In Appreciation – March 2011

March 31, 2011

ThiThank You 2 300x227 In Appreciation – March 2011s 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, LLCWealthCounsel 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 – March 2011
 In Appreciation – March 2011

Scott

Scott R. Zucker, Esq. is the owner of The Zucker Law Firm PLLC, located just outside the Capital Beltway in Annandale, within five miles of the City of Fairfax, the county seat of beautiful Fairfax County, Virginia. The firm focuses mainly on estate planning services for Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania clientele, and seeks to do so in an affordable and approachable way. People interested in learning more can contact Scott by phone or email.

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4 Responses to In Appreciation – March 2011

  1. April 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I would like to second Scott’s comments on Pete (Don’t call me Mr.) Lennington. I am also a WealthCounsel member who happens to be fortunate enough to practice a mere 5 miles from Pete and have sought his counsel on several issues. He has been extremely generous with his time and knowledge in helping a fellow estate planning lawyer with marketing, legal and general drafting tips. And if you show up at his office he even serves Caribou coffee!

    • April 2, 2011 at 12:14 am

      Chris–

      Thank you for your response! I have never met Pete personally, but what you say does not surprise me at all. I am glad to hear that he is as generous on a one-on-one basis as he is to the whole group.

      I am also more and more amazed at what a great group of estate planning attorneys you have out there in the Twin Cities area, yourself included!

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Scott

      Chris Tymchuck is an estate planning attorney out of Edina, MN. Through her law practice, Unique Family Law, she not only helps multi-generational, blended and LGBT families with their wills, trusts and probate, but she also has expertise in adoptions, surrogacy and guardianships as well. I have been honored to exchange several messages with her on twitter, and also intend to follow her example by getting back out on the running trails this spring. Also check out her informative blog as well.

  2. April 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for expressing the appreciation so many of us feel. The education that comes off the listservs is so valuable, and the confidence in knowing how to proceed with complex issues is invaluable. There is learning to be had not only when a practitioner has a question, but also in reviewing the questions and responses of others. It also helps to know that you are not the only one struggling with some pretty crazy situations.

    • Scott
      April 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      Ms. Sander–

      I greatly appreciate your comment. I obviously agree wholeheartedly. I was somewhat surprised to find that the listservs provided so much information, but I am glad I found it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Scott

      Ms. Sander is an estate planning lawyer who runs her practice out of Palm Desert, CA. Check out what she can do for you at her thorough and informative website.

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