Wealth Management: Nationwide
THE FIRM This comprehensive Chicago-based practice continues to grow, having seen notable expansions of its teams in New York, California and also Illinois. It represents families and individuals, family offices, closely held businesses, foundations, estates, trusts and special purpose investment management entities in the USA and throughout the world, covering the full gamut of estate, succession, gift transfer and wealth planning services. It is historically strong in tax planning, but fields experts in all areas, including generation-skipping tax, Chapter 14 matters and employee benefits. A recent highlight involved acting as lead counsel to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in proceedings brought by the ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie's Fund against the Trustees of Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, who used their authority to override the wishes of the late Leona Helmsley that her money be spent on behalf of dogs.
Commercial Awareness "The group fields niche subject experts, who are highly adept at working with in-house counsel. The lawyers also have the ability to explain complex terminology and information in a clear and efficient manner, which enables clients to make sound, confident decisions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Carol Harrington is head of the firm’s private client practice group and continues to be a much sought-after expert on federal generation-skipping tax. Peers single her out as "a terrifically astute and dynamic tactician." Her recent highlights include handling a complex family settlement agreement and the conclusion of an estate tax audit which involved the restructuring of assets and operating companies valued at more than $500 million. Sources praise Judith McCue's "surefooted, practical approach" and value "the clarity of her advice and ability to really instill confidence in her clients." She remains highly regarded for her expertise on trust and estate administration, and recently handled the successful negotiation and implementation of a complex family settlement agreement in a dispute involving a nine-figure estate. Richard Lang is routinely sought out by venture capital and entrepreneurial clients for his expertise in wealth transfer and income tax planning. He is regarded as "a smart, hard-working and conscientious wealth planner." Recent work has seen him handle the sophisticated wealth planning for a family with nine-figure sale proceeds. The "much-admired" David Herpe advises families, family offices, business owners, executives and individuals on all areas of sophisticated estate and wealth transfer planning. He has been instructed to handle the trustee transition and major Delaware restructuring of trusts which control a multibillion-dollar family-owned company. All four partners operate out of the Chicago office alongside Quentin Heisler, now senior counsel at the firm. He enjoys a fine reputation among the Chicago trusts and estates community, and is a noted authority on succession and transfer tax problems for families that control public and closely held companies.
Henry Christensen heads the private client practice in New York and is described as "one of the most eminent figures in the trust and estates arena in the City." He is particularly highly regarded for his experience in domestic and international private client and estate planning work, and is the lead lawyer representing the ASPCA in the matter noted above. He "brings an incredibly valuable combination of gravitas, encyclopedic knowledge and commercial acumen to client situations." Jonathan Lurie operates out of Los Angeles and is considered by many to be one of the West Coast's leading authorities on high-value tax and estate planning for wealthy individuals. He is described as "an excellent practitioner, who communicates effectively and is superb at handling clients." Promising young partner Julie Kwon is based in the firm's Silicon Valley office, and is considered by peers to be "an articulate and astute estate planner who is really beginning to make a name for herself."
McDermott Will & Emery made a high-profile batch of lateral hires in early 2011, gaining a team of seven lawyers from Weil Gotshal. This includes star lawyer Carlyn McCaffrey, who chaired the estate planning practice at Weil. She is regarded by peers as the preeminent estate planning lawyer in the country. She is "simply unique – the most creative, original and innovative of estate attorneys. She is always ahead of the game – when she speaks, people put down their pens and listen." She is ably assisted by "superstar younger lawyer" Amy Erenrich Heller, who is already assisting clients on a diverse range of sophisticated domestic and international tax and estate planning work and is described by peers as "one of the brightest and most promising talents in the country." Both McCaffrey and Heller work from New York.
THE FIRM This well-rounded practice is traditionally strong on the East Coast, with partners in Miami, Tysons Corner, New York and Atlanta, but is also making inroads in California, having made two recent lateral hires to its Los Angeles office. The team handles the full spectrum of wealth management matters, from traditional estate planning (including preparation of revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts and wills) to family business and life insurance planning. As part of its comprehensive range of services, the group offers expertise in areas such as employee and retirement benefits, wealth preservation, marital agreements, post-mortem planning, guardianship administration, and matters relating to publicly supported charities. It is also sought after to represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested probate and trust matters, and is making increasing inroads in the area of international estate planning, including domestic wills for noncitizens, foreign trusts, foreign business entities and pre-immigration planning.
