Meet the DGVE law Team

Danielle G. Van Ess, J.D.
Attorney & Counselor at Law

Attorney Danielle G. Van Ess founded DGVE law in Hingham in September of 2008 with a vision for a new kind of law firm based on a philosophy of compassionately providing high quality, holistic legal services in a friendly and relaxed manner, in a comfortable setting, and in an environmentally conscientious way.

Danielle enjoys the privilege of working with people of all ages, in all stages of life, from all types of families, through enthusiastic referrals from clients and professional colleagues to their friends, family members, and clients.

As a wife and the mother of four daughters (currently spanning in age from early elementary school to late high school) Danielle understands the time constraints and pressing legal needs of young families. With the experience she has from going through the estate planning process with her husband for their own family, Danielle is able to guide her clients with patience and compassion.

As a sister whose younger brother died way too soon, Danielle also knows the pain of loss of an immediate family member and what it takes to wrap up that loved one's final affairs while grieving. Danielle is able to use both her personal perspective and her professional experience to guide her clients through the process to make a difficult time easier.

A natural teacher, Danielle strives to educate and empower all of her clients providing an uplifting and fulfilling experience throughout the process of working together. She enjoys the counseling that is so much a part of her law practice and wants her clients to feel comfortable contacting her with whatever questions or concerns they have. She is grateful for the lasting relationships she has developed with the client members of our extended DGVE law family who know they can turn to her for assistance whenever the need arises.

Originally from Swampscott on the North Shore, Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with honors from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. After earning her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Boston University School of Law in May of 2001, Danielle earned her license to and was sworn into the practice of law. She then spent 7 years working as a lawyer for national, nonprofit organizations. In 2007, Danielle decided to shift practice areas and pursue her dream of starting her own law firm. Twenty years after graduating law school, in the Fall of 2021, Danielle returned to Boston University School of Law to pursue her Legal Master's degree (LL.M.) in Taxation, with a concentration in trusts and estates, to better serve our clients.

An Officer and Director of the Massachusetts Forum of Estate Planning Attorneys since 2012, Danielle helps to design and contribute to continuing legal education programs for estate planning lawyers throughout Massachusetts and New England. Danielle is grateful for that extended network of collaborative practitioners, with whom she regularly shares ideas and best practices to better serve all our clients.

Danielle is also proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the Hingham Cemetery since early 2019, contributing to the local arts scene through the Ames Chapel series and helping to preserve the unique history of that beautiful, living space we are fortunate to have just a block from our offices on South Street in downtown Hingham Square.


Katie Dugan
Client Services Coordinator

Katie joined DGVE law as our Client Services Coordinator in April 2023.  Since then, she has been the friendly voice at the hub of our firm to connect our clients, trusted professional contacts, and our community, with the appropriate member of our team.

As Client Services Coordinator, Katie provides prospective clients and their advisors general information, and will happily answer introductory questions about how we can help, what to expect in working with our team, and how to get started. She helps callers determine when it makes sense to schedule an attorney consultation to begin the process of creating a strong, lasting relationship with our team.

Katie manages all client scheduling requests and is responsible for all aspects of client management to ensure an easy and pleasant customer experience working with us from start to finish. Katie is responsible for managing the flow of electronic and hard copy paperwork to and from our firm and for providing regular status updates throughout the process of working with us. 

Katie comes to DGVE law with a wealth of client service experience having worked in investment banking, financial planning & analysis, and strategic planning at firms in Boston and New York City. For the past eight years, she has worked as a dedicated volunteer on a variety of town committees in Cohasset including School Committee, Master Plan, Long Range Planning, Post Employment Benefits Committee, and the Zoning Bylaw Working Group. Katie’s super powers are attention to detail, organization and deadline management. She always strives to anticipate client and DGVE law team needs.

Originally from Rochester, NY, she moved to Boston in 2000 and has lived on the South Shore for over 20 years. Katie earned her Bachelor of Arts at Hamilton College in International Relations and her Master in Business Administration from The Wharton School. She is lifelong Continental and continues to support Hamilton College as a Career Center advocate and student networking mentor.


Amber L. Alves

Amber joined DGVE law as our Paralegal in June 2019 and has been working closely with Danielle ever since to deliver top-quality professional legal services for all our clients. Following clients’ meetings with Danielle, Amber is responsible for the initial drafting of clients’ estate planning legal documents and court filings. She assists Danielle in advising clients regarding the practical use of their or their loved one’s legal documents and helps Danielle guide clients through the probate and trust and estate administration processes. Amber also serves as Notary Public.

A lifelong resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Amber earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Plymouth State University (New Hampshire), studying one year abroad at American College in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to joining DGVE law, Amber worked for another local law firm concentrating in the areas of estate planning, real estate, probate, and trust and estate administration.

With her years of experience and professionalism, Amber calmly ensures that all our clients’ important legal documents are ready for thorough review and real-life service as needed. Amber can read Danielle’s scribbly notes and now often also her mind. Amber has a soft heart, a strong spirit, a host of funny sayings, an adorable sneeze, and (related) a gorgeous cat with a fabulous name.

Cristina Martínez Rodríguez
Community Outreach Coordinator

Cristina joined our team in February 2021 as DGVE law’s Community Outreach Coordinator. As such, she is primarily responsible for organizing, scheduling, managing, and tracking the firm’s private and public educational offerings, programs, and materials, including webinars and workshops for other professionals, our clients, their families and friends, and the public. Cristina also manages all requests for community sponsorships and donation requests for the firm.

Cristina also helps our team share valuable information and keep in touch via our e-newsletter, social media channels, and website, ensuring that even as the firm grows, our voice remains authentic and consistent and that our close relationships with our circle of trusted professional advisors and our extended client family, remain intimate and connected. 

Born and raised in Mexico, Cristina earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion and Textile Design from Universidad de Monterrey’s CRGS Art School, with a minor in Fashion Marketing and High Fashion. Although DGVE law is certainly fashionable, Cristina has made the leap from her past work experiences, including an advertisement studio, a sewing workshop, and an international design summer camp in the French countryside, to our law firm.

Cristina is the consummate team member, always eager to pitch in to help. She smiles readily, saying “I don’t know but I’ll figure it out” whenever Danielle has some new idea, and nods knowingly before Danielle finishes a thought, quickly returning visual representations of the same made into form. Cristina also has a great sense of humor and good taste in TV and movies!

Rachel Curry
Asset Coordinator