When I was about 10, I attended a friend’s uncle’s graduation from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. I was duly impressed with the vaulted ceilings, wood paneling, fancy graduation gowns, and pomp and circumstance, and a seed grew within my brain that culminated with me deciding to become a lawyer.
I graduated from JMLS in 1978 but realized midway through my law school years that courtrooms would be my personal purgatory. Beyond that, I have no taste for litigation, intense negotiations, or excessive legal research. In other words, I discovered that I did not want to be a lawyer in the classic sense of the profession. I passed the bar exam that summer and became licensed, but my career path led me away from the practice of law.
In June 1990, having neither worked in a law firm nor found true enlightenment in my work life (and married to a woman who refused to allow me to be a stay-at-home-dad), I hung out my shingle and started a solo law practice on a shoestring. From the get-go, I concentrated my practice on estate planning. I acquired the requisite forms, attended seminars, and discovered my calling.
My mantra has been to make the process of estate planning as transparent and understandable as possible to regular people who need it but are not necessarily super-wealthy or particularly enamored of lawyers. In furtherance of this goal, I wrote The Procrastinator’s Guide to Wills and Estate Planning (Penguin Group USA/NAL, 2004). Lawyer, philosopher, aspiring estate-planning guru to both the affluent and the masses, I humbly share my estate-planning gospel. If I can explain it in ways you find relevant and can understand, then I have done my job. My goal is to gently but earnestly prod you through what (at first glance) may seem like a depressing endeavor. No cattle prod needed!
Today I have grown my practice and with the help of my able staff at Matlin Law Group, P.C. I have written estate plans for thousands of families, for people and families who ranged from having a negative net worth to those worth well over $10 million.