Trust matters for attorneys who work with high-net-worth individuals. After all, these clients are asking their lawyers to oversee significant wealth. Juli Dreifuss, a wealth transfer and succession planning expert with Much Shelist, has more than earned this trust.
Since joining Much Shelist in the summer of 2012, Dreifuss has steadily built a growing roster of repeat clients. There's a reason for this: Dreifuss has demonstrated impressive skills in working on the often-sensitive financial matters that her wealthy clients face.
Greg Mann, member of the management committee of Much Shelist, has worked closely with Dreifuss throughout her career. He says that it didn't take long for Dreifuss to impress her colleagues.
"Immediately upon joining our firm, Juli became an integral and highly valued member of our client team," Mann said. "Over the ensuing decade, Juli's abilities as an attorney and her skill in working with high-net-worth individuals, families and their fiduciaries on highly sensitive matters has continued to grow exponentially."
Dreifuss faced a challenge immediately after arriving at Much Shelist. At this time, certain large gift-tax exemptions included in Pres. Obama's 2010 Tax Relief Act were set to expire after a two-year window. Although Dreifuss had only been practicing law for a few years, she hit the ground, as Mann says, sprinting.
Dreifuss prepared countless documents during this time, Mann said. And she developed and presented to Much Shelist leaders several sophisticated techniques and solutions to help the firm's clients reach their goals during this period of uncertainty. The Much Shelist team adopted many of these strategies, increasing their ability to provide customized solutions to their clients.
Today? Dreifuss is skillfully handling another challenge for her clients. This time, it's the potential expiration of several gift-tax and estate-tax exemptions that were made available during the prior presidential administration.
"Once again, Juli is rising to the challenge," Mann said. "She has developed nuanced and sophisticated techniques involving grantor-retained annuity trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts and other wealth-transfer options that help clients preserve assets and minimize tax exposure while achieving clearly defined objectives."
While Dreifuss has earned praise from her colleagues for her technical skills, they also cite the empathy she has for her clients and her passion for finding the best solutions to their financial challenges. Serving high-net-worth individuals requires attorneys to navigate often-delicate family dynamics. Dreifuss displays a true talent in this area, her colleagues say.
"Time and again, my colleagues and I have received feedback from clients praising Juli's availability, responsiveness and grace under pressure," Mann said.
Despite building a busy career, Dreifuss has found time to serve her community and profession. She is a member of the Chicago Community Trust Young Professional Advisory Committee and has helped incorporate several animal-welfare organizations. As a result of these efforts, the Animal Legal Defense Fund awarded Dreifuss its Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award.