Planning for Life

Why Are Lawyers So Expensive?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 6, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

iStock-868775936.jpg

Lawyers are too expensive to be affordable by most Americans. The result is that most people who need legal advice and representation don't get it. This can have dire consequences with people losing their homes, getting less than adequate care and even having their lives put at risk. A recent story on National Public Radio described the plight of political asylum applicants who are unrepresented by counsel. Most lose their cases and rather than going back to life-threatening situations, going underground, joining the masses of undocumented immigrants who fear their next traffic stop.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession

Accounting Firm Gets into the Practice of Law: Is this the Future for the Legal Profession?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 10, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

The recent announcement the Big Four accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC)iStock-818880716.jpg that it is opening a law firm in Washington, D.C., could be the harbinger of revolutionary change in the practice of law. In the United States, law firms operate under archaic rules that limit law firm ownership to lawyers. This is why all law firms are partnerships rather than corporations. It's also why most law firms are under capitalized since they can't raise money from non-attorney investors or have an IPO like other businesses. As a result, they do not have the resources to invest in the systems and personnel that would permit them to modernize more quickly and provide more efficient and cost effective services to clients.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession

Should My Lawyer Be a Member of NAEPC, AAEPA, ACTEC, NAELA, etc.?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 12, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

A financial planner recently asked me the following:

Second, because this question comes up from time to time, what organization of estate planning attorneys do you recommend I use as a general resource?  I just googled "estate planning attorney organizations", but I found several:

  • NAEPClogo.png
  • AAEPA
  • ACTEC
  • NNEPA
  • NAELA
  • AATEELA

Which one should I start with?  Assume the clients have assets of $1-$3M - not enough to worry about federal estate taxes, but big enough to be somewhat complicated, and definitely worth updating the will, doing the business and health care POAs, etc.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Legal profession

A Different Approach to Estate Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 12, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I had lunch the other day with Vincent Bonazzoli of the Family Estate Planning Law Group in Lynnfield. He has a different approach to estate planning representation that may work better for many attorneys and their clients than more traditional forms of estate planning.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Legal profession

What Happens if Your Lawyer Doesn't Retire?

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 1, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

In a survey that it acknowledges is unscientific, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly asked subscribers "When do you foresee yourself retiring from the practice of law?" More than a third responded that they would work at least part-time "until I literally no longer can." Almost a quarter plan to retire between ages 70 and 80. A quarter will retire between 65 and 70 and the smallest group, 16 percent, plan to retire before age 65.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession

The Future of Law According to LegalZoom

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 26, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

I recently heard Chas Rampenthal, the general counsel of LegalZoom, the legal forms site, speak at Suffolk University Law School on how the practice of law needs to be modernized and made more efficient, accessible and affordable. He joined many commentators, most notably Richard Susskind who wrote The End of Lawyers?, in describing the practice of law as being behind the times, lawyers crafting single solutions for individual clients, which by its nature is expensive and inefficient.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession

5 Things You Should Expect from Your Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 8, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Whether you are hiring an attorney for estate planning, a litigation matter, criminal defense or for a corporate negotiation, there are a number of attributes to the legal representation that you should be able to expect. While the list could be much longer, here are five:

Read More

Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

How to Fleece an Estate . . . or Giving Lawyers a Bad Name

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 6, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

A Boston estate planning attorney recently received a public reprimand from the Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) for overcharging an estate and stretching out its administration for more than seven years. In 2003, Kenneth L. Harvey, an attorney with Holland & Knight in Boston, met with an elderly client and two of her sons. The client executed a will and a trust naming Attorney Harvey as trustee and executor. She passed away later that year.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning, probate

Should Non-Lawyers Own Law Firms?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 1, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Under the professional ethical rules governing the practice of law, law firms cannot have non-lawyer owners or investors. The theory behind this restriction is that nonlawyer owners would not be bound by the professional rules of lawyers and could influence their lawyer employees to violate those rules. Of course, lawyers already work for nonlawyers as in house general counsel to corporations and non-profit organizations, but in those cases their employer is also their client, so no conflicts arise.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

10 Questions to Ask an Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 11, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

You need to consult with an elder law attorney for either advance long-term care planning for yourself or advance long-term care planning for a loved one. You have a few names of possible attorneys that you got from friends, relatives, other advisors and the Internet. How do you determine which one to hire?

Read More

Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care planning, Legal profession

Subscribe to New Blog Posts

Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all