About

Heidi Mahlum

I remember studying something about real estate while attending Concord Law School in Los Angeles, looking up from my book, and wondering why I never learned back in high school whatever it was I was studying for my law school class. That was a surprising thought, considering I didn’t start law school until I was 44 years old. At my age, I thought I knew a lot about living with the law. I also wondered why I hadn’t learned some of these things in college at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California. Okay, I recovered enough from that pesky thought to keep studying. You don’t stop studying for long in law school and stay in law school.

The trouble was that I kept looking up from my studies and thinking the same thing: why didn’t I learn that in high school, before I might have gone out and done some youthful bone-headed move that might have made a mess of my future? Lucky for me, I didn’t make one of those moves but I may have come real close, and maybe more than just once. We won’t discuss that.
After law school, I almost immediately became a Deputy Public Defender in Southern California and that same thought confronted me daily: WHY DON’T WE TEACH KIDS IN HIGH SCHOOL HOW TO LOOK OUT FOR THEMSELVES WHEN THEY’RE NO LONGER KIDS? After all, people legally become adults once they turn 18. My clients were criminal defendants. The large majority of them were between 18 and 30, I’d say. Many of my clients wanted to enter pleas to reduced charges just to get the situation over with, and even if I warned them of the impact a criminal plea would have on their futures. My older clients knew exactly what could happen, many were living with bad youthful decisions, and they were willing to fight back. Almost all of my clients, regardless of their age, seemed to wish they could turn back time. They couldn’t.

Before I worked as an attorney, I worked in Social Services for more than 20 years. In one role or another, I helped poor people get back on their feet, or at least that was the goal. I found that many of my clients lived a lower standard than they otherwise had to because of past mistakes handling money. It is amazing what a bad credit rating, or a bankruptcy, can do to a person’s quality of life! If you bring a criminal conviction into the picture, you also see adults earning less than they otherwise could have and appealing to others for financial help. And guess what? Most of my Social Services clients were young, too. It was so sad to see people facing such long-lasting stress so early in their adult lives.

After all those years of college, law school, and just living adult life as a wife, mom, employee, I just knew my goal was to get the message out to people entering adulthood: the law will treat you as an adult. Adult situations can be harsh and long lasting. But most importantly, INFORMATION IS KEY. INFORMATION NEEDS TO BE ACCESSIBLE.

I developed the IllumenEdge 18 training modules to teach young adults enough about laws to make better decisions and avoid legal consequences resulting from ignorance about laws. My promise is that I will keep this information up-to-date as laws change, and to provide thoughtful discussion in frequent blog posts related to current events. Information is key. And now this information is available on all the gear we love so well, wherever and whenever we find a few minutes to learn.

Want to talk in person, or have me speak to your group? Contact me, and we’ll set it up!

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