Marcella is a fourth generation Californian. Marcella grew up the eldest daughter of a teacher and professor.  Education is one of her passions and she enjoys sharing information with her clients to allow them to make truly informed decisions.  Marcella attended U.C. Santa Cruz, receiving her Bachelors of Arts degree in Philosophy.

Marcella worked her way through U.C. Santa Cruz, using the accounting skills she learned during a year she took off from her studies. She continued in this profession for approximately 10 years, working in a CPA firm, as an accountant for an enrolled agent and a controller for a manufacturing company. Marcella left her position as CFO and took on two more important jobs. One raising their son, and the other was as a Coordinator for a region of church youth groups located in Northern California, Northern Nevada, and Hawaii.

When Robert Howk, her husband, took a position with a law firm in Clovis, the family moved to the Fresno area from Sacramento. Robert opened his own practice in 1996 and Marcella became an integral part of the practice.  Using her skills in accounting, research, and counseling, she became a key part of the practice.

Marcella attended San Joaquin College of Law. She is a member of the San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review, an honor based on academic skills and as such became a published author writing the comment, The Horns of a Dilemma: the Application of The Doctrine of Patent Exhaustion and Licensing of Patented Seed.  In her senior year, she became the Editor-in-Chief of the San Joaquin College of Law Agricultural Law Review.  Upon graduation, Marcella helped establish the Emeritus program for Law Review.  More recently, Marcella co-authored a chapter on ethics with Robert Howk in the book, Estate Planning Strategies, Collective Wisdom, Proven Techniques.

Upon admittance to the California State Bar, Marcella officially became a partner in Howk & Downing, LLP. She is also a member Fresno County Bar Association, the Wills and Trusts Section of the Fresno Bar, and a member of the Trust and Estate Planning Section as well as the Tax Section of the California State Bar. Marcella has speaks frequently with community groups on issues of estate planning and elderlaw.  Marcella and Robert were featured on KVPR’s Quality of Life program.

As part of the continuing education demands she has placed on herself, Marcella attends between at least four weeks of continuing education each year in order to remain on the leading edge of the constant changes to the laws. As a member of Wealth Counsel and the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Law Office of Howk & Downing, LLP, works with thousands of attorneys nationwide to solve even the most complex questions on Estate Planning and Elder Law issues.