MendenFreiman LLP - Attorney at Law Magazine - Law Firm of the Month


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MendenFreiman LLP - Attorney at Law Magazine - Law Firm of the Month

  1. 1. Law Firm of the MonthLife Can Be Complicated...And simplifying the “complicated” is where we stand out!MendenFreiman LLPBy Beverly MolanderGeorge D. Menden Haigwood Studios Photography Lawrence (Larry) H. FreimanC ofounding partner, George Menden, describes wanted to work with larger businesses he would have to learn to MendenFreiman this way, “MendenFreiman LLP is a read financial statements; and where better to learn that skill than boutique law firm with practice specialties in business as an accounting major at Brigham Young University. He beganformation, representation and transactions, estate planning his career as a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young,and estate administration. Our clients are affluent individuals, focusing on the accounting and tax complexities of mergersfamilies and business owners. They hire us because we are and acquisitions, until he received his Juris Doctor, cum laude,uniquely able to navigate highly complex issues that can have a from Brigham Young in 1985. He then joined Alston & Bird aslong-term impact on their businesses and their families.” an attorney specializing in corporate transactions and finance. Menden feels he had been preparing to run his own law firm Returning to E&Y to head up their new personal financialsince before he graduated from high school. While growing up planning initiative out of three offices, he also taught estate andwith a father who owned several businesses, he realized if he gift tax to E&Y employees. He returned to law when he joined a Vol. 2 Issue 1 Attorney at Law Magazine® Metro Atlanta | 15
  2. 2. Boutique Law Firm of the Monthmidsize Atlanta law firm in 1989. planning lawyer due to the complexities “Since all our lawyers have strong tax, After Menden started his own firm of the client’s circumstances. Margaret accounting and financial backgrounds,years later, the practice got too busy to was overcome with the enormity of her there is an opportunity to analyze eachhandle on his own. He took the bold move situation and the loss of her husband. But client situation from a number of pointsof hiring an industrial psychologist to help “Long Island” Larry and “south Georgia” of view,” Freiman says. “We think ofhim find the right partner, and Lawrence Margaret got along spectacularly. “We ourselves as tax geeks who not only relish(Larry) Freiman was at the top of the list. work a lot with clients in sensitive places the opportunity to apply what we knowFreiman graduated first in his class with a who are dealing with real-life issues,” to solving complex client problems but toJ.D./M.B.A. from the University of Florida says Freiman. “We are able to guide nice do that in a caring and supportive way.”in 1993. He received his Bachelor of Arts people like Margaret through an intricate Case in point: MendenFreimanin economics, magna cum laude, from maze of laws, rules and administrative represented a client in a transactionUniversity at Albany-SUNY in 1989. procedures that can have a long-term with a public company that was formed Menden and Freiman had crossed paths effect on the well-being of their family to acquire accounting practices andyears before as Menden was finishing his and business.” When it was time for the consulting practices. When the firmtenure at the midsize law firm Freiman final office conference for the project, received transaction documents fromhad joined as a summer clerk. They had Margaret placed a brown bag down on the the large Philadelphia law firm thatbeen mentored by the same lawyer at conference table and said, “Larry, this is represented the public company,the firm and had similar philosophies for you.” The thank-you present was a jar Menden saw clearly that the financialas to the type of practice they wanted tobuild. Coupled with the entrepreneurial Freiman says, “We think of ourselvesspirit that both possessed and a as tax geeks who not only relish thesignificant overlap in their experiences,the combination was a perfect match. opportunity to apply what we know toMendenFreiman LLP celebrated its 15th solving complex client problems but to doanniversary last year. The difference in age that in a caring and supportive way.”(Menden is ten years older) and religiousbeliefs (Menden is Mormon and Freiman of Margaret’s muscadine preserves. There covenants and tax provisions did not fitis Jewish) helps to broaden the reach and was something else in the bag – a second his client’s situation. The Philadelphiastrengthen the bond that is based on jar of preserves for a paralegal at the firm firm argued that there had been 63 otherintelligence, knowledge, human value, who had worked closely with Margaret on cases handled in this particular mannerethics – and zeal. so many issues over those long months. and would not budge on the issues. A former Mormon Bishop, Menden To Menden and Freiman, this little act The public company stood by their lawholds compassion and respect in high carried a big message – clients feel cared firm. Menden remarks, “By appreciatingregard; and he has built the firm around for at every level of the firm. This became certain tax consequences and accountingthese core values. To Freiman, the firm’s the firm’s “muscadine preserve” story. principles uniquely applicable to ourattention to client care is exemplified in its client’s situation, we were able to secure“muscadine preserve” story – providing Distinctively Different millions more for our client.”sage estate- and tax- planning advice While the firm specializes in When another MendenFreiman clientwith a mix of TLC. A south Georgia business formation, representation wanted to purchase an oil distributorship,woman in her late 70s, whose husband and transactions, estate planning and the firm saw an opportunity to structureof 50 years had recently passed away, was estate administration, both partners the transaction differently. The client wasreferred to Freiman by another estate- agree – the more complex the better. also purchasing separate transportation16
