Strategic Planning, Consulting, and Other Special Projects
My planning and consulting work is dedicated to helping clients navigate complexity, or as I often say, “Helping to move from complexity to clarity.”
Life today is complex. The complexity can involve money, business, family, and legal or other factors – often in combination. When confronted with such complexity, many clients value assistance in arriving at a workable plan. Others appreciate simply having an objective sounding board as they think through an issue or to help assure they have not missed any essential element in their own analysis.
This approach to advising and planning allows me to combine all I have learned about law, money, cash flow, finance, investing, insurance, financial planning, retirement planning, business, business succession planning, estate planning, asset protection, charitable giving, and families.
My experience is that this “big picture” approach is often most valuable when someone is at – or thinking about – a major life transition. These major life transitions include marriage, birth of a child, job transition, retirement, sale or transition of a business, death of a spouse, divorce, receiving an inheritance, etc. These are the times when one naturally says things like:
- “Should I keep doing what I have been doing or do I need to do something different?”
- “I know I need to do something different now, but I don’t know what!”
- “I have an investment advisor, an insurance agent, an estate planning lawyer, a business lawyer, and a tax advisor . . . and I still don’t know how my retirement is going to work!”
Because this work is intensely personal, the “fit” is crucial. Without the chemistry for a successful professional relationship, the work cannot be successful. Therefore, there is never a charge for an initial meeting, which may run up to 1.5 hours.
At the conclusion of the initial meeting, I will quote a project fee or range. Where that is not possible due to the nature of the work, I will consider proceeding on an hourly basis. Work on an hourly basis is based on a sliding scale rate of $150 – $250, plus expenses.
However the engagement proceeds, the only compensation I receive is from fees paid by clients. All consulting is pure advice-based consulting which adheres to a strict fiduciary standard: what is in the client’s best interest.
Especially in the later years of my professional life, interesting challenges and opportunities come my way. Some examples:
- Serving as a consulting expert on behalf of a CFP® practitioner in litigation in the D.C. Circuit Court against the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards.
- Performing legal (or paralegal) work for other lawyers and law firms. In one recent case, I assisted Plaintiff’s counsel in reviewing a portion of approximately 275,000 documents (about 600,000 pages) produced during discovery. These documents were uploaded to a database “in the cloud” [using the Ricoh Relativity Database System].
- Serving as the attorney (volunteer) member of a Maine Medical Malpractice Screening Panel, reviewing voluminous depositions and hearing two days of testimony.>
- Writing and public speaking engagements on financial planning, retirement planning, estate planning, or mediation/ADR topics.
- Serving as a member of the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar Transitioning Lawyers Council, which is studying ways to assist newer lawyers in engaging in private law practice in under-served areas of Maine, and to assist older lawyers in transitioning or closing their practices.
- Serving on a variety of boards and committees — some volunteer, some paid.
- Finally, although I am technically an “active” member of the Maine Bar, I am not actively practicing law. Nonetheless, being legally-trained enables me to understand and appreciate the legal context in which many issues arise.
If you have an interesting project with which I might be able to help, I’d welcome the chance to talk with you.