Sources say: "A good group of people – they're all highly qualified and capable lawyers. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Linda Hirschson chairs the New York trusts and estates group and is "a fine litigator with a superb bedside manner." As well as winning much praise for her litigation skills, she is also highly recommended for her expertise in the formation and administration of private foundations and charitable trusts. Diana Zeydel advises both US and non-US citizens and residents on wealth planning, and also assists business owners in achieving intra-generational wealth preservation and succession planning. She is described as "an incredibly intelligent and creative practitioner, particularly on the tax and business restructuring side." She is vice chair of the firm's national trusts and estates practice and operates out of the Miami office alongside the "seasoned and highly experienced" Norman Benford. Benford chairs the national trusts and estates team and is renowned for his tax expertise in relation to the estates of high net worth individuals and closely held businesses. Virginia-based Jonathan Forster chairs the firm's national wealth management group. He is "a hard-working, results-oriented practitioner who always acts in the best interests of his clients." He is particularly highly regarded for his tax practice and also comes recommended for his expertise in life insurance transactions. Lawrence Heller recently joined the firm's Los Angeles office from Bryan Cave. He focuses on advising individuals and members of their families on matters concerning domestic and international estate and income tax planning.
THE FIRM This practice has a huge geographic footprint and is sought out by a variety of high net worth individuals, from company executives and executives of private equity, venture capital and hedge fund companies to entrepreneurs, owners of closely held businesses, and multi-generational families. The group maintains an excellent reputation for its breadth of expertise, and is sought after to advise on gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning, life insurance, business succession planning and sophisticated charitable giving. It is also commonly called upon to assist in matters concerning multinational immigration and international estate planning and taxation, as well as IRS and probate litigation.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bruce Ross is hailed as "one of the premier trusts litigators in the West." He is based in Los Angeles and cochairs the firm's national private wealth services dispute resolution team. Interviewees praise "his magnificent breadth of knowledge and his thoughtful and surefooted approach to matters." He has recently argued in front of the US Supreme Court on behalf of the Estate of Anna Nicole Smith. The private wealth services group is led by Edward Koren. He practices principally from the firm's Tampa and Lakeland offices and has an excellent reputation for assisting entrepreneurs and multigenerational business owners with wealth planning and protection. John Dadakis is based in the firm's New York office, having recently joined the group from Schiff Hardin. He focuses on asset protection, tax minimization and wealth transfer, and wins particular acclaim for his work with family-owned businesses.
THE FIRM This dedicated team is known as a go-to practice for trust and estate work as its relates to the arts and culture arena, and is also much sought after for its strengths in the financial services sector. It continues to represent the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization in its sale to Imagem Music Group; the team also acted on behalf of Richard Rodgers' family on the sale of the Rodgers and Hammerstein joint copyrights, a deal that is particularly noteworthy because it is the first time a Broadway catalog has been sold. The group's distinguished client base also includes the estates of Vladimir Horowitz, Kurt Weill and Igor Stravinsky.
Client Service "An extraordinarily client-focused group. The lawyers are always available and answer our queries with the utmost promptness. They work remarkably hard to meet our every need."
Commercial Awareness "The attorneys really have the talent to think outside the box, but also have that rare ability to make complicated US statute and case law intelligible to lay parties."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Thoroughly personable and engaging," Joshua Rubenstein is based in New York and chairs the firm's national practice. He "has become almost legendary in terms of his intellectual firepower, resilience, work ethic and ability to get the job done on time and on budget." He continues to act as the executor and trustee of the Rodgers estate and is praised for the breadth of his practice, which includes both domestic and international private client work.
THE FIRM This superb team operates at the forefront of matters relating to the development and analysis of estate planning, tax, family law and probate. It regularly represents individuals – including trustees, executors, guardians and beneficiaries – as well as nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, educational institutions, banks, trust departments, shareholders and corporate executives. It enjoys an especially fine reputation in gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes and fiduciary litigation. Recent highlights have included representing Elin Nordegren during her divorce from professional golfer Tiger Woods and handling the succession planning, estate planning and corporate ownership for clients Arthur J. Fisher, III and Fisher Auto Parts. The firm's client roster also includes Dominion, SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.
Client Service "The group is outstanding from a client perspective. It is made up of good listeners who always look to assign the appropriate resources to find the best solutions. The team will never over-lawyer a matter and I am always confident it is acting in my absolute best interests."
