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Raising the Bar NH’s Top Attorneys
 
Published Tuesday, March 17, 2015
by ERIKA COHEN AND MATTHEW J. MOWRY

While TV legal shows often end in dramatic courtroom battles, in reality most cases are settled out of court after careful negotiations between attorneys. Lawyer after lawyer featured in our fourth installment of NH’s Top Attorneys spoke about resolving cases from divorce to corporate bankruptcy without a judge or jury, instead choosing mediation and negotiation to settle.

The attorneys featured here were chosen by their peers for being the best in their field of practice. To identify these 17 attorneys in 15 specialty areas (there are two practice specialties where two attorneys from the same firms were selected), Business NH Magazine sent surveys to attorneys across the state asking who they would want representing them or who they wouldn’t want to see across the table as opposing counsel. Attorneys who nominated colleagues at their own firm were required to nominate an equal number of lawyers outside their firm, with external nominations given more weight.

We received nominations for more than 250 attorneys. Among the lawyers profiled this year is one who also made our list in 2002 (Daniel Sklar), a pair who also made the list in 2010 (immigration attorneys Susan Goff and John Wilson) and four who made the list in 2012 (Sarah Knowlton, William A. Mulvey Jr., Mary Tenn and Paul Remus). We congratulate all those recognized as the top in their fields by their peers.

Bankruptcy Law

Dan Sklar, Partner, Nixon Peabody, www.nixonpeabody.com

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The $1 billion bankruptcy filing by GT Advanced Technologies in Merrimack was splashed across newspapers and the Internet, but not the man helping to lead the legal filing. That is usually the case for bankruptcy attorney Dan Sklar, who works behind the scenes on business bankruptcies of all sizes.

“The rewarding part is when you can save a business and x number of jobs. For the most part we are dealing with privately held companies and they represent an individual identity, their legacy and their life’s work. If you can save it and return it to prosperity it’s pretty fulfilling,” Sklar says. GT was recently given permission to sell some of the sapphire furnaces to pay back creditors and is formulating a plan for reorganization.

Sklar’s biggest case last year was a bankruptcy filing by St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY with more than $50 million in claims. In the end, it was sold to another New York hospital and thousands of jobs were saved. But because health care is so heavily regulated, Sklar was leading a team of 70 lawyers that addressed issues including privacy concerns, unions and pharmacy regulations. At one point the hospital, a major trauma center, was down to its last IV starter kit but was waiting for the release of funds to purchase more.

For Sklar, every case is a chance to learn about a new industry, whether it’s banking, health care, steel manufacturing, airlines or in the case of GT, sapphire furnaces. “That’s probably the most interesting thing about the job,” he says. “Just about every case represents a learning curve to understand the specific nuances of the company.”

The number of business bankruptcies have declined in recent years, he says, and there are fewer cases of “traditional bootstrapped reorganization” since the recession. Instead there are more sales to a third party, or a complete liquidation of the company, as most distressed companies wait too long and liquidation is the only option. Most of his cases now also take less time (five months to substantially complete versus 18 to 24 months) as more companies settle outside of the courtroom prior to a formal bankruptcy filing as that is cheaper and more efficient.

Bankruptcy law is also less adversarial than it was in the early 2000s. “We’re working together to try and get it done” earlier in the process, he says. Part of that work involves marketing the bankrupt company and identifying potential buyers. 

 

Corporate Law

Matthew H. Benson, Attorney, Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson PLLC, www.clrm.com

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Matthew Benson is an entrepreneur at heart, which manifests through his work helping tech startups grow in NH.

“I like the thought of helping people move to the next level of their business and help them grow their business,” says Benson, who also serves on the board of the NH High Tech Council.

Benson is an integral player in cultivating the state’s high tech ecosystem. He represents entrepreneurs at all stages of their businesses, from startup to exit, on matters ranging from entity formation to obtaining angel and venture capital financing to executive and employee compensation and exit strategies. He is the go-to guy for many tech firms, advising them on software licensing, licensing of intellectual property and website development issues. 

It’s that type of work that attracted him to his current firm in 1998, which markets itself as business lawyers for entrepreneurs. “This fits everything I was looking for. It’s a platform to work with fast growing high-tech companies,” he says.

In his practice, Benson has helped a rapidly growing software company obtain millions in financing from a venture capital firm, assisted in the sale of a company to a large multinational public company, and represented a client in the sale of a company to an international corporation, including negotiating employment agreements for senior management.

