Most people experience what-if moments in their lives.

These hypothetical situations can occur during a retrospective look at life or an imaginary peek at possible future events. With Andrea Shoup ’06 her what-if moments came just after she was married to David, an active-duty Marine.

“When we were expecting our first child (we now have four), all of the what-ifs in life starting playing in my head,” recalls Shoup. “What if my husband didn’t come back from that deployment? What if I was in a car accident? What happens to my baby?”

At that time, Shoup was a successful felony trial prosecutor with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office appearing in court virtually daily. “I really enjoyed my time in the DA’s Office, helping victims navigate through the criminal justice system.”

Those what-if moments proved to be a pivotal turning point in Shoup’s career as she started looking into what was needed to protect her family and began to realize how bad things can be if they are not planned.

Her motivation to change practice lanes was also fueled by her experience in a mentorship program at California Western, where she was partnered with an estate planning attorney as a first-year student.

“The professor’s words, insight, and advice made a significant difference to me in shaping my career and choosing this area of law,” says Shoup.

In 2012, Shoup opened her practice, Shoup Legal, specializing in estate planning, probate, and business law.

“I realized that many people do not understand what happens if they have not planned. So, by opening my own practice, I found a new way to help people find solutions for the what-ifs of life.”

Shoup’s husband David left active duty in 2012, and the couple decided that they should team up and practice law together.

After graduating with honors from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, David decided to follow in his wife’s footsteps and earn his law degree at California Western.

“My experience absolutely influenced David’s choice of law school,” says Shoup. “I told him numerous times about what a great experience I had at Cal Western. So, when he decided to apply to law school, he only submitted one application—to Cal Western!”

David enjoyed his time at California Western, attending full-time for two years straight. “I was very determined to get through quickly and appreciated the support from Cal Western to make that happen for me,” says David.

David graduated magna cum laude in 2018 and singles out the clinical internship program as especially beneficial. “My time in the clinical internship and STEPPS mentorship programs greatly impacted my ability to graduate law school, pass the bar exam, and immediately start practicing law,” he recalls.

Shoup acknowledges the considerable impact California Western has had on both her and her husband, and she owes much to the school for the success they are enjoying.

“I appreciated the faculty and administration’s commitment to student success,” she says. “I felt they had a vested interest in my success, and I appreciated the support and encouragement I received.”

Shoup’s advice to California Western students today can be summed up in two words: Do it!

“It is an amazing journey that you will look back on fondly,” she says. “Three years will pass no matter what, this is a worthy investment of time that will impact the rest of your life.”

Today, Andrea Shoup has banished her what-if moments to history and with law offices in Murrieta and La Quinta is concentrating on bringing peace of mind to families throughout Southern California.

“Team Shoup loves helping families, and I see us expanding further,” she says. “I expect us to be opening several more offices in California within the next 10 years.”