@liquidluncher

December 7th, 2010

John Torrone

Family, estate planning and real estate lawyer

Partner, Jackson & Torrone, P.C.

Today we’re tweeting w/Massachusetts family, estate planning and real estate lawyer who enjoys running, food and beer @Liquidluncher

  1. @Liquidluncher, thank you for joining us on Twitter. Tell us, who is @Liquidluncher?
    I am a western MA native. I love eating. I am a beer snob. I run a lot of charity races to burn the calories from both.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I am in Holyoke, MA. I have a general civil practice. Mostly family, guardianship, estate planning, probate & real estate
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    I have mostly private clients with divorce/custody cases. I represent a lot of guardians. I love solving probate disputes
  4. What would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting your clients?
    No one single issue but most have concerns for safety and well-being of loved ones. Many clients are in financial distress
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    I tell them I will do the best I can. They make all the final decisions. I will fight hard for them to achieve fair and just
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    There are two (1) Iranian woman with custody dispute. If lost her son would return to Iran and she would never see him (2)…
    …(2) I worked on a MA Supreme Judicial Court case regarding child support with same sex couple who had child together
  7. That sounds like challenging work. Why do your clients hire you?
    I have a good reputation for honesty and integrity. I have been described as a diplomatic bulldog. I truly look for fair
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Guardianship, estate admins and real estate. kind of typical. New Probate Code in MA. I am a bit of an authority on it
  9. How has the economic crisis affected your clients? Are you beginning to see signs of recovery?
    It has. I do limited representation b/c people cannot afford me to handle their entire case. Not sure about recovery signs
  10. Tell us about the Pro Bono Publico Award you received in 2009. What was it for?
    I received award from Bar for commitment to providing access to justice to low income people. I volunteer a lot at the Court
  11. Clearly you take pro bono very seriously. What types of pro bono do you do? How does it make you a better lawyer?
    I volunteer to represent people. Provide free info seminars. I review Guardian reports for Court. I chair vol. lawyer group
  12. That must be very satisfying…. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I usually tell people I am a problem solver and that I take care of people who need help before I tell them I am a lawyer!
  13. :-) How do you generally market your practice? Does social media play a big part in your marketing efforts?
    most marketing is word of mouth. I use online marketing including social media to market. I do very little print advertising
  14. How long have you been active on Twitter? Has your Twitter strategy changed over that time?
    About 6 mths. It has changed. Less direct marketing. It is more about maintaining presence and building relationships
  15. Makes sense. Have your Web 2.0 activities led to any referrals or client engagements?
    I have had several clients inquire about hiring me through Facebook. At least 1 from twitter. It is hard to track sometimes.
  16. That’s a great result for your efforts. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    The intermingling of politics in election of Judges. No elections in MA. Can’t make tough decision when job is on the line
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Probably pretty similar to now, except more online legal filing like in Fed Court. Probably many issues with privacy rights
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I can’t imagine doing anything else. I would probably move to Maine and become a lobster fisherman or start a brewery
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    I want to be remembered as someone who was honest and always helped the less fortunate
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I run longer distances working up to ½ marathon. Usually 6-10 miles. I like trying beer I have never had and new restaurants
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    If you can afford to, keep working, even if you have to do more pro bono. There is a lot of Ct appointed work out there too
  22. And our last question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    It is obvious that you need to work hard but equally important to learn how to market yourself and build relationships

That’s all very good advice. Thanks for tweeting with us today; was great to learn about you and your practice

No problem. This was a lot of fun! Thanks

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@ellenvictor

July 29th, 2010

Ellen Victor

Long Island Business and Estate Planning Attorney

Owner, The Law Office of Ellen A. Victor

Author, Special Needs Law Blog and Small Business Law Blog

Today we’re tweeting with Long Island business, estate planning and special needs attorney @EllenVictor