In helping these companies to grow, Benson seeks to help them avoid pitfalls and effectively manage risk. “I tell clients when they make decisions, they need to make well-educated decisions,” he says.

Benson says clients appear to be more optimistic about the future, and he sees more coming to him with questions pertaining to growth, raising capital and rolling out option and incentive plans for employees.

“I now have a sense they are pushing forward rather than hunkering down,” he says. “New Hampshire is a great place to have and run a business. I’m optimistic that New Hampshire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will continue to grow and flourish.” 

 

Criminal Law

Brian Quirk, Director with Preti Flaherty in Concord, www.preti.com

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In his past life, Brian Quirk prosecuted homicides and white-collar criminals. Now he represents them. As co-chair of Preti Flaherty’s White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, he is respected for his acumen in negotiating deals for his clients as well as his courtroom expertise. While the majority of his clients are individuals—including a CFO of a large corporation who was indicted for theft and sued by his company as well as a COO in another case under federal investigation—he also represents companies that find themselves facing criminal charges. As a member of the firm’s Securities Practice Group, he has represented several multinational financial firms in securities litigation.

Quirk’s previous careers paved the way for his success as a criminal defense attorney, especially for those charged with or being investigated for white collar crimes. “After law school I got a judicial clerkship with the NH Superior Court. I clerked on first-degree murder cases, and watching the prosecution from the Attorney General’s Office and the defense attorneys, I knew pursuing criminal law was something I wanted to do,” he says.

Quirk joined the Attorney General’s Office and served as a senior assistant attorney general in the Homicide Unit of the NH Department of Justice. There he prosecuted not only homicides but white-collar crimes as well and represented the State of NH in court. After seven years, he decided it was time to switch to the private sector and joined Preti Flaherty in 2003. Quirk says it took some time for him to get used to defense work, but says, “For individuals under investigation or accused of crimes, it’s important that their rights are protected and they have good counsel helping them through the system. Sometimes this means taking a case to trial where someone is wrongly accused, but often times it’s helping a client achieve the best possible outcome.”

Quirk says he’s seen an uptick in financial fraud cases, from Ponzi schemes to theft by deception to securities violations to simple theft. “I think people have been under a great deal of financial pressure and unfortunately [at times] turn to illegal activities to cure their financial issues,” he says.

 

Energy/Utilities

Sarah KnowltonAssistant General Counsel, Liberty Utilities in Londonderrywww.libertyutilities.com

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Most people don’t think about their utilities unless the electricity goes out or their heat or electric bill rises sharply. Sarah Knowlton thinks about them all the time—and loves every minute of it. “My interest has always been to solve problems that have a wide scale impact,” says Knowlton, who started as a social worker, moved on to public health law and became an expert in utility law. “Public utilities affect people in all aspects of their lives in the same way public health cuts across society. It’s something that as a society we are completely dependent on.”

Having previously served as one of many lawyers for Public Service of NH, she is now the sole legal counsel for Liberty Utilities, which provides electricity and natural gas. Last year, she had 19 dockets with the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) including a compressed natural gas refueling and filling station in Concord for a Liberty customer building the multimillion dollar project and an electricity rate increase equal to 39 to 59 percent depending on the customer and usage. She also secured PUC approval for energy efficiency programs for 2015 and 2016.

A longer-term project involves PUC approval for Liberty, the largest natural gas provider in the state, to purchase capacity from the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline extension. The new pipeline would travel into Northern Massachusetts and then connect to pipelines in NH. The pipeline is expected to be completed in 2018 if it is approved.

“I have a new appreciation for the complexity of the business,” says Knowlton of her switch to Liberty in July 2012. “The longer I do it, the more I’m able to connect the dots across all aspects of the business. It’s a constantly evolving landscape.”

 

Environmental Law

Sherilyn Burnett Young, Co-founder and President of Rath, Young and Pignatelli in Concord, www.rathlaw.com

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One of Sherilyn Young’s first cases as a lawyer in NH was one of the first Superfund cases in the state involving 160 companies being sued by the EPA. “We defended one of the larger generators in that group,” Young says. “It was a fascinating case. There was [little] case law at the time.” Now she heads the Environmental Practice Group at Rath, Young and Pignatelli.

 Her practice includes environmental compliance, permits and approvals, and real estate transactions involving contaminated properties. She has assisted businesses in managing the environmental liability risks when acquiring contaminated industrial sites, and advised operators of an electric generating facility on greenhouse gas emissions monitoring requirements and Acid Rain Program compliance.