Commercial Awareness "The attorneys have sound practical and commercial sense and are able to communicate with clients at all levels. They have a creative approach to matters, but are heavily risk-conscious at the same time."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The universally admired Ronald Aucutt is based in McLean, Virginia, and leads the private wealth services group. In addition to his extensive experience in planning and controversy matters involving estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes, he is a noted authority on the income taxation of trusts and estates and on rules regarding tax-exempt organizations and charitable contributions. Peers single him out as "a dean of the Bar – a true gent and scholar," while clients praise his "exceptional ability to make complex matters easily understandable." Dennis Belcher is equally highly regarded, and leads the team representing Elin Nordegren. He works out of the firm's Richmond office and is described as "a pleasure to work with; a knowledgeable and assured practitioner whose judgment is genuinely first-rate." Charles Fox enjoys a fine reputation for advising charitable organizations on the transfer of wealth at reduced transfer tax costs, and also assists institutions in regard to their fiduciary issues. He operates out of Charlottesville and is regarded by sources as "a thoughtful and articulate adviser."
THE FIRM This group has wide-ranging expertise in the areas of estate planning and trust and estate administration, and comes recommended for its charitable giving and corporate fiduciary work. It continues to be a strong player in the financial services arena, representing a number of prominent banks and trust companies, including the Neuberger Berman Trust Company, the Rockefeller Trust Company, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Brown Brothers Harriman. It assists these entities with fiduciary matters, general tax matters, and tax-related administering of trusts and estates, as well as litigation. The group is also noted for its work within the arts industry, and represents a range of notable institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Museum, MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alongside this, the group continues to expand its international horizons, handling matters for clients in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice group leader Georgiana Slade is singled out by peers as "an industrious attorney who has worked hard to develop an impressive, sophisticated practice." She is particularly noted for her international expertise. James Sligar continues to impress with his work in the charitable giving and nonprofit corporate area. He is "a sensible, thoughtful adviser who always makes sound, well-considered judgments." Sources describe David Stoll as "a thoroughly knowledgeable and commercially oriented practitioner, who really has the ability to communicate effectively with people at every level." Clients also value his "sensible and delicate approach to matters of the utmost sensitivity." All three partners are based in the New York office.
THE FIRM This trusts and estates practice is historically strong in New York and Florida, but increasingly is making a name for itself in Los Angeles as well. The team handles the full gamut of estate planning and administration matters both domestically and internationally, and wins particular praise for its expertise in fiduciary litigation. Its high-profile client base includes the estates of Keith Haring, George Balanchine and Leonard Bernstein. The group also receives referrals of high net worth clients from institutions such as JPMorgan, US Trust, Bessemer, Goldman Sachs, The Bank of New York Mellon and Merrill Lynch.
Client Service "An exceptionally responsive group, which always makes sure matters are appropriately staffed."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department chair Jay Waxenberg operates out of New York and is noted for his extensive expertise in the area of life insurance planning. He is greatly respected by clients and peers, with sources describing him as "simply wonderful – he has a fine disposition and is very good at putting people at ease." The "brilliantly gifted" David Pratt focuses on trusts and estates, gift and generation-skipping transfer, and fiduciary and individual income taxation. He is also regularly called upon to advise on post-mortem tax planning and asset protection. He is head of the Boca Raton office where he works alongside Al Gortz, who principally concentrates on the areas of gift, estate and generation-skipping tax planning. The highly regarded Andrew Katzenstein is based in Los Angeles and assists high net worth individuals, companies and charitable organizations with the full range of tax and estate planning.
THE FIRM This group is noted for its deep bench of partners and is an established player on both the domestic and international sides of estate planning. It enjoys a strong reputation for advising institutional fiduciaries and is also a go-to practice for assisting tax-exempt organizations. The group wins further acclaim for the caliber of its business succession planning.
Client Service "It is very client-centric in all its recommendations. It has a high degree of customization to meet the specific requirements of each client."
Commercial Awareness "The attorneys have genuine aptitude for creative problem-solving and have the ability to communicate with real clarity."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Warren Whitaker is considered one of the leading lights of the international estate planning market and is described as "a dedicated and trusted counsel who always delivers clear, reliable advice." He operates out of New York alongside Dina Kapur Sanna, who is a driving force within the practice and has extensive experience in the development of wealth management structures for residents and nonresidents of the USA. Sources single her out as "a responsive, dynamic and commercially oriented practitioner." Boston-based Linda Dalby Kennedy is an integral part of the firm's individual client department, and is sought after for her expertise in the formation and administration of private charitable foundations. She is described as "a versatile and highly adept attorney who is always a delight to work with."
THE FIRM This substantial group handles large and complex projects for a number of the nation's wealthiest and most well-known individuals and families. Its client base comprises entrepreneurs, family business owners, corporate executives, investment bankers, real estate developers and artists. Its work for financial institutions represents another area of strength. The group also maintains a thriving trusts and estates controversy practice. The founding merger of this new firm is expected to further boost its international scope and reputation.
