When was managing an insurance agency for doctors
during law school, he still had his eye on searching out what
he called “Perry Mason moments” as a litigator.
Little did he know that his services for physicians were
laying the foundation for what would be his life’s work.
He said several of his doctor clients, knowing he was a law
student, called to inquire about the emerging rules allowing
doctors to incorporate, so he started researching the issue
and advising clients in that process.
As practice grew and he recognized his clients’
investment and financial planning needs in addition to the
needs of their businesses, he decided to study financial planning
and become more of a one-stop shop on financial issues. The
Law Offices of now include an investment advisory, a broker-dealer
and a merchant banking affiliate.
The attorney said he sees no division between the entrepreneur’s
interest in financial planning for a business and his or her
personal money matters. His firm has expanded to offer services
such as business incorporation, capital formation, tax planning
and intellectual property protection.
In addition, said, he works to coordinate the business
plan with the owner’s personal tax and estate plans,
compensation arrangements, financial investments, insurance,
retirement planning and philanthropic donations to minimize
taxes and maximize profit.
“All of these seemingly independent decision areas,
where evaluated properly, are looked at in a cohesive, comprehensive
way,” he said.
graduated from Northwestern University School
of Law in 1971, still focused on litigation, and hung out
his own shingle -- a move he said he wouldn’t recommend
to anyone. said he soon realized his life would be less
Perry Mason and more scrapping to find any case he could get
to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, doctors were still calling to inquire about incorporation
and the ensuing tax benefits. Within a year of earning his
law license, said, he was invited to speak to medical groups
about public corporations. Within a year after that, he’d
written a book on the topic and had given up on litigation
to pursue tax and business law full time.
Several years into his career, at the beginning of the 1980s,
several clients brought tax-advantage investment proposals
for his review, said. The deals he was seeing were very aggressive
and not financially sound, he said, and he had to advise several
clients to pass them up. At that point, however, he realized
there was a market for tax-sheltered investments, and decided
to try to put together something himself.
“I thought I could put together [a transaction] that
did the job correctly,” said.
He found a way for clients to both save on taxes and make
money, he said, and outside advisors started asking to put
their clients into plans as well.
In 1985, put together a broker-dealer affiliate to
manage his proprietary interest in the investment plans.
“By default, I ended up owning a broker-dealer firm
with a lot of clients and a lot of cash,” he said. The
company has since been elevated to a full-service general
securities firm licensed in all 50 states, managing money
for high-income, high net worth people, said.
Over time the practice has grown, and his professional employees
include lawyers, accountants, certified financial planners,
chartered financial analysts and business administrators.
said all of those people work together to
integrate legal and financial counseling.
He said the business is till focused around the law practice,
which is the entity’s driving force. All development ideas
come out of the law firm, which also develops them through
legal strategies, he said.
The arrangement raises no concerns with violating rules against
multidisciplinary practice, said, because all ancillary business owners
are lawyers, avoiding the strictures against sharing income
from legal work with non-attorneys.
An added benefit to the arrangement, according to , is that because the professionals are salaried
rather than compensated on the basis of the money they bring
in, they are more likely to do the right thing for the right
reason. They are also bound by the lawyers’ code of
professional responsibility, which has been a selling point
“Given the environment of suspicion and conflict that
the investment community finds itself in,” said, “we’re insulated from that
The lawyer/financial advisor said he knows of no other law
firm with a full financial services capability, and he has
a theory on why that might be.
“Lawyers historically have been trained to shun risk,”
he said, “whereas I believe ‘no risk, no reward.’
There are ways of mitigating risk, controlling risk, but making
risk your friend. We’re pioneers, and it’s not
a trait most lawyers share, by training or by disposition.
I think over time this is a business model that is going to
be replicated because it works exceptionally well, particularly
for sophisticated clients who want integrated services.”
About 30 to 35 of those clients are lawyers, who bring both
their business and personal financial matters to firm, he said.
“We complement what they do for themselves,”
he said, “though we find that lawyers, as with most
professionals, pay less attention to their own affairs than
they do to their clients’.”
Not all of clients are in for the full-service treatment.
said his firm will handle as much or as little
of a person’s or a company’s finances as the client
prefers. However, having the varied expertise in-house, he
said, helps him and his employees be more effective in individual
areas and consider how what they do works with plans developed
by outside professionals.
As for giving up on his plan to become Perry Mason, said he’s pleased with his choice.
“I saw my future and it fit well,” he said.