She is currently representing the City of Rochester, one of three Seacoast communities in a drawn out dispute with the state over nitrogen discharges into Great Bay. “We retained a panel of national experts who did peer review of the science driving the criteria, and their conclusion was there was not sufficient scientific basis to set nitrogen levels as low.” At one point there were four different lawsuits involved in the case, but all have now been settled and Young says the case is moving in a more “productive direction.”

 “I enjoy trying to find the intersection between the regulated community, industries and municipalities to find common ground where the agency gets what it needs and the company can accept that compromise. I find that challenging and satisfying,” she says. “I help [agencies] understand my client’s perspective and see where a reasonable compromise can be had.”

While Young is a skilled litigator, she prefers to save her clients the aggravation and expense of a trial when she can. “I view litigation as a failure of good communication among the parties. Litigation usually means winner takes all. It can be a crap shoot,” she says. “I take greater pride in achieving settlements my clients find reasonable that allow them to move on with their business.”

 

Family Law

Mary Tenn and Jim TennPartners, Tenn & Tenn in Manchester, www.tennandtenn.com

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Managing conflict is the hardest part of the job for most managers. For siblings Mary and Jim Tenn, it is what makes them excel at their job. The siblings’ family law practice focuses on helping high net worth individuals traverse the tricky, and emotional, process of getting divorced, and the many complications that ensue including parental rights and responsibilities and asset division.

“A huge part of our practice is to be an advisor and problem solver to our clients,” says Mary Tenn. Adds Jim, “Parents can still be divorced and work together in the best interests of the children. And we truly believe that.”

Divorce is on the rise and that keeps the Tenns busy, though usually not in court. Increasingly, family law cases are resolved outside of court through some form of alternative dispute resolution.  In many cases, Mary Tenn says, there is a gross disparity in earnings, and sometimes, tensions can be high. “You work with people in the most difficult circumstances to provide a solution in their best interests and the interests of their children … We have to counsel them on how to move forward to restore some communication and some trust,” says Jim Tenn.

Divorces are complicated, involving issues ranging from real estate disputes to business ownership and tax ramifications. “You basically cover in a family law case every aspect of a family’s life,” says Mary Tenn. And unlike other fields of law, the siblings say the two parties have more interest in working together for a solution as they are related. Mary Tenn says family lawyers have hearts in the right places and often effectively advocate for their client while being cordial with opposing counsel, which she says makes the practice rewarding.

Working as siblings has its advantages, says Mary Tenn, explaining she and Jim, and their two other siblings in the firm, “are not only professional colleagues but care a lot about each other,” which she says increases collaboration.

“We like working together. It’s fun to work with your family,” says Jim Tenn.

 

Health Care

Andrew Eills, Attorney, Andrew Eills Law Offices PLLC in Concord, www.eillslaw.com

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After years of building respected health care practices for major firms, Andrew Eills hung his own shingle almost three years ago. “My practice is really New Hampshire based. My former firm is a large regional firm. I decided I could serve my clients in a New Hampshire centric way and work with them from a new platform,” he says.

Eills has extensive experience in representing clients in certificate of need (CON) proceedings before the NH Health Services Planning and Review Board that approves new health care facilities, additions and major equipment expenditures. “That process has been valuable to clients and the public. A client has to sharpen their pencil and decide if they really need to expend capital in a new facility. The public gets to see and hear about these entities and how they will spend their money,” he says.

A number of years ago, Eills represented Golden View Health Care Center in its attempt to add patient beds in the Lakes Region when the state was allowing a limited number of nursing home slots to be added in Belknap County. Genesis Healthcare was also looking to expand there. After some contentious hearings, Golden View prevailed. To prevent an appeal, Eills helped to broker a settlement between the two entities to split the available beds.

The past few years have brought radical changes to the health care industry, making his job even more intriguing. “The landscape will change,” Eills says of NH’s health care industry. “With new technology and consolidation [of health practices], it is an exciting time to be part of health care law.”

Among the dramatic changes driving the health care industry, and his practice, is the shift from a fee-for-service model to compensating providers for quality care; conflicts that arise from the major changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act without any real changes to the regulatory structure; and technology advances that are changing the way medical services are delivered, including telemedicine, which bring new legal questions about privacy and security.