Client Service "What I really appreciate is the way the team is able to adapt to our specific needs. It puts the client first, which is the most important."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Operating out of Short Hill, John Elias"has great people skills, communicates clearly and is a pleasure to work with," according to sources. He is noted for representing high net worth individuals whose estate and income tax liabilities are reduced through the creation of comprehensive estate plans, and is also highly recommended for his expertise in charitable trusts and foundations.
THE FIRM This creative and progressive group advises families and individuals on the preservation, management and transfer of wealth, both domestically and internationally. It represents a wide client base of entrepreneurs, private investors, business executives, multigenerational families and family offices on the planning and administration of sophisticated trusts and estates. In addition to this, it assists public and private charities on tax and corporate compliance, and also comes recommended for the advice it gives to individuals and charitable institutions regarding the creation of major lifetime and testamentary charitable gifts.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Chicago-based David Handler is lauded as "one of the most imaginative and innovative trusts and estates practitioners in the country," attracting particular praise for his work representing principals of private equity and venture capital funds. He also acts on behalf of owners of closely held businesses, families of significant wealth, public charities and other tax-exempt entities.
THE FIRM This team handles the full range of trusts and estates planning and administration, but particularly stands out for its expertise in tax planning. It acts for multigenerational families, family offices, investment bankers, real estate developers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and owners of closely held businesses. The practice has also made a name for itself representing individuals in the performing arts, media and entertainment industries. In addition, the group continues to develop its international expertise and remains a go-to practice for US nationals seeking representation in Israel and the UK.
Client Service "It is essential to our company that the lawyers we work with are responsive and available whenever we need them – this is what we get with Paul Weiss."
Commercial Awareness "The attorneys have a fine business-oriented approach. They are tactically astute in their operations and come up with practical strategies to address our issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Halperin is highly regarded and has established himself as one of the leading lights in the wealth management arena, winning particular acclaim for his work with charitable organizations. Sources describe him as "a thoughtful and hard-working attorney with the ability to think outside the box." He is cochair of the personal representation department alongside John O'Neil, who concentrates on international and domestic estate planning, trusts and estates administration and related tax work, with a particular emphasis on advising older family members and their descendants. O'Neil is singled out as "a knowledgeable, focused and reliable practitioner." Both partners operate out of the firm's New York office.
THE FIRM This coast-to-coast practice fields prominent members out of its offices in California, New York, Washington, DC and Virginia. The group has experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration, including lifetime planning, wealth transfer, the structuring of charitable gifts, income tax planning and real estate holdings work. Its expertise also extends to advanced succession planning for corporations, and to the sale of closely held businesses and works of art. The group is also sought after for contested probate proceedings. The practice's international reputation continues to expand, with the team advising nondomestic clients on US-based assets and ways in which these assets can be sheltered from US income, estate and gift taxes.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ellen Harrison operates out of DC and is praised by peers for her wide-ranging tax practice. Sources describe her as an "intellectual heavyweight" with "a genuine breadth of knowledge and a first-rate analytical mind." Jennifer Jordan McCall chairs the firm's estates, trusts and tax planning group and has a bi-coastal practice, working out of the New York and Silicon Valley offices. In addition to representing individuals, families and foundations, she is handling an increasing amount of complex trust planning in connection with closely held businesses, hedge funds and private equity funds. Clients value "her excellent strategic sense and thoughtful, perceptive advice."
THE FIRM This practice is developing impressive scope geographically, with members of the estate planning team operating out of Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta and Florida. The group is renowned for its tax-exempt organization work, although its expertise extends across estate planning, probate and retirement benefits, domestic and international trust litigation and premarital matters. In addition, it continues to be called upon to handle succession planning on behalf of large family businesses. Its client base is made up of entrepreneurs, corporate executives and investment fund managers, owners of privately held businesses, public and private charitable organizations, banks and trust companies.
Client Service "The lawyers at Schiff are consistently prompt with their advice and really take time to learn the business."
Commercial Awareness "The team is exceptionally creative when it comes to solving complex problems. The lawyers have an extremely practical outlook which ensures they don't ever over-complicate issues. They're quickly able to get to the base issue and provide the best recommendation."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Hodgman leads the private client, trusts and estates group and is described as "an extremely knowledgeable and articulate attorney who really instills confidence in his clients." He focuses on estate planning, probate, contested estates, trust litigation and private foundations. He is based in Chicago alongside deputy leader Thomas Abendroth, who concentrates on estate planning, federal transfer taxation, and estate and trust administration. In addition to this, Abendroth has extensive experience in trust and estate litigation, representing both beneficiaries and fiduciaries. Clients value "his engaging, personable manner and his ability to communicate to people at all levels clearly and effectively."
