Update 7/19/14: The office relocated today from Amherst, MA to Cambridge, MA. The new address is in the right sidebar; the header image will be updated soon. Meanwhile, if you are an existing Western Mass. client, I will continue fighting for you as I always have, but I will not be taking new criminal defense cases in Western Massachusetts. I will still accept estate planning and probate matters statewide.
I practice law to help real people facing real problems. I will help you understand your situation in language you can understand, let you make the choices, then fight to help you achieve your goals.
Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience, and you’ll need an experienced advocate to guide you through the process and fight for the best possible outcome. I have represented hundreds of clients in all types of criminal cases, from shoplifting and trespass to attempted murder, kidnapping, bank robbery, and high-level drug trafficking.
Different people have different goals in a criminal case. Some people need to win the case at any cost, because a conviction would be devastating. Others care more about minimizing the time that they spend in court, and getting it over with as soon as possible. Still others are most worried about avoiding jail time, and can tolerate the possibility of a conviction or long delays so long as they stay out. Whatever is most important to you, I will explain your options in plain English (not legalese), and work with you to figure out what approach is right for you. After every hearing, I will take the time to talk with you about what happened in the courtroom and how that affects our strategy. Before every hearing, I will check in with you to make sure that you know what to expect at the upcoming court date.
Even when a case seems hopeless, I will investigate it from every angle to find a defense. A seemingly-simple fraud case can fall apart if the bank records are out of order. Many drug cases are won because the police do not follow all of the technical requirements for stopping and searching a suspect. Regardless of the case, I will look for any defect that I can use to your advantage.
Call or email me to discuss your case. I will read through the police report, discuss the case with you, and go over all of your options during a free, 30 minute consultation.
Estate Planning and Probate
Everybody comes to an estate planner with different priorities and different needs. In this area, my job is to sit down with you and make sure that I understand what you need. For some people, it is a simple matter of making sure that their will is up to date and treats their children fairly and equally. Others want to make sure that nobody can fight over their estate. At the next level, you may be thinking of avoiding probate, or protecting a disabled family member. Families with assets of $1 million and up need to think about how their estate will be taxed, and what they can do to make sure that they do not overpay. If you are in the habit of making charitable contributions, you can use charitable estate planning to generate tax benefits now or at the time of your death.
Regardless of your goals, I will tailor a plan that fits you and your family. Rather than selling cookie-cutter documents that you can’t understand, I will make sure that every part of your estate plan is custom-fit to you. You have the opportunity to review all of your documents and ask me questions before signing anything, and the plan isn’t done until you say it is. After planning is complete, I will check in with you periodically to make sure that your plan still fits, and keep you up to date regarding any changes in the law that might impact your estate.
When a death occurs, “probate” is the process of transferring assets from the deceased to his or her heirs, or the people or charities named in the will. Probate can range in complexity from a “voluntary administration” of estates under $25,000, to complex litigation involving will contests and decades-long family feuds. Regardless of the complexity of your probate matter, I offer services ranging from consulting and coaching, to full-service representation. In a consulting and coaching model, I give you the forms and tell you how to fill them out, but you ultimately represent yourself. This saves you money in legal fees, in exchange for your having to do more of the work yourself. In full-service representation, you hire me to take the work out of your hands and make sure it gets done right. In probate litigation, I will use the investigation and litigation skills that I learned in the trenches of the public defender’s office to fight aggressively for you.
Whether you are calling me for estate planning, probate (estate administration), or criminal defense, the model is the same: I want to understand your needs, and pursue the case in a way that works for you. Picking up the phone is always free–I never charge for an initial consultation.