  1. @Ellenvictor thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @Ellenvictor?
    I’m a Long Island, NY business and estate planning attorney who has a special interest in #specialneeds.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    My practice ranges from small business formation to contract review to…
    to Medicaid applications to wills and complex estate plans to non-profit applications.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    #smallbiz; elderly clients who need Medicaid planning; families with #specialneeds kids; average families who need estate planning
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Protecting their assets: from the taxman, from the nursing home, from immature children, from creditors and predators
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    I tell them they are going to get a lawyer who will always be available to answer their questions; that they are not alone
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    My last fun case was representing an incorporated church in a dissolution proceeding, and selling the underlying property.
  7. That must have been interesting…. Why do your clients hire you?
    I believe they sense my compassion, caring, competence, and commitment.
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    my practice is evenly split between estate planning, not for profit 501(c)(3) status applications and Medicaid planning
  9. How has special needs law changed since you started practicing it? Is it still evolving?
    Unfortunately, government entitlements are under fire, special needs trusts must be carefully drafted to ensure compliance
  10. How are your small business clients faring in the current economic climate? Are they beginning to see improvement?
    Research shows that businesses started during a recession often flourish when the economy recovers.
  11. Let’s hope that trend continues…. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I help families and businesses protect the people and things they care about, from taxes, nursing home costs, and even themselves.
  12. You author two separate blogs (http://bit.ly/a84YK5 and http://bit.ly/9QDQZR). Are they effective marketing tools? Why?
    Because of my writing, clients come to me already convinced of my knowledge, experience and compassion
  13. sounds like a resounding “yes”…. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives? Have they changed?
    About a year ago @JeenaBelil, a LI colleague, convinced me Twitter would be fun, and it has been!
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    I’ve received requests to write articles, teach classes, and referrals from other lawyers thru my Web 2.0 activities
  15. Wow, that’s great ROI. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    I’d estimate about an hour per day between my two blogs, various listservs and checking in to Twitter and Facebook
  16. Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    The new economics of law: outsourcing, virtual paralegals, flextime, alternative billing and alternate dispute resolution
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    The law will become even more multi-jurisdictional and multi-national. Even small businesses must deal w/ internet issues.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I believe I’d make a great psychologist. I pride myself on my insight and caring about people.
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    As a parent of a special needs child, my greatest accomplishment has been her success
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I like travel, watching reality TV and reading serial killer novels, but like most solo lawyers, I’m almost always working!
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Hang in there! Keep networking and studying your area of the law; branch out into related areas of law
  22. And our last question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    oh, boy. I’d suggest law students should work hard to learn practical skills by taking clinics and interning for firms

Valuable advice! Thanks very much for the interview; I enjoyed learning more about you and your practice.

Thank you so much for inviting me to share some of my thoughts

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@howardcollens

March 2nd, 2010

Howard H. Collens

Probate and Estate Planning Lawyer

Member, Galloway and Collens

Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Today we’re tweeting with Michigan probate and estate planning lawyer and Detroit Tigers fan @howardcollens

  1. @howardcollens thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @howardcollens?
    Thanks for having me. Attorney for 15 years. Husband, father of 3, lifelong Detroiter & Detroit Tigers fan.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    Galloway and Collens, PLLC has been a firm for 7 years. We started with 2 lawyers, no clients & have grown every year.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Mostly individuals. Our practice focuses on estate planning, probate and trust administration, elder law, real estate issues
  4. And what would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    The impact of the new Michigan Trust Code will be the most significant legal issue on planning and estate administration
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Each client’s case is unique. It will unfold in its own individual way. I explore the client’s goals & hopes early on.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    In a contested probate, I was able to leverage a will, handwritten into the decedent’s patient advocate designation form, …
    to carry out the decedent’s intent to benefit my client, her neighbor.
  7. A very satisfying result, I’m sure. Why do your clients hire you?
    Whether the client is a young family planning for their children, an elder worried about the costs of long term care or …
    a family who has just experienced a death, my clients look to exchange uncertainty for certainty, crisis for calm.
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Short sales & loan modifications. Representing investors purchasing property in Metro Detroit. See OutFromUnderMyHouse.com
  9. Understandable developments…. How has the economic crisis affected your clients?
    I see more economic exploitation of seniors. The probate practice has not been too impacted….
    One does not get to wait until better financial times to contest an estate or deal with a guardianship of a loved one.
  10. Indeed. What are some common mistakes people make when preparing estate plans?
    The most complicated (and expensive) administrations result from the estate plans that people write themselves.
  11. There’s a valuable lesson in that…. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    People have a personal connection to our practice. Everyone has a will or trust or is planning to put one in place.
  12. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    Nov 2008. At 1st, purely social. Now, social and biz. I like that through tweeting you get to tell & learn all at once.
  13. Besides Twitter, what other Web 2.0 tools do you use to market your practice?
    Facebook, LinkedIn. Looking to use Ustream. Clients from all over the country and the world find us through our websites.
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    Expansion of social networks and staying connected/reconnecting with friends has lead to real business.
  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    It varies. I try to balance brand development w getting the work done. In a small firm setting, this is a delicate balance.
  16. I’m sure it is. Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    The larger impacts caused by economic uncertainty both on the clients and on lawyers and their firms.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    I hope our local probate courts will finally have electronic filing and better, more robust remote access to court files.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I would love to be a baker. There is magic in making a loaf of bread from scratch.
  19. Would you believe that you are the fourth twitterviewee to say “baker”? How do you want to be remembered?
    Amazing on the baker answer. I idealize it as a let the stress out sort of job. I would hope I would be remembered . . .
    As a caring husband, engaged father. As a person who believes in the power of community. As an advocate of planned giving.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I coach my son’s soccer team. Enjoy watching a good baseball game. I keep a garden. Canned home-grown pickles last summer.
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Don’t give up. Doing something you are passionate about in the law (or toward whatever you want to accomplish) will work out
  22. And our final question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Strike a good balance between study and extracurriculars and/or clerking….
    The day to day practical application of the law during law school should not be missed/overlooked.

