David J. Wolf
I have been a licensed attorney since 1994, practicing in the areas of business law, estate planning and real estate. I am a 1986 graduate of Northwestern University, and obtained my law degree in 1994 from the DePaul University College of Law. I have served on the boards of local not-for-profit corporations, am the treasurer of the Woodstock Morning Rotary Club (2005-2007), and was the co-chair of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Corporate Law Committee (2002). I live in Hebron with my wife Joanne, our two horses, two dogs, two cats and four birds.
I believe that it is critical to communicate clearly with my clients. That means that I strive to return phone calls the same day, and communicate with clients using whatever method they prefer. I communicate with some of my clients almost exclusively via email. Others prefer phone calls and letters. All of my clients have my cell phone number. Whatever the method of communication, I find that my clients appreciate the fact that I keep them informed of the the status of their matters.
I am the corporate lawyer for companies that cannot afford a full time in-house counsel, and represent business clients in connection with nearly all of their legal needs. When someone wants to form a company, I work closely with their accountant so that we choose the type of entity (corporation, S corporation, limited liability company, partnership, etc.) which will best meet the client's goals regarding liability protection and tax planning. I also work with the client to prepare what is known as a shareholders' or buy-sell agreement. This agreement provides for the sale and purchase of the shares owned by a shareholder who dies or wishes to sell his or her shares.
After the company is formed, I advise my business clients regarding all of their day-to-day legal issues. This includes drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts such as leases, supplier and vendor agreements and the like. This can be as simple as a quick review of the document and a discussion with the client regarding key terms, or it can be a detailed, written analysis of the contract. I also advise business clients regarding employment matters, from hiring and firing employees to preparing and negotiating employment agreements and independent contractor agreements.
I represent corporate clients when they are buying or selling businesses. This includes drafting and negotiating all of the transaction documents such as purchase agreements, consulting agreements, and covenants not to compete. I work closely with the client's accountant to ensure that the appropriate tax planning is in place and the transaction is structured to minimize taxes.
I prepare wills, trust and other estate planning documents for clients with assets from $100,000 to $10,000,000. No matter what the size of the estate, I follow the same process with each estate planning client.
I always have an initial consultation with the client, during which we discuss three things. First, I ask about the client's family. This includes finding out if there are family members with special needs or talents which we may need to provide for in the estate planning documents. Second, I discuss the client's estate, since a client with a $100,000 estate will require an estate plan which is different from a client with a $10,000,000 estate. Finally, we talk about the most important thing of all: the client's goals. Sometimes this is as simple as "all to my spouse." Other times it is more complex, with a variety of bequests and trusts. Oftentimes the client will want to create trusts for their children. We also talk about who will take care of the client's children if anything were to happen to the client while the children are still young.
At the end of this process I then make recommendations regarding the types of estate planning documents that I think are required (wills, trusts, etc.). In many cases I am able to quote the client a flat fee for the preparation of those documents. One of the biggest concerns that many clients have when working with an attorney is fees. By doing estate planning work on a flat fee basis, most of my clients know what the project will cost at the outset. However, larger or more complex estates may be done on an hourly rate basis.