landed my dream job as an associate with Katz, Look & Onorato last year. I predominantly practice in their estate administration division and focus much of my time on the tax related aspects of the field, including preparing fiduciary income tax returns for trusts and estates.

What led you to that practice area? During undergrad, I built the volunteer income tax assistance site at Bryn Mawr from about five volunteers to over 30. This nationwide program provides free tax preparation services to seniors and low income families. This sparked my initial interest in taxes and tax law which grew throughout law school and led me to furthering my understanding of the topic  in the LLM program.

Any advice for other, young lawyers? Even though the legal market is still tough out there, don’t settle for just any job.  Find a practice area you’re excited about and a work atmosphere that will challenge you. If you’re already employed, do your best to instill trust in your employer by doing thorough research, meeting deadlines, and coming forward when you realize you’ve made a mistake.

If you weren’t a lawyer, you’d be? A chef. I really enjoy cooking and developing delicious and healthy recipes. My favorite ingredients are sesame oil and red chili pepper flakes. My go-to recipe is lettuce wraps made with tofu and quinoa topped with an amazing peanut sauce.

Social media network of choice?  Contact information? Since my firm blocks Facebook, I’m considering getting a MySpace account. Until then, email me at

On your desk right now: About 30 client files taking up every inch of free space. An outdated Bluebook. A copy of the internal revenue code. Dental floss. Three empty mugs with those dried coffee rings down the side. And a dog biscuit to keep my weekend helper energized.

Most random job you have ever had: The summer between undergrad and law school I worked for a rafting company on the Weber River driving guests back and forth to the river. It certainly was not the most mentally stimulating job, but wearing shorts and flip flops to work is so much better than wearing suit jackets and heels!

Posted in Career Development, Member Profiles

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