CHICAGO, May 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Jenner & Block is pleased to announce the creation of the Private Wealth Practice, a new practice that will offer a broad range of tax, estate, business planning and charitable advisory services to high-net-worth individuals and families as well as the family offices, businesses, charitable organizations and trusts that they established or control. Two highly regarded wealth management lawyers, Barbara R. Grayson and H. Debra Levin, have joined the firm as partners in its Chicago office and will co-chair the practice. They are joined in the practice by Anne E. Brynn, who serves as department counsel.
Mses. Grayson and Levin will lead an interdisciplinary practice that will service the full and complex needs of wealthy families, including estate planning and administration, tax, succession planning, philanthropic advisory services, family law services, real estate, corporate transactions, executive compensation, employment law, and estate, trust, charitable and business litigation and investigations.
Ms. Grayson has more than 15 years of experience representing individuals, families, family offices, family owned businesses and charitable organizations. Ms. Levin has more than 40 years of experience advising family business owners, wealthy individuals and their survivors, and generations of families regarding estate planning and post-death issues. They will take the lead in serving the complex needs of high-net-worth individuals and families related to wealth transfer and estate planning.
"Barbara and Debbie are lawyers of the highest caliber who will lead our interdisciplinary Private Wealth Practice where we will focus, not only on the estate planning needs of our clients, but also on the related issues associated with substantial private wealth," said Partner Craig C. Martin, Chair of the firm's Litigation Department. "They come to us with the sophisticated experience needed to be a trusted adviser to clients in this area who want a holistic approach to their personal wealth and business issues. We'll now serve those clients with a broad range of tax, estate, business planning and charitable advisory services for these individuals and families."
Joseph P. Gromacki, Chair of Jenner & Block's firmwide corporate practice, noted, "As a firm, we have been looking for the right lawyers to lead a fully integrated approach to private wealth and family offices. Barbara and Debra are a natural fit with our existing capabilities as we extend our services within the private client sector."
"My family and I are delighted that Jenner & Block is launching a Private Wealth Practice. For decades, my family has worked with Craig and his partners at Jenner & Block, and we think this is a brilliant move by the firm. We've worked on estate planning and trust issues with Debra for more than 40 years, and her joining Jenner & Block will provide the firm with the capability of serving our needs more holistically," said businessman Lester Crown. "The addition of Barbara, whom we have just begun to work with, gives us confidence that our needs will be in good hands for decades to come."
Ms. Grayson was most recently a partner in the Chicago office of Mayer Brown. She has extensive experience in estate planning, including structuring solutions for transferring wealth to younger generations and succession planning for difficult family situations. She often counsels clients through major life events, such as developing a business succession plan, negotiating premarital agreements, administering the estate of a deceased family member and establishing gift trusts for children or grandchildren. Ms. Grayson also advises clients on philanthropic matters related to charitable giving and the formation and administration of charitable organizations.
"I look forward to this opportunity to develop the firm's new Private Wealth Practice," Ms. Grayson said. "We will offer clients a unique, tailored approach to managing their most significant assets and concerns."
Ms. Grayson earned her JD from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude. She earned her BA, with honors and distinction, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is active in a number of community activities including the Professional Advisory Committee of the Chicago Community Trust and the Spotlight Advisory Council of the Goodman Theatre.
Ms. Levin was most recently a partner at Seyfarth Shaw and previously served as chair of Seyfarth Shaw's National Trusts & Estates Practice. She assists clients with the complicated and often emotional distribution of estate assets among children, stepchildren and former and surviving spouses. She has represented numerous not-for-profit organizations and offers a wealth of experience in creating charitable vehicles to carry out the plans of individual donors. In addition, Ms. Levin draws upon her technical knowledge of intricate employee plan distribution rules to reduce estate and income taxes for closely held business owners.
"I am excited about the team we are building," Ms. Levin said. "My clients' needs have always been my highest priority, and I will continue to take a comprehensive approach to estate planning and be there for my clients at critical times in their lives."
Ms. Levin earned her JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and her BA, cum laude and with Honors, from Cornell University. She is a longtime member of the board of Jewish Child & Family Services and recently ended a term as board chairman. Members of the Leading Lawyers Network have named her among the top 100 women lawyers in Illinois and among the top 10 women practicing trusts, wills and estates.
Ms. Brynn was most recently senior counsel in the Wealth Management Group at BMO Harris Bank. In that role, she reviewed new trust business opportunities and current trust and estate matters to assess legal, regulatory and reputational risk issues and recommended and implemented appropriate risk mitigation strategies. Previously, Ms. Brynn was a senior associate at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, where she developed an expertise in estate planning for high-net-worth clients and often worked on multi-generational family estate plans.
Ms. Brynn received her JD, cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she was notes editor for the Journal of Law, Technology & Policy. She received her BA, cum laude, from the University of Vermont, where she was a John Dewey Award winner.
ABOUT JENNER & BLOCK'S PRIVATE WEALTH PRACTICE
We offer a broad range of tax, estate planning and administration, business planning and charitable advisory services to high net-worth individuals and families as well as the family offices, businesses, charitable organizations and trusts that they established or control. We provide counsel in wealth transfer and business succession planning, including estate planning, philanthropy and administration of estates and trusts. The practice draws upon the firm's additional strengths in corporate transactions, litigation and investigations, real estate, tax, executive compensation, employment law and family law.
ABOUT JENNER & BLOCK
Jenner & Block (www.jenner.com) is a law firm with global reach, with more than 500 lawyers and offices in Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. The firm is known for its prominent and successful litigation practice and experience handling sophisticated and high-profile corporate transactions. Firm clients include Fortune 100 companies, large privately held corporations, financial services institutions, emerging companies and venture capital and private equity investors. In 2015, The American Lawyer magazine named Jenner & Block as the number one Pro Bono Law Firm in the United States for the sixth time in eight years.
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