THE FIRM This broad-based practice principally operates out of Chicago, but also fields a prominent team in New York. It offers expertise across estate planning, wealth transfer and estate administration, and represents a distinguished client roster that includes high net worth individuals and families, banks and trust companies, family offices and private trust companies. The group wins particular acclaim for its work in the tax-exempt organization arena.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lyman Welch remains a prominent figure within the Chicago trust and estates community and continues to be much sought after for the breadth and range of his experience. The "astute and personable" Susan Bart focuses on estate and gift tax planning, trust and estate administration, charitable planning and fiduciary work. She is also a renowned authority on 529 plans. Jordan Klein is head of the Chicago private client, trusts and estates group, and is regarded by peers as "an assured practitioner who is always a pleasure to work with." He acts on behalf of a wide range of clients, including corporate executives, families with dynastic wealth, privately held business owners, family offices and private foundations. Bart and Klein both work out of the firm's Chicago office. New York-based Susan Harrington comes particularly recommended for her expertise in international estate and tax planning for US and non-US individuals, as well as for multinational families.
THE FIRM This highly accomplished New York-based group assists individuals and families worldwide with all aspects of their business and personal affairs. Among its notable clients are the majority of the Pritzker Family beneficiary branches, and it continues to restructure their $25+ billion worldwide business empire, which includes interests in Global Hyatt, Marmon Group and TransUnion. The team is particularly recommended for its expertise in US and cross-border trust and estate matters, US tax, international tax and corporate restructuring. It also advises on a broad range of other related wealth management matters, from employment arrangements and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to the purchase and sale of art, yachts and aircraft. The practice achieved an important victory for Société Nautique de Genève in trust-related litigation regarding the America’s Cup, enabling the race to take place as planned.
Client Service "This group is great to work with. The partners are personable, responsive and really proactive in the ways they help their clients. They provided us with training seminars that have proven invaluable to our company."
Commercial Awareness "We really value this group's practical, business-oriented approach. The partners are impressively focused and goal-oriented."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Black is managing partner of the firm's estates and personal group. In addition to his highly regarded domestic trusts and estates planning and administration practice, he is sought after for his experience in regard to nonprofit organizations and real estate matters. Clients value "his sound judgment and calm and collected temperament, which really instill trust and confidence." Clients similarly praise Basil Zirinis for "his impressive combination of technical knowledge, commercial appreciation and client relationship skills – he has surefootedness, confidence and the charisma of James Bond." He is particularly recommended for advising non-US trustees and individuals with significant financial and family connections within the USA.
THE FIRM US and multinational families are the mainstay of this comprehensive practice, but the team also represents closely held businesses, investment fund managers, entrepreneurs and other clients. It has special expertise in the areas of art and cultural assets and charitable giving, and counts the Dreyfus Charitable Foundation among its clientele. The group operates out of three key offices in New Haven, Greenwich and New York City, but is also noted for its international and cross-border focus, operating as it does with the firm's European and Asian offices.
Commercial Awareness "The partners are superb at distilling complex legal arguments to their simplest elements and communicating these to us in a language we understand."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ivan Sacks is managing director of the firm's New York office. He provides trust, estate and tax planning advice to wealthy families, with a particular emphasis on cross-border wealth management. He also advises individuals on the acquisition and structuring of jets, yachts and art work, and is described as "a fine technician – an articulate and personable practitioner." Deidre O'Byrne represents families across a variety of estate planning and tax matters, including charitable giving, and advises fiduciaries on trust and estate administration and probate. She is head of the firm's US family and business planning group and the US charities group. She also operates out of New York.
Since publication, Deidre O'Byrne has left this practice.
THE FIRM This firm is noted for its expertise in international and domestic estate planning, trust and estate administration, generation-skipping tax planning, family trust matters and charitable tax planning. Notable recent work includes representing a US beneficiary's interest in Swiss estate involving Swiss succession, a Liechtenstein foundation and British Virgin Islands trusts. It also acted on behalf of First Republic Bank in a spin-off from Bank of America in connection with trustee succession issues.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Anne O'Brien, based in Washington, DC, focuses on international and cross-border work, representing large international families who have members domiciled in or from the USA that have substantial assets abroad. Sources describe her as "a problem solver – she takes time to fully understand what her client's needs are and is always responsive and timely with her advice."
