History: Helping families & individuals find their way forward since 2006
Sarah E. C. Malia, MS, JD, is an elder law attorney, collaborator and mediator, fiduciary, and family studies educator. Since 2006 she has advocated for and served clients in the elder law realm, sharing her holistic approach to unraveling life’s tangles. Sarah has extensive training and experience in elder and family law and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. She has worked “in the trenches” as a court-appointed or private agent in various fiduciary capacities.
Sarah graduated with honors with a B.S. in Family Studies from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK). She received her J.D. in Law and M.S. in Family Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). Along with maintaining a solo legal practice, since 2011 Sarah has taught in the Child & Family Studies Department at UTK. Before retiring, Sarah’s mother used to teach the same introductory family dynamics survey course and still assists Sarah in teaching, allowing them to have some fun together while amusing students observing real-life mother-daughter dynamics that illustrate class concepts. Basic legal education is incorporated in her classes related to estate planning, elder and family law, and public policy.
In many ways Sarah follows in the footsteps of her beloved parents, Drs. James and Julia Malia, retired UTK professors and community activists. Her parents both became trained mediators in the 1980s in Iowa and were a part of a select group of local folks who helped establish Knoxville’s Community Mediation Center in the 1990s. Growing up in such a family meant Sarah absorbed negotiation and conflict management skills practically before she learned to walk (and has honed them as an adult through formal trainings and work experience). She embraces their legacy of valuing learning, research, teaching, and giving back to community through service.
As an elder law attorney and educator, Sarah believes that self-care is critical and tries to practice what she preaches. Sarah dedicates time to community service and healthy play in balance with her lawyering and teaching duties. Sarah—and her family—have found that tai chi and qigong provide excellent health and social benefits for folks of all ages and levels of ableness. She has practiced various tai chi forms and has become certified in Tai Chi for Arthritis. ⬦