From left: Katherine Hynes, Jason Smith, Amanda Ell and Nicole Hurley of Smith Legacy Law.
Smith Legacy Law opened its doors at Greenwich Office Park 2 earlier this summer, a development that came naturally to founding partner and senior legal strategist Jason Smith.
Smith has previously practiced with several nationally recognized law firms and independently from Jason J. Smith’s Greenwich law firms, and gained experience in trusts and estates.
Prior to founding his own law firm three years ago, Smith was a partner at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone LLP in Long Island, where he successfully established an escrow and inheritance practice. Prior to that, he was a lawyer at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in Manhattan.
Greenwich-based Smith hopes the new law firm and office will help reach new and existing clients and refocus his offerings.
“It seemed like a good time to really rethink our brand and business model, and really address every aspect of our business, to basically reinvent ourselves,” he said. “So that led to the introduction of Smith Legacy Law. It should be something that will live for generations to come and should be more than just me. The idea is that the Solo model has now developed into a boutique company. “
At the firm, Smith and his team provide estate planning, administration, and litigation. According to Smith, his usual clientele is made up of individuals and families with medium to very high wealth. Typically, they can also have a family business, joint property, or property.
There are three advisers with Smith, two of whom are trust and probate lawyers. Katherine Hynes, Associate, has experience as a local, state, and state attorney, having previously served in the Westchester County and Bronx County’s district attorneys. Amanda Ell, Associate, has a background in civil procedural law and matrimonial law.
Nicole Hurley, Estate Planning Assistant, has been with Smith’s firm for the past several years, running the firm’s estate planning side, bringing her more than 10 years of experience in the field to the table.
“I span both worlds (litigation and planning), which is actually one of the things that make us and our practice unique,” said Smith. “There aren’t many fiduciary and probate litigators who have extensive planning experience or vice versa, and not many law firms that do both, so we’re unique in this regard. We have a trusted, excellent bank of very experienced professionals who contribute a lot to both sides of the house. “
This type of legal advice is always in high demand, according to Smith, but changes in tax law and tax cuts – as both implemented and proposed with recent changes in the federal government and executive – make it more complex.
“I would say this is unprecedented in many ways because we are changing so much in tax law, both proposed and implemented,” said Smith. “When Donald Trump was President, we had the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which really changed things about income taxation dramatically, and the resulting limitation on state and local income tax deduction. We also had generally lower tax rates as well as a very preferred corporate tax rate. We also had sky-high federal inheritance and gift taxes, as well as transfer tax exemption models across generations.
“Now we have Biden, and with his administration and new laws on the horizon, we will very likely consider changing tax rates. In general, I would say that we must all expect rising tax rates. Tax bills are likely to go up for the fairly wealthy, and what planning techniques are recommended or recommended will change really dramatically. “
Smith Legacy Law’s mission is to be the “lifelong attorney” of every client, and Smith hopes that he can use the expertise of his team and his team to help clients with anything that comes their way whether they want insights, advice, a friendly ear or even a referral for additional, specialized help.
“It is a situation where I am very closely associated with them as a trusted advisor,” he said. “We have personal relationships. That’s why I love this practice very much, because I almost feel like part of the family. They trust me, they rely on me and I really get to know them and know how they think and what’s wrong with them and keep in touch. Whether or not this actually leads to billable work and legal work is almost irrelevant – it seems to take care of itself. “
Another aspect that Smith believes makes the company unique is the team’s commitment to technology, with an almost entirely digital file base, using digital systems, online client portals to comment on designs and videos, and when needed Remote conferencing.
In the near future, the practice hopes to expand the team to include a high-ranking planning lawyer and a trust guide holder. Geographically, the firm is also looking for additional lawyers licensed in other jurisdictions to build a presence in states like California where existing clients may spend time and new clients may be interested in services.