THE FIRM This New York-based team is renowned for its expertise in tax planning and representing tax-exempt organizations. It also maintains an excellent reputation for its work on behalf of buyers and sellers in estate sales and auctions of fine art and other collectibles.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources praise Michael Frankel's "intelligence and broad base of knowledge." He is routinely called upon to advise on planning issues for entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals, including domestic residents and nonresidents. Theodore Wagner is "a highly gifted and sophisticated estate planner." He chairs the trusts and estates department and comes particularly recommended for his expertise on the estate administration side. In addition, he continues to win acclaim for his work in generation-skipping trusts and charitable and noncharitable gifts. Both partners are based in the firm's New York office.
THE FIRM This New York-based practice is particularly renowned for its private equity expertise. It is also noted for its strengths in trust and estate administration, tax and financial planning, investment fund formation, and trusts and estate litigation. The group's diverse client base includes large private foundations, public charities and other nonprofit organizations.
Client Service "The team works very well together and provides outstanding advice and services. Prompt, efficient and available when you need them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources praise practice chair Jonathan Rikoon for "having wonderful judgment." He focuses on planning, administration and litigation, particularly on behalf of hedge fund principals.
THE FIRM This collegial group is an established presence in Los Angeles. It principally acts for high net worth individuals and families, businesses, and fiduciaries and tax-exempt organizations across a broad spectrum of trust and estate matters, including estate litigation. It maintains an excellent reputation in both domestic and cross-border income and estate tax law, and also earns praise for its work with tax-exempt organizations.
Sources say: "Excellent lawyers. A very good general estate planning practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stuart Tobisman acts for a wide range of clients, including prominent individuals in industry, commerce and entertainment, banks, and trust companies acting in fiduciary capacities. He also assists owners of closely held businesses in connection with estate and tax planning matters. Peers commend his "excellent technical abilities and personable manner." Leah Bishop handles all aspects of estate planning on behalf of high net worth individuals, and maintains a fine reputation in the charitable giving and tax-exempt arenas. Sources praise her broad knowledge base and her "client-focused and results-oriented approach to matters." According to peers, the widely respected Paul Frimmer is "simply as good as they come." He is of counsel at the firm and, in addition to his experience in estate planning, wills and trusts, probate and trust administration, has carved a particular niche in the areas of art law and charitable giving. All three practitioners are based in Los Angeles.
THE FIRM This Chicago-based practice has an enviable client base consisting of high net worth individuals, family groups and fiduciaries, and also acts as counsel to The Indianapolis Colts and The Chicago Community Trust. It provides a comprehensive range of services, including advice on tax, estate and business planning, and trust and estate administration. In addition to this, the team has an excellent reputation in the charitable arena, and continues to act as general counsel to the Poetry Foundation in connection with a $200 million gift donation that has turned it into the largest literary organization in the world. The group continues to see an increase in international work, handling matters for clients in the UK, Europe, South America and Australia.
Client Service "This team is attentive and extremely responsive, and provides materials and follow-up communications on time. It is always apparent that the partners are focused on addressing each client's needs and concerns."
Commercial Awareness "Mayer Brown utilizes sound judgment to recommend appropriate solutions. The partners do not resort to cookie-cutter responses and also do not over-prescribe; instead they show creativity in offering alternatives and explaining the costs and benefits of each for easier decision-making. What we value in particular is that they provide practical and effective solutions to complex issues while maintaining flexibility to accommodate unforeseen events and family situations."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice leader Donna Morgan has over 25 years' experience of handling work for a host of high-profile celebrities and professional athletes. She is also sought after for her expertise in the drafting and implementation of wills and trusts. She attracts praise for "the creativity of her ideas and her ability to relate well to clients on both a professional and personal level." Peers label James Casey "an outstanding young partner whose star in the trusts and estates arena is certainly rising." Clients also value his "smart and well-judged advice." Senior statesman Howard McCue earns considerable praise from his peers and is described as "a dynamic and formidable practitioner, who has made a huge contribution to trusts and estates community in Chicago and beyond." He remains a leading authority in the charitable arena, advising cultural institutions, public charities and private foundations.
THE FIRM This cohesive group has carved out a niche handling work for a number of leading private equity firms, including Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group and TPG. It is also well equipped to advise on sophisticated matters involving privately held businesses, real estate, art work and other unique assets. The group is also often called upon to act as counsel on multigeneration planning and structure arrangements in regard to estate, gift and income tax considerations. In addition, the practice is a good choice for charitable planning and structuring sophisticated charitable remainder trusts. It continues to act as Harvard University’s primary legal adviser with respect to planned giving and charitable trust matters.