  3. 3. Haigwood Studios PhotographyEstate Planning and Estate Administration Team.  From L to R (standing):  Megan L. Richards, Bridget W. Christian, Amanda H. Klier, Amanda P. McDaniel.  From L toR (sitting):  Paige P. Baker, Anne H. Goehringassets and a truckingbusiness, all with different “We stay in our own areas of passion and because there were many human pieces on thekinds of liabilities attached. expertise. We have relationships with chessboard. Menden was“We resolved disparate other specialty firms and we are quick to able to navigate the familyissues – created separateLLCs and restructured the refer work that can be best handled by dynamics to restructure the family business:purchase and transaction others. “In the end, our focus is always keeping creditors at bay,– and positioned the client on excellent and cost-effective work for selecting properties to sell,to save millions of dollarsin eventual estate taxes,” our clients,” says Menden. and, finally, emerging with a 21st-century companyMenden explains. structure that would mean a positive cash flow for the company But it’s not just about moving businesses around like pieces on a and the family for decades to come.chessboard to win – there are real people behind those companies. Menden is quick to point out that the firm has significantFor instance, a real-estate magnate had built a tremendous industry expertise with clients who are automotive dealers,company. However, with the recession, the company was franchisees, manufacturers, distributors and professionalhemorrhaging money; and the magnate was in advancing stages services practices. However, there is a limit to what they will takeof Alzheimer’s. The wife came to Menden for advice on the entire on. “We stay in our own areas of passion and expertise. We havesituation. The process involved a lot of empathy and counseling relationships with other specialty firms, and we are quick to refer Vol. 2 Issue 1 Attorney at Law Magazine® Metro Atlanta | 17
  4. 4. At A Glance MendenFreiman LLP Two Ravinia Drive, Suite 1200, Atlanta, GA 30346 Ph: (770) 379-1450 • Co-Founders – George D. Menden and Lawrence H. Freiman o Year - 1997 • Practice Areas – Business Formation, Representation and Transactions, Estate Planning and Estate Administration • Community/Civic Involvement o Ravinia Club Board of Governors (Lawrence H. Freiman) Haigwood Studios Photography o Georgia Eye Bank, Inc. (Paige P. Baker)Business Formation, Representation and Transactions Team.  From L to R o Atlanta Junior League (Megan L. Richards, Rebecca J. Barnes)(standing):  Bridget W. Christian, Megan L. Richards, Allison S. Cook.  From L to o Technology Association of Georgia (Allison S. Cook)R (sitting):  Rebecca J. Barnes, Paige P. Baker. o Zoo Atlanta (Rebecca J. Barnes)work that can be best handled by others. In the end, our focus is • Membershipsalways on excellent and cost-effective work for our clients,” says o American Bar Association (Lawrence H. Freiman, Bridget W.Menden. Christian) While the lawyers and staff are the backbone of the o Georgia Bar Association (George D. Menden, Lawrence H. Frei-organization, internal operations and technology provide the man, Megan L. Richards, Janet E. Fortune, Bridget W. Christian, Paige P. Baker, Amanda H. Klier, Allison S. Cook)efficiency that is so important to getting the job done in a cost- o Atlanta Bar Association (Lawrence H. Freiman, Bridget W.effective manner. Freiman continues, “We have a state-of-the-art, Christian, Megan L. Richards, Amanda H. Klier, Allison S. Cook)client-tailored document-production system that saves time and o Estate Planning Council of North Georgia (Lawrence The efficiency and cost effectiveness of this system have Freiman, Bridget W. Christian, Megan L. Richards)earned excellent client reviews and are among the hallmarks of o Atlanta Estate Planning Council (Lawrence H. Freiman,our practice.” Paige P. Baker) o Decatur/DeKalb Estate Planning Council (Janet E. Fortune)Up to the Challenge - Avoiding the 2013 Fiscal Cliff o Society of Financial Services Professionals (Lawrence H. For a law firm dedicated to estate planning for highly Freiman)successful individuals, the end of 2012 was a particularly exciting o American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (George D.time; and the entire staff worked feverishly to make sure clients Menden) o Lawyer’s Club of Atlanta (George D. Menden, Lawrence H.took advantage of year-end planning opportunities. Before Freiman)January 1, 2013, there was an expiring opportunity to transfer o Georgia Association of Women Lawyers (Allison S. Cook)wealth to successive generations. Although Congress pulledthe country back from the brink of the fiscal cliff at the literal • Awardseleventh hour, it is likely that in the foreseeable future favorable o Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory ‘AV Preeminent’ (George D.interest rates, at lows not seen in our lifetimes, will almost Menden, Lawrence H. Freiman, Janet E. Fortune)surely increase; charitable deductions may be severely limited; o Five Star Wealth Manager (George D. Menden) o Georgia Trend Legal Elite (George D. Menden, Lawrence H.valuation discounts for family-controlled businesses and other Freiman, Janet E. Fortune, Paige P. Baker)effective wealth-transfer and tax-minimization strategies may be o Georgia Super Lawyers (George D. Menden, Lawrence H. Frei-legislated or regulated away. Menden confirms, “Our firm put in man, Janet E. Fortune)long hours to protect our clients and create a happy, wealthy New o Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Stars (Paige P. Baker, Megan L.Year for all of them.” Richards)18