Who We Are

We are a diverse group of legal professionals who have spent the better part of 50 years helping people through tough times. None of us started out as family lawyers, and that’s a good thing. We’ve been business litigators, insurance lawyers, real estate and land use lawyers and trust and estate lawyers. You want that in your family lawyers…and here’s why.

Family law is not really one area of law, it is a set of interconnected areas of law – a little bit of real estate, a little bit of self-employment business, a little bit of custody and visitation, a little bit of estate planning, inheritance issues and gift tax issues, even insurance law plays a role. Family law is incredibly complex – do not any lawyer tell you differently. It is trial work, legal drafting and strategy work all rolled into one.

You need a team of people with the knowledge and the guts to ask hard questions and sort out complex problems. We are agile so that we can modify our course to suit your needs. We are strategists, building traps and angles to out you at an advantage. We are hard-nosed litigators who are not afraid to stand up to opposing counsel, opposing parties and even judges if called upon. We are also ace negotiators, who work using our intellectual strengths and personal charm to get the right deal done for you.

This is your divorce; it is your story. It is your life, your children, you assets, your legacy. You should have the team in place to give you the very best chance at success.

We are your family’s legal team. We are here for you.

Meet The Team

M. Jude Egan, Esq.

Attorney

M. Jude Egan, J.D., Ph.D, Certified Family Law Specialist, graduated law school at the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 2004. While working at a major international law firm in San Francisco doing civil litigation and land use work, he wrote his doctoral dissertation in Jurisprudence and Social Policy. Dr. Egan has litigated numerous cases in civil litigation and family law and enjoys a growing reputation drafting legal documents for estate planning. His practice serves English and Spanish speaking clients in Santa Maria, the Five Cities and Santa Barbara. Dr. Egan has published internationally in peer reviewed legal, trade and academic journals. He has taught disaster law, business law and Federal and state entitlements at the Louisiana State University, E.J. Ourso College of Business, where he was commended by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for his work drafting the National Nonprofit Relief Framework, by Catholic Charities USA for a policy paper ultimately adopted by the Centers for Disease Control, and for work with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

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Helen Zajic, ESQ.

Senior Attorney

Helen C. Zajic was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Michigan. As a high school student, she was a nationally ranked extemporaneous speaker and debater. She attended James Madison College at Michigan State University and graduated in 1983 with a BA in International Relations. Zajic graduated from the Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1986, completing her law degree with honors while working full time for an Oklahoma City law firm. While in law school, she was named “Best Oralist” on the Mock Trial Team and continued to compete in speech tournaments for her law school. Zajic passed the Oklahoma bar exam and went to work at Durbin, Larimore & Bialick in Oklahoma City as an associate litigation attorney. Two years later Zajic (then Helen Crawford) moved to Santa Barbara, California and started working for Zajic & Zajic, first as a law clerk, then as an associate attorney, then a partner doing jury trials in the field of insurance defense litigation. In 1994 Helen C. Zajic opened her own practice in Santa Barbara, California focusing exclusively on family law. She chose family law as her focus to use her skills in court to help people during one of the hardest times in their lives; especially to help people with children keep their focus on what is best for those children in custody cases. From 1990-2019, while practicing law full time and raising four children, Zajic also taught Evidence, Civil Procedure and Family Law at the Southern California Institute of Law. Zajic served as the Associate Dean of the law school during the time the school was granted its California State Bar Accreditation. Helen C. Zajic has received numerous professor of the year awards; an honor voted upon by the students. Zajic began working at Egan Law in 2019. Zajic has four adult children and lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, a retired CPA. She formerly served as the President of the Board for United Cerebral Palsy of Santa Barbara, as a Board Member at Valle Verde Retirement Association, and as a Board Member of the Page Youth Center. She is presently a Teen Court judge in Santa Barbara, California.

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Amber Simmons, ESQ.

Senior Associate Attorney

Amber L. Simmons, Esq., is a strong and professional yet still personal advocate who “gets it” and will fight for you and your family. As a fourth (4th) generation resident of Nipomo, Amber understands the Central Coast, its communities and the people who call it home. As a single mother, Amber can relate to the pressures clients face when going to family court. Amber graduated from the University of the Pacific – McGeorge School of Law in 2012. Before going to law school, Amber attended and graduated magna cum laude from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, where she obtained her degree in Agricultural Business and minored in Dairy Science. Amber was a 2008-2009 California Senate Fellow for former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, and has clerked for the United States Department of Justice – Environment & Natural Resources Division. Amber also interned for Congressman Jeff Denham and worked on several local political races while waiting for her California State Bar Examination results in 2012. From 2013 – 2021, Amber worked at a prestigious local law firm on corporate, land use, employment, probate and complex litigation matters. However, after becoming a single mother and going through the family court system personally, Amber decided to pursue a career in family law and help others navigate this process and put their lives back together. This unique combination of experiences, both personally and professionally, allow Amber to understand the complexities of family law and civil litigation – be it a custody dispute, or finding and dividing complex business assets – and fight for you and your family’s best interests.

Nicolette Reeves

J.D. Law Clerk

Reeves was born and raised on California’s central coast. After completing her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of California - Los Angeles, she earned an M.B.A from the University of La Verne. In 2019 she graduated from the Santa Barbara College of Law. For several years Reeves interned at the Santa Barbara County Public Defenders’ Office, handling misdemeanor cases and working in the drug treatment courts. Before joining Egan Law, Reeves worked at a local family law firm where she began to learn the intricacies of the family law system. At this time, she also experienced the legal process herself for the first time, which taught her the importance of having “support and guidance through a difficult time such as divorce, child custody, or other family law matters. I know firsthand the struggle, and I am happy that I can provide guidance and support to our clients at a very difficult time in their lives.” After seeing the strong support system of the Egan Law legal team, Reeves decided it was the ideal firm to expand her efforts to help others. “I like to help people through some very difficult times in their life, while providing support to let them know things will get better. Having a kind, compassionate, and patient approach is what I bring to the job every day.”

Kristin Black

Lead Paralegal

Kristin has been a Certified Paralegal since 2015 and joined Egan Law shortly after beginning her career. In addition to her paralegal certification, Kristin holds a bachelors degree in legal studies with a concentration in American jurisprudence and legal philosophy from Chapman University, where she graduated with honors in 2013. She has also earned several associates degrees and certificates from Allan Hancock College in business management, business marketing, executive leadership and business law. Kristin enjoys the complex and strategic nature of family law and prides herself in assisting the best attorneys on the Central Coast. When not briefing cases or drafting discovery, Kristin enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Ariana Mariscal

Legal Assistant to M. Jude Egan, Esq.