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A Look Inside: The Evolution of Loeb & Loeb’s Trust & Estate Litigation Practice

Gabrielle Vidal, chair of Loeb & Loeb’s Guardianships practice and co-chair of the Trust & Estate Litigation practice, shares the history of the Trust & Estate Litigation practice. From its early beginnings in the space to what sets the group apart in the industry today, Gabrielle discusses the need for this niche practice area, the importance of offering a dynamic approach to matters and the group’s collaborative edge within broader trust and estate matters.

Walk us through the history of the Trust & Estate Litigation practice at Loeb. How did it get started? 

The Trust & Estate Litigation practice truly began with former partner Andy Garb. He joined the firm in 1968 and retired a few years ago, leaving an indelible mark as a mentor in this specialized area. Recognizing the need for a dedicated team in this field, Andy carved out a niche within the firm focused on providing targeted counsel to trust and estate clients dealing with related litigation. This distinction differed from many firms at the time that had general litigators handling trust and estate litigation matters from time to time as opposed to dedicated professionals focused on this area. 

The practice was formed in 2000 and included Andy, me, a then first-year associate, and others at the firm. Our group has always been led with the understanding that clients are best served by lawyers who are well versed in probate court and the probate code, laying the foundation for what would become a vital aspect of the Trust & Estate Litigation practice.

What distinguishes Loeb’s approach to matters in the space? 

For decades, the Trust & Estate Litigation practice has been guided by a rich history of specialization and collaboration and a client-centered approach. Loeb offers a unique environment, unlike that of most firms, where we can seamlessly collaborate across practice groups. With a robust estate planning practice, we seamlessly integrate deep tax knowledge with strong litigation experience. This collaboration ensures quicker resolutions and the ability to identify potential litigious issues before they arise.

Our diverse team brings a breadth of perspectives, allowing our lawyers to approach cases thoughtfully and comprehensively. We also place immense emphasis on respecting client privacy, opting for private case resolution over handling matters in the public eye.

Considering the sensitive nature of trust and estate litigation matters, how does the group tailor the client experience? 

In addition to offering legal advice and representation, our group acknowledges the emotional impact such matters can have. By meeting clients at their emotional level, fostering trust and providing psychological support, we ensure clients feel supported throughout the process. This emphasis on the human aspect, recognizing that cases involve not only facts and law but also intense emotions and complex family dynamics, further distinguishes Loeb in the space.

Given that trust and estate litigation matters involve individuals, what measures does the group take to safeguard client privacy and confidentiality?

Our group prioritizes client privacy and preferences from the outset. We empower our clients to determine the level of personal information they wish to share in filings and involve them in decision-making processes to ensure their privacy is respected at every stage. While each lawyer in our group has a unique approach, we collectively value the importance of building personal rapport within the attorney-client relationship, recognizing that trust is the cornerstone of effective counsel. By working as a cohesive team with clients, we naturally cultivate strong partnerships that often extend beyond the resolution of individual cases.