Job Description: Estate Planning Associate
Summary: The Estate Planning associate’s primary responsibility is to meet with clients to discern their wishes, draft appropriate documents including Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Directives, advise on estate, gift, GST, and income tax matters, and explain CDP’s approach to engagements and fees. The associate also supports other attorneys with the above tasks as required.
Reporting Relationship: Reports to the Office Manager for Administrative functions and to the Estate Planning Chair for legal/drafting functions.
Full Time: 37.5 hours / week
Duties and Responsibilities: Performs a wide variety of functions to support the firm’s Estate Planning practice.
- Client Contact – Communicates with clients in person and via mail, email and telephone to commence an engagement, to keep the matter moving forward on a timely basis, and to make certain that the efforts of the firm’s support staff are in tune with the client’s needs.
- Third Party Contact – Communicates with financial advisors, insurance agents and companies, accountants, other members of the client’s “team” when authorized to do so by the client as may be necessary to complete the engagement.
- Problem Solving – Proactively anticipates and resolves issues quickly.
- Delegation -- Delegate tasks to support staff when appropriate, yet maintain sufficient direct client contact to ensure the client is satisfied with the progress on the matter and the amount of the attorney’s involvement
- Draft Documents – Prepare drafting instructions for the support staff or prepare the initial draft of documents (if the matter is complex). Documents should be mailed to the client within ___ days of the start date of the engagement.
- Accounts Receivable and Fees – A law firm is a “for profit” activity. The associate is to monitor their work in progress to minimize any account receivable or write-off of fees and is not to commence an engagement until satisfactory arrangements have been made for payment of the full fee. This usually means payment in full “up-front” and a signed Fee Agreement is in place before work begins.
- Revenue Growth and Billable Time – Develop a client following to increase the firm’s revenues and keep track of and post all billable and non-billable work.
- Continuing Education – Attend CLE as necessary to maintain competence and any credentialing.
- Process Improvement – Makes recommendations to improve processes that will increase service quality and efficiency and responsiveness to clients.
- Marketing – Participates in firms marketing activities, including public speaking engagements, writing articles and blogs, leading CLE seminars, and other activities
- Firm Policies and Procedures – Adhere to firm policies and procedures
- Other Duties – Performs other duties as assigned.
Qualifications & Skills:
- J.D. Degree. Additional licensure or education, such as LLM, MBA, or CPA is helpful.
- Two or more years of relevant work experience.
- Excellent communications skills – both oral and written.
- Attention to detail, solid organizational skills, and ability to prioritize tasks.
- Demonstrated experience with relevant firm software programs such as Microsoft Office Applications (Word, Outlook and Excel) and the firm’s case management system.
- Ability to anticipate the client’s needs and the firm’s needs to avoid surprises and unpreparedness for anyone.