Sources say: "I use lawyers every day and recognize value added. Ropes has it all and has devoted proper attention and resources to my wealth management requirements."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Boston-based Marc Bloostein is noted in particular for his work with private equity firms. Sources admire his "combination of confident strategic vision and deep understanding of the tactics needed to accomplish the goals." Senior firm figure Virginia Coleman is recommended in particular for her expertise in international tax and estate planning and fiduciary income taxation. She is described as "a cutting-edge practitioner who, in spite of her many years of experience, remains very much at the top of her game."
THE FIRM This group operates out of New York and Miami and handles estate planning, administration and estate-related dispute resolution, as well as trust instrument construction. It is also sought after to advise on US and international tax, nonprofit organizations, real estate, immigration, fiduciary litigation and securities law. Trust company administration is another area of strength. Its impressive client base includes Citibank, Deutsche Bank Trust Company, The Goldman Sachs Trust Company, JPMorgan Trust Company and UBS International Private Bank.
Client Service "Its client service and responsiveness are outstanding. I have excellent relationships with the partners and associates who actually do the work."
Commercial Awareness "The commercial sense of the lawyers is first-rate, as is their tactical and strategic awareness. They are great at negotiation and they make sure that I understand the complex legal arguments."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources describe New York-based Winthrop Rutherfurd as "an assured operator who fills clients with confidence." He assists clients in the full range of estate planning, and is regarded as an authority on multigenerational dispositions of property and closely held business interests. Interviewees highlight the international scope of his practice. Group chair Michael Kavoukjian is "uniformly responsive, knowledgeable, attentive and professional." He advises owners of closely held businesses, and international clients with multijurisdictional contacts, on the full spectrum of estate planning matters. Kavoukjian divides his time between the firm's Miami and New York offices.
A founding partner of Pennsylvania trusts and estates boutique Gadsden Schneider & Woodward LLP, Pam Schneider
is regarded by peers as the "guru on generation-skipping tax."
She handles all aspects of estate planning and is praised for "the terrific clarity and insight of her advice." Neill McBryde
of Moore & Van Allen, PLLC operates out of Charlotte and excels in tax and estate planning and estate administration for closely held and large family businesses. He is also noted for his considerable expertise in the charitable planning area. Sources admire "his fine business-oriented focus and creative approach to complex matters." Gideon Rothschild
of Moses & Singer LLP operates out of New York and, in addition to his extensive experience in domestic and international estate planning, is regarded by peers as "a leading authority on asset protection."
Beth Shapiro Kaufman
of Caplin & Drysdale is based in Washington, DC and, as a former attorney adviser and associate legislative counsel to the Treasury Department's office of tax policy, is much sought after for her strong ties in the capital city. She is lauded by sources for being "exceedingly accessible, generous with her time, and always a pleasure to work with."
In addition to her expertise in complex matters relating to estate and gift taxes, she is an authority on GST matters. Lauren Detzel
is chair of the estate and succession planning practice of Florida firm Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capouano & Bozarth PA. She focuses on planning for the succession of closely held businesses, family limited partnerships, grantor retained annuity trusts, charitable trusts and generation-skipping trusts. Arlene Harris
works out of Kaye Scholer LLP's New York office and is described as "very client-friendly and an effective presence in the courtroom."
She is currently advising the executor named in a propounded will regarding a threatened will contest and the administration of a shopping center empire valued at over $200 million.
chairs the private client group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and earns particular praise for his expertise in business succession planning, particularly on behalf of family businesses. He is "an excellent advocate, and is adept at seeing through complex situations and identifying the core issues."
McCabe is ably assisted in the New York office by rising star Loretta Ippolito
. She assists clients with domestic and international estate planning, including tax and foreign trust planning for non-US persons with US contacts. Sources describe her as "personable and extremely knowledgeable about the law in this area – she is very creative with solutions crafted to fit the unique circumstances of ultra-wealthy clients."
of Shearman & Sterling LLP is regarded by peers as "an informed and highly disciplined lawyer."
He acts on behalf of both domestic and non-US clients across a wide range of matters, including pre-immigration tax planning, and multijurisdictional estate and expatriation tax planning. He is also regularly sought after to advise on the establishment of cross-border trusts, and estate and tax planning for owners of closely held businesses and family limited partnerships. Douglas Siegler
is highly respected and operates out of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP's Washington, DC office. Clients describe him as "a thoroughly attentive and responsive attorney,"
and he is regarded as an authority on succession planning for closely held businesses, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning for persons married to non-US citizens. His partner Nikola Djuric
is hailed by peers as "a future star in the estate planning arena,"
and already enjoys a high profile in the Atlanta market. He is particularly active in counseling clients on federal laws as well as state laws. He is also called upon to handle sophisticated flexible gifting, and continues to win acclaim for his tax and succession planning for closely held businesses.
of Boca Raton-based boutique Tescher & Spallina PA handles probate and asset protection planning, and is also highly sought after for his tax, charitable and estate planning practice. Peers regard him as "a switched-on practitioner and a delight to work alongside."
is based in Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP's New York office and is described as "a knowledgeable and well-prepared attorney who is also an absolute gentleman in the courtroom."
