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Estate Planning Society’s Attorney Panel

November 02, 2009

The Estate Planning Society hosted a panel discussion Oct. 15 offering students firsthand accounts from lawyers working in estate planning.

Panelists (from left to right) Jeff Tachiki, Amir Atashi Rang, and Sterling Ross Jr.

The panel featured guest speakers Jeff Tachiki of The Myers Law Firm, P.C., Amir Atashi Rang of the Atashi Rang Law Firm, and Sterling Ross Jr. of Robb & Ross.

The attorneys discussed the path that led them to work in estate planning law and explained the difficulties of entering into the field. Each attorney stressed the importance of networking with estate planning practitioners during and after law school in order to land a job.

Tachiki said that he first practiced litigation before realizing that he preferred the "tax aspect" involved in estate planning. Atashi Rang, who mostly handles wills, trusts, and tax work, began his career as an attorney in criminal defense. Ross began his career as a legal advocate for the mentally disabled. His interest in special needs law led him to the estate planning field. He specializes in the estate plans of parents with special needs children.

Ross warned students of the ethical dilemmas faced by lawyers who may feel compelled to do something that they do not feel is right. He said that all lawyers should "hold truth as a guiding format" and that working closely with clients and their families was the most rewarding aspect of his job. Tachiki echoed this sentiment and said he enjoyed working in direct contact with "real people with real problems."

One student asked the panelists how she should handle her inexperience in the field when applying for jobs. Atashi Rang encouraged her and other students to project energy, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn, and stressed the importance of understanding tax law.

Visiting Professor John J. Osborn Jr., the faculty advisor of the Estate Planning Society, said that attorney panels such as these are run entirely by the student members.

"Many students (at the law school) had little idea that there even was a growing field of estate planning," Osborn said. "So a dedicated group of students decided to start an organization that would do a variety of things: tell students about the field, bring estate planning alumni in contact with the school and students, and connect the students with the broader world of estate planning. It's amazing what these students have done. I came along for the ride as the faculty advisor, but they did it all."