Thanks; that’s useful advice. Enjoyed tweeting with you today, and learning about you and your practice.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to participate in this twitterview.

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@leannahamill

October 29th, 2009

mypictureLeanna Hamill

Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorney

Co-founder of Women Attorneys Network of the South Shore

Author of Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Today we’re tweeting with Massachusetts Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney and aspiring yogi @Leannahamill

  1. @Leannahamill thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @Leannahamill?
    She is the woman you are interviewing – Auntie, yogi, dog owner, attorney, business dev. manager, among other things.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I have a 4 yo estate & elder law firm in a small town south of Boston. A solo practice, but I share space w/ another attorney.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    People who want to plan for the future, or need help dealing with a crisis.
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    The ability to protect their choices about their health care, their family, their property, & end of life wishes.
  5. Important issues indeed. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    That they need to pay me before I start working for them. And that they made the right decision deciding to put a plan in place.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    One of my first clients – helped her write her estate plan, a few years later met her at the hospital when she fell…
    …helped her friend serve as health care agent & power of attorney, helped her sell her condo to pay for assisted living…
    …made sure her last wishes were honored & went to her funeral after she passed. She was an amazing woman & great client.
  7. That’s a great story. Why do your clients hire you?
    I think I make them feel comfortable, they feel confident that I know what I’m doing & usually someone suggested that they hire me.
  8. That’s a good reputation to have… What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Right now lots of guardianship matters. Not typical, but not usually something that can be put off if it’s needed…
    And lots of estate planning, which is more typical. Mostly folks nearing retirement age.
  9. How are your clients managing the crisis? Is it a matter of meeting financial needs or are consequences much greater?
    Some laid low, put off planning for a bit. Younger families held onto their money. Probate work & Medicaid planning continued….
    Most clients came through ok, although those who were saving for retirement in stocks have less than they had planned on.
  10. That’s good to hear. How do you market your practice?
    Mostly through my blog, which brings about 50% of my business. Also thru seminars, quarterly newsletter & mentions in the media…
    I also have clients who act as my own little marketing dept, telling their friends & family about me. That is my favorite way to mkt
  11. Absolutely! How do you describe what you do to people you meet at networking events?
    I don’t have an elevator pitch. I usually just say “I’m an estate planning & elder law attorney”…
    Networking events are my least favorite & least productive way to get clients. But I go to the fun ones & where my friends are.
  12. You blog at MA Estate Planning and Elder Law (http://bit.ly/nq4wv). Who do you write for? Why should they read it?
    I write for potential clients, their children, other attorneys & professional. They should read for useful information.
  13. Besides Twitter and your blog, what Web 2.0 tools do you regularly use to market your practice?
    I am on Avvo, JDSupra, Justia, Linked In. I have a Facebook Fan page: http://is.gd/4HtFg.
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    I’ve gotten at least 1 client from each. Blog brings about 50% of my business & media inquiries. Twtr strengthens relationships.
  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Hopefully the whole time I’m at work I’m strengthening my brand…keeping my name out there & doing great work for clients.
  16. Well it seems to be working! What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Having to adjust to clients wanting new types of billing & having to learn to market beyond yellow pages & newspaper ads…
    I think we forget that many attorneys still rely on those old ways of marketing & don’t use blogs, and other online tools.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    smaller firms, more “virtual” services, only those people who really want to be attorneys will go to law school….
    It won’t be the “get rich quick” career it was.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Live in a cabin in the mountains, sew, cook, raise goats & have a couture clothing line for children.
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    As a fabulous Auntie, wonderful sister, great friend & fantastic attorney. Hopefully I won’t need to be remembered for a long time.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Cook, knit, sew, hike, swim, read, yoga, & chant kirtan when I can find it around here. Hang out with my family.
  21. Busy…. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Don’t settle or wait for something to fall in your lap. Be proactive and market yourself, and ask for what you are worth.
  22. And our last question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Don’t worry about your friend’s study habits. Find what works for you & stick w/ it. Not everyone needs to be at the library @ 1am.

That’s very useful advice. Thank you very much for tweeting w/me today; I enjoyed learning about you and your practice

Thanks for having me!

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