 

Immigration LAW

Susan Goff and John WilsonFounders, Goff Wilson in Concord, www.goffwilson.com

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With visas hard to come by and a talent shortage in the United States, NH companies need good lawyers on hand to assist with bringing in foreign nationals to fill the talent gap and remain competitive. In NH, companies often turn to the team at GoffWilson in Concord. The global immigration practice helps American companies clear immigration hurdles when hiring foreign nationals, when NH citizens relocate for jobs worldwide and when foreign workers get visas to work in the United States.

“There are a limited number of visas, and there is always a challenge to try to get these visas,” says John Wilson, president and partner of GoffWilson. “United States employers seek out foreign nationals because they can’t find the talent they need in the United States.” Foreign nationals face scrutiny before being granted a visa, so GoffWilson compiles applications showcasing the worker’s talents and experiences.

“We have the opportunity to put together applications for an immigrant visa for extraordinary individuals who have achieved notoriety and a level of success that goes beyond the average person. To work with them, read their work and meet them is very interesting work,” says Susan Goff, a founding partner of the firm, noting she has had the chance to speak with Nobel prize winners who serve as references when pulling together applications. Sectors with the greatest need for workers include health care, engineering and high tech.

The firm, which has global offices in Paris, works with clients across the United States on their immigration needs. Goff and Wilson frequently travel abroad, using the Paris office for a base of operations to help Europeans secure visas to the United States and to help companies invest money overseas or open U.S. operations. Wilson says the lack of visas slows the growth of U.S. companies and the economy. He finds it rewarding to bring in more workers and help companies grow. He also enjoys attending citizenship ceremonies for those he helps through the entire process.

 

Intellectual Property

Paul C. Remus, Shareholder, Devine Millimet in Manchester, www.devinemillimet.com

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People regularly come in Paul Remus’s office with a model of an invention or information about new software and some key questions:  Can I patent this? How different is it from other things out there? Or, the most challenging: I think I might be infringing on some other patent. Can you help me find out?

“I still enjoy figuring out how things work,” says Remus, who majored in physics in college and started Devine Millimet’s patent department. “An inventor comes in, usually they bring some kind of model or approximation of their invention, and you get to hold it in your hand and see how it works.” Remus’s practice is focused on filing patent applications, drafting non-infringement opinions and licensing technology, something he does for the tech transfer office at the University of NH in Durham.

He also offers 30-minute sessions at no charge to any NH inventor. “New Hampshire is a small state, and it’s our service to New Hampshire,” he says. “We get some strange inventions, but that is the price we pay for our service.” Those include a briefcase lined with aluminum foil so the government couldn’t read documents stored inside of it and an “inventor” who wanted to cure cancer based on an article she read in a magazine.

Some of Remus’s memorable inventions he’s seen over the years include an electronic apparatus that was later sent out on a satellite and a new way to encrypt digital messages.

One of the big challenges is patent infringement. Remus often helps clients determine whether the invention described in a potential patent would infringe on an existing one. It involves researching other patent applications, reading about the science involved in different patents and taking a look at the precise wording.

“If they later get sued for infringement and have this opinion, even if they lose, there is then a limit on the damages the other party can get,” he explains, adding that without the initial opinion the damages owed could be tripled. Every couple of years he also ends up in court if his client is suing someone else for patent infringement, but infringement cases have decreased due to recent court cases that have limited damages even if infringement is proven.

 

Labor and Employment Law

David W. McGrath, Managing Director of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green in Manchester, www.Sheehan.com

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When David McGrath graduated law school, many of his colleagues sought to join firms in large cities, but he wanted to find a New England firm where he could have a long-term practice that was as “sophisticated” as any found in large firms in New York City or Washington D.C.

He found it at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green in Manchester, where he has worked his way from associate to chairman of the firm’s Litigation Department, to this month, transitioning to the firm’s managing director. “We can represent a family in a timber dispute or a large international company in a complex dispute. It’s nice to have that variety,” he says.

While he takes the reins of the firm, it won’t keep him out of court. “We [litigators] like the show. We even like being in depositions because we’re inquisitive and we like to be in control, and questioning witnesses is often a lot of fun. In many ways, it’s [like] a game of chess,” he says.

McGrath is also a skilled negotiator and  as a certified mediator is often called upon to help parties settle employment disputes outside the courtroom.

“I find that to be enormously gratifying,” McGrath says of mediation. “While a trial is sometimes necessary, mediation allows all parties to retain some control in the outcome, which is important.”