He continues to win praise from peers and clients for his expertise in complex trusts and estates matters. His colleague Cheryl Hader
also works out of New York and concentrates on domestic and international estate planning, probate and trust administration, as well as prenuptial matters, private foundations and public charities. She is lavished with praise from clients, who describe her as "precise, accessible and creative in her approach."
Washington, DC-based Donald Kozusko
of Kozusko Harris Vetter Wareh LLP advises international and domestic entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists and privately held businesses. Peers single out him out as "a very creative, seasoned tax practitioner who understands the family dynamic particularly well." Laura Twomey
operates out of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's New York office and wins particular praise for her work in the private equity arena. She also advises individuals and families on the preservation, transfer and management of wealth during life and after death, and is described as "a pleasure to work with – responsive and very hard-working."
New York is also home to Robert Lawrence
of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, who is described by peers as "one of a kind – a major rainmaker,"
and is valued by clients as "an exceptional resource in the area of complex international estate planning."
According to peers, Houston-based John Porter
of Baker Botts LLP has "a well-deserved reputation as a first-rate trusts and estates litigator,"
and is particularly noted for his experience of federal gift and income tax litigation with regard to family limited partnerships. Lawrence Katzenstein
of Thompson Coburn LLP divides his time between St. Louis and Chicago, and enjoys a fine reputation for his expertise in charitable giving and the tax-exempt organizations arena. He is regarded by peers as "a very formidable competitor, who has the ability to deal with the most complex of problems."
The seasoned Lawrence Brody
of Bryan Cave LLP also operates out of St. Louis and has carved out a niche in sophisticated life insurance as it relates to estate planning issues.
Clients single out Lawrence Richman
of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP as "a brilliantly creative attorney who has the ability to make the most complex of ideas understandable to the layman – he really inspires a high degree of confidence."
Entrepreneurs and tax-exempt organizations rely on his expertise in sophisticated estate matters. Based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, Kurt Rademacher
of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC is hailed as "a confident and creative young practitioner who is really beginning to make a name for himself."
He is well versed in US federal income, gift and estate tax issues on behalf of ultra high net worth families and family controlled businesses throughout the world, and is particularly sought after for his experience in tax issues faced by families and businesses based in the Asia-Pacific region and the UK.
operates out of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP's Seattle office and is hailed by peers as "a seasoned and highly respected practitioner – a dean of estate planning."
In addition to advising individuals on estate planning matters, involving lifetime transfers, transfers at death, gift tax and estate tax issues, he is sought after to assist with generation-skipping and income tax matters. Senior statesman Max Gutierrez
of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP works out of San Francisco and is hailed as "a lion in the community – an excellent and deservedly respected practitioner whose judgment continues to be first-rate."
He focuses on planning for family wealth transfers, including income, gift and generation-skipping tax planning. He is also admired for his experience in complex multistate and multinational estates that have substantial post-mortem tax planning opportunities. Louis Mezzullo
is based in Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP's Rancho Santa Fe office and is noted for his broad range of taxation and estate planning experience. Sources describe him as "a terrific lawyer who has unflagging energy and is right on top of the cutting-edge issues in the federal tax world."
He is also regarded as a leading expert on family business succession planning.
works out of California boutique Hopkins & Carley's Palo Alto office and is singled out by peers as "a personable and highly adept wealth planner."
He acts for a diverse range of clients, including technology companies, prominent entrepreneurs, members of the venture capital community, high net worth individuals, family business owners and leading philanthropies. Myron Sugarman
of Cooley LLP is described by peers as "a much sought-out institution in the San Francisco estate planning market."
He advises on a full range of federal and local taxation, and has particular expertise in estate planning, taxation of nonprofit and charitable institutions, and family and personal tax planning. St. Louis-based Charles Redd
recently joined Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP from SNR Denton. He is singled out by interviewees for his "responsiveness, breadth of knowledge and assured technical ability."
Rising star Deborah Dunn
, who recently joined Ahrens DeAngeli Law Group LLP from K&E, focuses on will contests and disputes with fiduciaries and other beneficiaries, estate and gift tax audits, and trust and estate planning and administration. Peers single her out as "a superb technician who approaches matters in a highly creative manner."
She is based in Chicago.