By Sameer Rao
June 30, 2021
Greenwich-based trusts and estates attorney Jason J. Smith recently announced the opening of Smith Legacy Law LLC, a small law firm that focuses on high-net-worth individual and family clients.
A June 22 statement described Smith Legacy Law as “a national firm catering to the sophisticated legal needs of private-wealth clients at all stages of life,” including estate planning and trust oversight. It also noted that the firm launched amidst the U.S. Congress’ consideration of the American Families Plan and potential “massive increases to taxes on inherited wealth” to subsidize it.
Smith said Wednesday that several factors, including the possible drastic tax policy changes, have fueled client demand in estate planning, trust administration, major gifts and related litigation.
“Whether or not a specific tax proposal is actually implemented or enacted is, obviously, very much a moving target right now,” he told Law360 Pulse. “But we’re all preparing, with our clients, for a higher tax environment, right? So we’re anticipating overall higher income taxes, possibly, higher capital gains tax rate.”
This, in turn, has fueled the growth of his practice. This is reflected in the brand change from The Law Offices of Jason J. Smith, his previous firm name, to Smith Legacy Law.
"The level of sophistication and size of our practice has grown dramatically,” he explained. “It almost felt misleading, really, to have this old law firm brand that sounds like I’m a straight-up solo [practitioner].”
In addition to Smith, the namesake firm’s founder and chief legal strategist, Smith Legacy Law consists of three associates, a paralegal and a chief marketing officer. All of these employees collaborate to serve clients that Smith said range from “the lower end of what we would call ‘high-net-worth,’ all the way up to ultra-high-net-worth.” The clients include wealthy individuals and families that primarily reside in New York and Connecticut. Smith said the firm offers these clients such in-house services as trust and planning litigation, which is rare among planning law firms.
Smith comes to this new enterprise with tremendous experience in estate and trust matters. He was a technology entrepreneur and PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant before earning his law degree at Yale Law School. He then went on to clerk for Judge Robert N. Chatigny of the federal District of Connecticut before stints with Wiggin and Dana LLP, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Meltzer Lippe Goldstein & Breitstone LLP. He also worked with Oak Tree Law Group for over three years on matters, like his prior private practice jobs, relating to trust and estate planning.
Smith said the firm is currently looking for another associate to add to its office. Beyond that, he intends to grow the office’s fiduciary accounting capabilities, among other holistic services.