In his practice, McGrath routinely handles cases involving trade secrets, non-competition, predatory hiring, discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination.

Lately, McGrath says there has been an increase in the number of Whistleblower cases being brought forward. He is not sure what is driving those trends.

“I see more multi-state issues coming up” in regards to employment law, McGrath says, as many companies now have locations in different states.  “Those clients are looking for advice that goes beyond New Hampshire. We saw this coming, which is why we regionalized our practice some years ago,” he says.

 

Litigation

Bruce W. Felmly, Chairman of the Litigation Department, McLane Law Firm in Manchester, www.mclane.com

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With more than 40 years of experience litigating cases, Bruce Felmly has gone to court to fight for everything from mothers in custody disputes to national companies facing lawsuits. “You have people with the worst possible nightmares putting them in your hands to fix them,” Felmly says. “It’s rewarding and empowering.”

Felmly was appellate counsel in securing a landmark victory for NH businesses seeking insurance coverage for environmental claims. He also successfully defended Microsoft in antitrust claims, represented a large corporation against the state in a case relating to MTBE contamination, and represented Stop & Shop supermarkets in defense of an e.coli claim. His practice runs the gamut of anti-trust, trade secret and patent litigation, construction, environmental, insurance recovery and real estate.

It’s not just major corporations he goes to bat for, recalling a recent pro bono case he took on for a single mom dealing with issues of child support. “It was enormously taxing as the family problems were so severe,” he says. “It’s not a small case to the mom or me, and it wasn’t easy.”

Felmly has literally written the book on how to prepare for trial—it will be published by the American Bar Association this year. He says while the stereotype is trial lawyers are combative and forceful, the good ones are problem solvers and collegial.

“You don’t bring a baseball bat to the situation. There are certainly clients who want to hire the toughest, meanest guy to fight their fight. They are a small percentage. Most people and companies that hire me want someone who won’t just be a bull in a china shop. They want someone seen as highly professional and in command of the facts and the law,” Felmly says.

Among the biggest issues Felmly sees facing NH’s court system is it is “woefully underfunded,” and there has been an increase in the number of people in the state who are representing themselves in court, which puts heavy demands on judges and puts those defendants at a severe disadvantage.

 

Lobbying

Bob Dunn, Shareholder, Devine Millimet in Concord, www.devinemillimet .com

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Bob Dunn has worked both sides of the lobbying world, starting his career in the NH government before moving to the private sector to lobby his former bosses on behalf of various clients including Catholic Medical Center, FairPoint Communications, NH Electric Cooperative, Roman Catholic Bishop of Manchester and AAA Northern New England.

Before joining Devine Millimet, Dunn served as assistant commissioner of the NH Department of Safety and as an assistant attorney general in the Civil Bureau of the NH Department of Justice. Now as director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs at Devine Millimet, Dunn brings his knowledge of the inner workings of state government to bear for his clients.

Dunn loves it because the NH Legislature, the largest legislature in the country and all of them volunteers, represents true grass-roots representation and lawmaking.

If you took NH’s ratio of legislators to citizens and applied it at the federal level, there would be about 95,000 U.S. House members, Dunn says. “We have a true grass roots legislature.”

Since it is a volunteer legislature with a small staff, Dunn says lawmakers in NH rely heavily on lobbyists for information about the hundreds of bills they vote on. “A lawyer in the lobbying world not only has a hand in how the law is applied, but how the law gets made,” Dunn says. “A lobbyist in many ways is a guide [for the client]. The lobbyist helps that expedition get to its destination without falling off a cliff.”

Dunn says lobbyists must be careful they present information legislators need without losing credibility. “The minute you lose your reputation for trustworthiness and credibility, you lose your power to persuade,” he says.

Last year, Dunn successfully advocated for the passage of legislation allowing nursing homes to recover money from people who received an asset transfer from residents when those transfers resulted in those seniors being disqualified for Medicaid. “It’s really the first in the nation to address this problem,” he says.

 

Mediation

William A. Mulvey Jr, Principal, Mulvey, Cornell & Mulvey in Portsmouthwww.nhinjuryfirm.com

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During mediation, being friendly, reducing anger and making things informal are key. And because it happens outside the courtroom, cases can be resolved in months, not years. And that is why William Mulvey Jr. spends 75 percent of his time mediating cases.

