Category: GSRP Team Members

GSRJ Associate Lauren Fitte Named Texas Rising Star

For the first time ever, GSRJ associate Lauren Fitte has been selected for inclusion in the 2018 Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars list! Lauren has been with GSRJ since early 2017. She specializes in designing tax-efficient structures for U.S. and non-U.S. families and advises with regard to both inbound and outbound investment planning, inheritance planning, asset protection, tax compliance matters, international trust and estate planning, and pre-immigration planning. Ms. Fitte is a certified mediator who has published several articles on international estate planning and taxation. She is also a contributing editor to the four-volume treatise Asset Protection: Domestic and International Law and Tactics, published by Thomson/West group and updated quarterly.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. No more than 2.5% of up-and-coming lawyers in Texas are named to Rising Stars, as determined by Thomson Reuters.

Welcome J. Ross Buchholtz, CPA, to GSRJ!

We are excited to announce the addition of J. Ross Buchholtz, CPA, to our practice. Ross joins GSRJ after 25+ years of tax and accounting experience, including four years at the helm of his own private accounting firm. In his role as Director, Ross leads the firm’s U.S. tax and related compliance work with clients and attorneys on income and transfer tax matters. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Texas Society of CPAs.

GSRJ Says a Sad Goodbye to Jeanne Schulte

As we leave 2017 behind, it is with heavy hearts we have said goodbye to Administrator, Jeanne Schulte. Jeanne retired on December 31, 2017. Serving as the primary administrative manager, Jeanne kept the firm running like a well-oiled machine for 15+ years. We will truly miss her, and we wish her the best in all her future travels and adventures! Our very own Amy D. Quinones will be taking over Jeanne’s duties as Administrator, in addition to her current duties as Coordinator in the insurance group.

Peggy Ugent Presents at AICPA Conference

On June 13, Tax and Accounting Director Peggy Ugent was a featured speaker at the American Institute for Certified Public Accounts’ 2017 Advanced Estate Planning Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Her presentation, entitled “Looking Beyond our Borders – U.S. Income, Estate and Gift Tax Implications,” examined the complexities surrounding U.S. taxation and the reporting requirements of individuals and businesses with cross-border activities. You can click here to download her presentation.

Ms. Ugent, who is the Vice-Chair of the AICPA’s Trust, Estate and Gift Technical Resource Panel, also joined other members of the panel on the morning of June 15 for the AICPA Trust, Estate & Gift Tax Policy & Advocacy Update.

Hailey Bobella Promoted to Paralegal

In the wake of Sandra Bonham’s retirement earlier this year, Hailey Bobella has taken over as the paralegal for the estate planning department. She works primarily with Derry Swanger and Steven Baker to help clients create and maintain domestic estate planning structures and administer decedents’ estates. Ms. Bobella will also continue to act in her capacity as business development specialist, focusing on the firm’s business development, marketing, and branding efforts, and offering administrative support to Edgewater Consulting Group, Ltd.

Bob Chesner Featured at Tony Robbins Platinum Partnership

On Monday, February 20, Bob Chesner will have the distinct pleasure of once again presenting at Tony Robbins’ Platinum Partnership event. This year, the event will be held in Whistler, British Columbia at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Bob will be presenting on the power of private placement life insurance and creating unlimited tax-free retirement income. We’re thrilled that Bob will once again have the incredible opportunity to share his passion among such distinuished company.

A Lawyer for Good Government: Chatting with Cindy Grossman

Cindy, right, with another attorney at Newark Airport, listening to oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the two weeks since President Donald Trump issued his executive order restricting travel to the United States, our country has been confronted with many challenging questions. Countless legal minds have wondered, “Is this politics as usual or something altogether different?” There are no easy answers. In the legal and constitutional chaos that have resulted, however, firm partner Cindy Grossman has found an edifying opportunity to affirm her identity and pride as a lawyer. We asked her a few questions about her pro bono assistance at Newark Liberty International Airport, and what it all means to her.

GSRJ: How did you first get involved?

CLG: My experience with what is now (mostly humorously) known as the Law Firm of the Resistance started the Sunday morning after the order was signed. Despite my lack of direct experience in immigration law, I can research and write, and with some guidance, I can understand enough of a new area of law to be helpful to the experts. So, after perusing the Facebook page of “Lawyers for Good Government” and seeing the massive network of like-minded individuals who sprang up overnight to defend our Constitution, I decided I would sign up to volunteer. I’m so glad I did.

GSRJ: What has the experience been like?

CLG: Well, things have been a little quieter at Newark than at some of the larger airports throughout the country. We haven’t necessarily been dramatically running to the courthouse to file habeas corpus petitions. Instead, we mostly stay abreast of any developments with the various legal challenges across the country and others’ practical experiences with Customs and Border Protection, and then monitor incoming flights for affected travelers to help prepare them for what they may experience when passing through immigration, and to offer any advice that we can. Many of those travelers are simply comforted to know that we are tracking their arrival, and that we’re right on the other side of immigration should they need us.

A broader part of the work has been through email and Twitter. Lawyers of all stripes, throughout the country, have been using the internet to stay in touch, to offer expertise in drafting documents, to deal with law enforcement groups, and to provide each other with words of encouragement. Essentially, thousands of lawyers throughout the nation coalesced seemingly out of nowhere to do what they do best: turn a chaotic situation into an orderly one.

GSRJ: How has it impacted you personally?

CLG: I have never been so proud to be a lawyer. To see so many selflessly offer all that they know, as well as their time, in the name of advocacy for those who do not have a voice has been a humbling and inspiring experience. It’s been an educational one, too; after watching a group of at-the-ready-lawyers join forces band together to uphold their view of the Constitution, our laws, and our government, I recalled the point Shakespeare was making when he had Dick the Butcher proclaim “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” in Henry IV! We can truly be a force to be reckoned with.

On a more personal note, too, the incredible diversity of those battling on the front lines alongside me made an impression. Sitting at our makeshift clinic table by Green Beans Coffee in Terminal B, I was struck by the cross-section of America that I shared the table with. Of our two Arabic interpreters, one was a first generation American whose parents came to this country from Qatar. The other was a young white man from an elite northeastern college. Our attorneys included a married couple, Punjabi by ancestry, who had grown up in Iraq and still have parents living there, a Latina immigration lawyer who worked in Biglaw, and a woman who had dusted off her law degree to come out of retirement and help. We also had a female Egyptian lawyer who works with refugees, a young female lawyer who works in the Newark public defender’s office, and me – a Jewish tax lawyer recently transplanted from Austin, Texas.

It is necessary to have all those voices at the table to formulate our responses. As cliché as it might sound, our diversity truly is our strength. I will absolutely cherish this experience; it has been exciting and consistently impressive to witness so many attorneys roused from their corporate slumber to answer the primal call of our profession and defend our system of laws. I hope that many of us will continue this hard, important work as we return to our normal practices, and take to heart the lesson of our role in American society. I know that I will.