Disputes involving trusts and estates present special challenges, including high financial stakes; difficult family dynamics; unique and complicated procedural, legal, and tax issues; and the most exacting duties imposed by law. Schiff Hardin advises fiduciaries and beneficiaries confronted with these issues, with three guiding principles in mind:
- Solving a problem beats winning a lawsuit. We love to win cases, but above all we are problem-solvers. Modern trust and estate law offers a menu of options for resolving controversies without court intervention. We explore potential solutions, and seek ways to avoid the delays, risks, and emotional and financial costs associated with litigation. We are often asked to assist clients well before differences of opinion evolve into active adversity, and we are often successful in averting litigation through prudent action while the parties are still on speaking terms.
- Litigation should be handled by litigators. A lawyer’s skills should match the task at hand. Our colleagues in the estate planning, corporate, and tax fields team with us to work through substantive issues. But when it comes to advocating our clients’ positions in court, we rely on courtroom lawyers — lawyers who have grown up first and foremost as litigators with experience in, and a professional focus on, making the strongest case to a judge or jury in a court of law.
- There is no substitute for experience. Our clients don’t just need great litigators — they need great litigators who know trust and fiduciary law inside and out. We have successfully resolved hundreds of trust and estate disputes from coast to coast. We understand the issues and know how to present them, and our clients benefit from our experience.
Premier Clients, High Stakes
We litigate trust and estate disputes at the highest level. Corporate fiduciaries call on us to handle their most sensitive matters, including “rescue” situations in which we are asked to assist or replace prior counsel. Wealthy individuals engage us to represent them in some of the country’s largest and most complex trust and estate disputes, ranging into the billions of dollars.
Teaching and Thought Leadership
In addition to shaping the law in the courtroom, we write and speak about it, sharing our knowledge with industry professionals and fellow lawyers. Clients regularly seek our counsel for ways to manage fiduciary risk.
Backed by the resources of Schiff Hardin’s Litigation Practice, our group has trust and estate litigation capability in offices from coast to coast, and we have represented clients in courtrooms across the country, including the key jurisdictions of Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, and New York.