Meet the DGVE law Team

Danielle G. Van Ess
Attorney & Counselor at Law

Attorney Danielle G. Van Ess founded DGVE law out of her home 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 high school) Danielle completely 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. She is able to use both her personal perspective and her professional experience to guide her clients through the process of wrapping up their loved one's final affairs.

At DGVE law, our mission is to provide exceptional client service while making the process of obtaining high quality, professional legal advice and counseling as quick and easy as possible. 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. 

Danielle 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.

A long time Officer and Director of the Massachusetts Forum of Estate Planning Attorneys, 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.

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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.

Asset Coordinator

We are actively seeking a new Asset Coordinator to join our team.  Our Asset Coordinator works closely with the Attorney, our clients, and their financial advisors and accountants to help ensure that our clients' wills, trusts, & estate plans work in practice as our clients intend by providing guidance regarding asset alignment as well as hands on trust funding services. Our Asset Coordinator also serves as our resident spreadsheet and numbers expert, assisting with client billing and basic bookkeeping and financial reporting for the firm.

For more information about the job, including the required skills and experience, please click here. Send your résumé and a cover letter explaining why you are the right person for this particular position in this law firm. Include your compensation and benefits requirements. Incomplete applications are disqualified. We are unable to respond personally to every application we receive. Please do not contact our office to inquire as to the receipt or status of your application. We will contact you directly should we wish to schedule an interview.

Rachel Curry
Client Services Coordinator

Rachel joined DGVE law as our Client Services Coordinator in early 2021. Since then, she has been managing all client intake, appointment scheduling, and follow-up, as well as matter management, to ensure an easy and pleasant (if not downright enjoyable!) client experience working with us from start to finish. Now with Lizzy’s help as our new Intake Coordinator, Rachel will be able to concentrate more exclusively on serving our existing clients’ needs.

Rachel is the friendly voice at the hub of our firm, serving as our clients’ central point of contact for everything related to sharing and managing the flow of electronic and hard copy paperwork, appointment scheduling for our entire team, responding to general questions, providing follow up information throughout the process of working with us, and connecting our clients, trusted professional contacts, as well as our community, with the appropriate member of our team.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Social Work from Salem State University’s School of Social Work and her Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Middlesex Community College. Prior to joining the DGVE law team, she worked as a Legal Administrative Assistant for an estate planning, probate, and elder law firm in Massachusetts. Rachel moved from the ’burbs and college to Boston, just in time for COVID-19, so once this pandemic passes, Rachel has some serious exploring of local restaurants, arts, and culture to do. Meanwhile, she both calms us and makes us laugh with her sensitive, soothing demeanor and mannerisms while pitching in all over the firm as needed to help with that social work background of hers.

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!

Lizzy Botha
Intake Coordinator

Lizzy joined DGVE law in December 2021 to serve as our new Intake Coordinator to provide prospective clients and their advisors more information and answer their introductory questions about how we can help, what to expect in working with our team, and how to get started. Lizzy will help determine when it makes sense to schedule an attorney consultation to begin the process of creating strong, lasting relationships with our team and help schedule that appointment.

Lizzy brings years of experience, a knack for easy interpersonal communication, a passion for helping people, and resilient positivity to our team. She is already demonstrating deep engagement, strong motivation, and a clear commitment to helping us provide exceptional client service right from the first contact people have with our firm. Lizzy seeks to help us ensure consistently open and engaged communication with everyone who reaches out to us for assistance.

And as a bonus for our Boston area callers, she has a delightful accent! Born in the Free State province in South Africa, Lizzy grew up and completed her schooling in KwaZulu Natal before settling in the Western Cape.