After graduating from Southwestern University School of Law, I went to work for a well-respected estate planning law firm with the dream of becoming a trusted advisor to his clients. Having been a social worker, my passion has always been about empowering families. I quickly discovered that the personal lawyer relationship I had envisioned no longer exists in today’s age of billable hours and complex form documents spit out of a computer.
At $400/hour and billing my time in six-minute increments, very few people were willing to pay for anything more than fast form documents that gave them the feeling of having done the right thing, but as I found out, far too often accomplished nothing at all.
My second year of law school, my grandfather died and we found ourselves in the middle of a long and expensive court process even though my grandfather had worked with a lawyer on their estate planning. Turns out, this lawyer had never transferred my grandfather’s assets into his trust and hadn’t made sure my grandfather did it either. At the time, I thought he must have committed malpractice. When I went to work as a lawyer, it was a shock for me to discover that all the best firms throughout the United States do it the same way. Malpractice? No, common practice!
And, even when a lawyer did his job of re-titling his client’s assets, more often than not I discovered most (if not all) of them would “fall out of the trust” within three to five years of signing the trust documents. That means the trust fails.
And, as a dad, it dawned on me that traditional estate planning documents did nothing to protect my children from being taken out of my home and into the foster care system if I died or went into the hospital.
So, I decided to start my own practice to focus on serving people who want to guarantee their plan will work when their family needs it most and appreciate knowing we will be there to advise their family when they can’t be. People who expect things to change throughout their lifetime and want a trusted advisor to guide them through those changes. People who are busy, love kids and want to leave the world a better place.
Before becoming a lawyer in 1990, I earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work and treated adolescents and families. Then I got another Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from George Washington University and was a hospital administrator. Rachel and Emily are my daily inspiration.