How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
My initial focus was on providing support to high net worth individuals through estate and tax planning services. As our practice and client base grew, we began providing support to their firms, as most of our clients were business owners. Today, we provide estate planning, outside legal counsel to firms, work with companies during mergers and acquisitions, and provide both tax and asset protection counsel to the individuals and families.
The past few years have brought downsizing and consolidation among the larger law firms, and a trickle-down effect on the type of clients the larger firm pursue. Ten years ago, the large firms were not interested in serving the clients we serve, but today they are.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
In this age of electronic communication, personal service has suffered. Call your clients often, just to check up on them and keep them informed. Give the client a chance to ask questions and provide viewpoint on their matters.
What’s one technological device, application or tool you could not function without?
We just switched our practice management software to a cloud-based system that is more user-friendly and has features that integrates calendars, contacts, matters, billing and practice management. While we all rely on our cell phones and tablets to stay in constant touch with changes, having a fully integrated software system makes us more efficient and responsive to client needs.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
Civility has been beneficial, particularly when dealing with opposing counsel. During the course of litigation, there are several times that we need to communicate or ask for a few more days to provide information. Of course we disagree about our respective client’s positions, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. Having an open line of communication is always beneficial.
What do you do for fun?
I serve as a board member and Treasurer for three non-profit organizations: Safer Foundation, which provides education and job training to those who are in the criminal justice system; Le Ballet Petit School of Dance, a dance studio in Chicago; and Matanya’s Hope which runs a school in Kenya, Africa. I am also a pilot and an avid aviation and hockey fan.
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