Whether discussing estate planning for the first time or reviewing and updating an existing plan, you want the comfort and confidence to work with an attorney who has the professional and personal experience to understand you and your family. You want an attorney who has “been there, done that” and planned for every circumstance. In reviewing our own Generational Planning System over the years, I note that my wife and I have shared many holidays with children, siblings, parents, and grandparents born in every decade since 1890.
My degree in Social Work has added great perspective, as affirmed by one of my senior tax partners at Gardere & Wynne, “That is a perfect degree for the practice of law and understanding people’s needs." My education is perfectly designed to understand family dynamics and to create a strategy to provide long term security and peace of mind. I listen very well.
We have been lucky to watch our boys grow up, but every step of the way we planned for them to have those same life experiences and opportunities, even if we were not available because of death or incapacity. Lisa and I have attended over a thousand athletic events in which our boys participated (football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, roller hockey, and track meets) and we have had our share of emergency room visits, x-rays, stitches and car accidents. We have seen scores of school plays, band concerts, and awards ceremonies, and have been proud parents at high school and college graduations.
I have practiced law in a small law firm in Arkansas and with one of the biggest law firms in Dallas, Texas (Gardere & Wynne). My legal career has had two distinct segments – one as a trial attorney with over 100 jury trials in State and Federal Courts as well as successful appeals to the Arkansas Supreme Court – the second has been limited to estate planning and probate since obtaining my LLM in Taxation at SMU. Although I have worked with clients with both modest estates and estates in excess of $200M, I believe the basic planning concerns for each family are essentially the same. I have been a small business owner and insurance agent with a focus on personal and financial risk management.
I have been a teacher, coach, and mentor to youth, young adults, parents, and grandparents. It is not unusual for me to receive a random call or contact from a former student or player seeking my advice or counsel on a personal or professional decision.
Some things you wouldn’t otherwise know: The year I was born, I was the first baby of the New Year in Eureka Springs, Arkansas - even though it was the 7th of January. I spent my middle school and high school years in Hawaii and graduated from Punahou School, the same high school as President Barrack Obama. I was awarded an ROTC scholarship and baseball scholarship to the University of Arkansas. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton were law professors of mine at the University of Arkansas School of Law. My father was a decorated Air Force officer during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He often said, he “won one, lost one, and tied one”. My wife is an extraordinary interior designer, Brad is a Master Plumber, Paul is a CPA , and Zack graduated from Santa Clara University in June 2013 and will begin his accounting career with Deloitte in San Jose, California.