“We are trying to solve the problem instead of just advocating for one side or the other,” Mulvey says, adding that 90 percent of his cases are resolved without a judge or jury involved. “There is a lot of risk involved. You are trying to find an outcome people will say OK to, which may be less than the court verdict, but at the end of the day give enough certainty to both sides to not need to appeal.”

Mulvey helped shape mediation in NH, having served as one of the prime sponsors of Superior Court Rule 170, which governs mediation. Still, he recognizes it is not for everyone and spends part of his time as a litigator on cases involving accidents and commercial matters. He recently mediated what he says was the largest product liability verdict in the history of Vermont. The case had been decided, and the parties mediated to avoid the uncertainty of an appeal, a process that began in Burlington at 8:30 in the morning and went well into midnight but was completely resolved.

That kind of persistence is what it takes to be a good mediator, he says. “You have to care about people, and secondly, you have to really want to find a solution to whatever the problem is,” Mulvey says. While court cases are adversarial and take away the reins of control, mediation lets parties decide jointly on a settlement, or to decide they can’t. The biggest challenge is assessing attitudes. “Do the parties come to the mediation looking for a solution, or do they believe they are going to get the other side to capitulate?”

 

Tax Trusts & Estates

Colleen D. O’ConnellPartner, Barradale, O’Connell, Newkirk & Dwyer PA in Bedford, www.bondpa.com

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For many lawyers, their service to clients captures a moment in time: a business merger, a messy divorce, a patent application, or a human resources issue. Colleen O’Connell’s job is to help people throughout their life, and that’s why she finds her job so rewarding.

“You do get to know quite a bit about your clients and for the long term,” says O’Connell, who provides tax, trusts and estate plans, including charitable giving and business succession planning.  O’Connell recounts helping a client with the legal and financial ramifications of a deceased spouse, and then later a prenuptial agreement with a new spouse. She has helped couples plan for children, then themselves, and then the next generation.

“I have clients I have been working with over 20 years. Some [firms] consider an estate plan a transactional thing. We have long-term relationships with most of our clients,” she says, adding part of the job is helping clients handle financial issues while dealing with tragedy, such as the death of a spouse or child. “[It’s] just being there and helping them get through it, at least the financial issues.”

O’Connell says the downturn led many law firms to downsize or freeze hiring and resulted in more solo practices with a wider breadth of services. This has meant more competition for clients, something her firm faces by having less overhead and being specialists in the field.

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just for the wealthy, especially as the tax exemption for estate taxes has steadily risen from $600,000 early on in her practice to $5.4 million in 2015 for one person, and $10 million for a married couple. Since there are few NH residents with this level of wealth, it reinforces the importance of planning for the future regardless of family wealth.

While O’Connell says everyone should have an estate plan, she says some people still consider it a luxury item. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with clients for their first estate plan because they are retired and are making their first big trip,” she says.

 

Personal Injury Law

Paul W. Chant, Partner, Cooper Cargill Chant in North Conway, www.coopercargillchant.com

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Paul Chant represented a woman who fell on ice in the parking lot of a pizza restaurant, injuring her ankle to the point she needed rods and screws implanted in it, and could not work for a few months. Chant used the restaurants’ own pizza delivery records to prove its delivery people had walked across the same ice several times prior to her fall, giving the restaurant ample opportunity to fix the situation before his client’s accident. He won her a sizable award.

“I got a letter from that client that she and her husband were able to buy a new home and move to a better school district. She wrote, ‘You don’t know what it means to improve our lives and that of our kids.’ The idea that our involvement can change people’s lives is a motivator,” Chant says of his career building a successful personal injury practice.

He recalls another recent case where he was able to secure a settlement for a client that was 10 times the original amount being offered by the insurance company.

Chant actually began his career on the other side of personal injury cases representing insurance companies for six years. “I came to realize there was an art form to the best lawyers on the other side building their cases and effectively litigating for injured people and I thought that was an interesting thing to do so I went out and did it,” Chant says. He is passionate about his work as he is able to help people with serious injuries collect money that helps them deal with the fallout of those injuries, including mounting medical bills and loss of income or their jobs. Chant also works with creditors and medical institutions to “hold them at bay” while his client recovers and the case is being resolved.

Chant says his main job is to educate the insurance company about his client’s case and why the facts justify a higher settlement without going through a protracted trial. And he tries to resolve cases in a timely manner. “Cases can’t go on too long for a lot of people because financially, mentally, spiritually, and physically, they can’t handle that,” he says.


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