This marks the end of my eighth month of blogging. At the end of each month, I like to take a post to extend my gratitude to those who have greatly helped me in the development of my practice. This month, I wish to spend most of this post sharing a couple of stories involving the good people associated with WealthCounsel, LLC.
WealthCounsel, LLC – WealthCounsel is a national organization for estate planning attorneys that includes about 2,500 practitioners from all U.S. states, including a certain blogger from Northern Virginia (me). WealthCounsel provides practitioners with outstanding document-drafting software, frequent educational opportunities on and offline, as well as a pretty remarkable spirit of camaraderie. This last benefit is best evidenced within the several listservs that enable practitioners to exchange ideas on topics ranging from the law and general practice to technology and state-specific issues.
Here’s an example. Privacy concerns prevent me from elaborating about any specifics, but about a week ago, a young attorney posted a general message to the “Practice Building” listserv in the middle of the night. He shared that he was experiencing frustration in his practice and was seeking guidance. Within the next 12 hours, he received over a dozen detailed responses from practitioners all over the country. Over the next several days, 30+ more responses came in, all building on the earlier ideas rather than providing counsel in isolation. As a result, the original poster has demonstrated a renewed energy and excitement.
Unbeknownst to the group, I too learned a great deal from this thread from afar, even though I did not personally contribute. I want to express my deep appreciation to all who posted. You have generously shared your ideas with no remuneration besides perhaps the satisfaction of mentoring and teaching. I hope you know that the impact of that thread has stretched well beyond helping the original poster – I would not be surprised if many other unknown “newbies” and others are feeling the same appreciation as I do today. Thank you so much to the original poster for taking the initial “risk”, the posting practitioners, and to WealthCounsel as well!
Peter G. Lennington, Esq. – Here’s another example of the positive impact I am talking about. Mr. Lennington, or should I say Pete (“no one calls me Mr. Lennington”), is a highly-rated and well-regarded estate planning attorney at the Lennington Law Firm with offices in St. Paul, Bloomington, and Minnetonka, MN.
Having never been in contact with me before, Pete recently sent me an email asking me about the source of a survey I had briefly commented on several months ago. Murphy’s Law being in effect, I of course could not find the information anywhere. I emailed back, thanking him for the question and I also promptly changed my earlier post so that it would not state the research point too definitively (at least until I found the source). I thought that would be the end of it.
However, the next day, Pete emailed back. He wanted to make clear to me that he did not intend to point out my lack of citation but was instead looking for further information from the survey. Although I knew this already, I thought it was very courteous of him to take the time to say so. I got a big smile when he also concluded his post by saying that he enjoys my blog.
Soon, my big smile quickly got a lot bigger. At the bottom of his post, I saw his firm’s logo, and I finally realized who I was dealing with.
It turns out that Pete was one of the presenters at a week-long Wealth Counsel seminar back in 2008 involving the ins and outs of an estate planning law practice. When I first joined, one of the first documents I downloaded was the Full Materials from that seminar (about 300+ pages that I have studied rather closely since) that he co-authored. I recognized his firm’s logo because he had graciously included several of his firm’s documents in the seminar materials, and I have always found them to be excellent and quite easy to understand (unlike some of my own).
Later, I saw that Pete had also contributed to the thread referenced above. Not surprisingly, his comments received responses such as “I love your story-telling style”, “this is gold”, and “Peter’s post is excellent”.
Call me strange, but it’s no secret that I love hearing from distinguished and accomplished estate planning attorneys. We hear talk nowadays about how client service is not what it used to be and we are all competing in a decaying economy in great need of a paradigm shift. On the contrary, I have found that generosity, professionalism, and a community spirit is still alive and well in estate planning and related fields. I find that WealthCounsel, and especially including practitioners like Pete, are fine examples of these principles, which I hope and strive to emulate.
Andrea, Benjamin and Samantha Zucker – My superb wife and astounding kids. I am quite fond of all three.
Syma Zucker – My mother.
Carl K. Zucker, Esq. (1934-2002).
- In Appreciation – February 2011 (estateplanninginfoblog.com)
- In Appreciation – January 2011 (estateplanninginfoblog.com)
- In Appreciation – December 2010 (estateplanninginfoblog.com)