The law firm of Shaffer, McLauchlin & Stover, LLC, presents a strong case for pooling resources. Gina Shaffer and Tracey McLauchlin began working together in the fall of 2009 in elder care and estate planning. Bradley Stover and Eric McLauchlin joined the practice in 2011, bringing expertise in real estate, business planning, business development and related legal services. Together these attorneys provide unique collaboration.
“The ability to rely on each other for all the component parts of what we do helps us to provide a greater range of services to our clients,” Eric McLauchlin says. “For example, Gina does not frequently litigate and I am less versed in elder law. Oftentimes, a client’s needs spill over from one of those categories to the other. Brad administers few estates and rarely drafts wills, but regularly handles real estate matters and development approvals. It’s very beneficial to us and to clients to collaborate with combined expertise.”
Often, personal and business planning overlap because an individual’s business is part of retirement planning. In this case, it’s difficult to talk about succession planning on the business side without including estate planning on the personal side. It’s also difficult to plan for the business without providing additional business supports like trademark and trade name protection, cross-purchase agreements between shareholders, employment law advice and intellectual property protections.
Building a solid bond with each client is the foundation from which these attorneys design and implement their legal strategies.
“We take our clients beyond the transaction and into a long-term relationship where we can serve them more fully,” Eric McLauchlin says. “Our philosophy is to represent businesses, families and the people behind them, looking at all sides of the planning and strategy their situation requires.”
The firm also values its relationships within the community.
“We have established credible relationships with the agencies and organizations our clients need,” notes Brad Stover. “This helps facilitate things like development approvals, permitting, licensing and contract awards.”
Because of frequently changing laws and differences in laws from state to state, SMS emphasizes the importance of consulting an attorney for personal and business planning advice. Many people are reluctant to take any kind of planning action because they believe it is time consuming, voluminous and expensive. According to SMS, it does not have to be any of those.
“We are not big fans of coming up with more tools than there are problems to solve or challenges to address,” Eric McLauchlin says. “Our job is to help the client be proactive and avoid the conflict that may result later if no plan or strategy is in place,” he says.
For these attorneys, being part of the community also means remaining dedicated to charity and pro bono efforts.
“Again, our services are relationship based,” Gina Shaffer adds. “We share a commitment to community and to working together to find solutions for our clients, and doing so responsibly and ethically in every service area — real estate, business and personal planning.”