What exactly is EPiC?
EPiC is a membership program designed to bolster estate planning law firms on their journey from inception to exit, primarily through confidential participation in peer groups.
These peer groups consist of law firms similarly situated in experience, sophistication and business acumen.
There are 3 different peer group fits.
- Primary Driver groups consist of solo practicing estate planning law firms with up to 2 employees, revenue below ~$300,000 and where the owner attorney is primary in the sales, marketing, production, finance and administrative functions of the law firm.
- Business Operator law firms have 5 or fewer employees, revenue below ~$750,000, and multiple leaders controlling business operations (sales, marketing, production, finance and administration).
- An Enterprise Leader law firm has sales over ~$750,000 and more than two functional leads controlling business operations.
Each member has geographic exclusivity within their group as defined by their geographic marketing area (or they can waive the exclusivity) so as to foster sharing of information and collaboration. A Primary Driver profile may join a Business Operator group; a Business Operator profile may join an Enterprise Leader group. Our facilitators will assess your needs and find the right group fit for your firm.
There are two different meeting formats.
Business Operator and Enterprise Leader groups attend regular two-day, in-person meetings hosted by a different peer group member firm on a quarterly basis. For Primary Driver groups, there is a monthly virtual meeting.
All meetings are scheduled and structured to promote collaboration between members, providing an arena for sharing information and creating solutions alongside peers to address core estate planning law firm operations.
These core operations include: sales and marketing; production of legal work product; finance and administration (including measuring and benchmarking); and strategic planning. Collaboration and sharing efforts are supplemented by content and tools supplied by peers and peer group facilitators.
The facilitators are charged with assisting members in establishing achievable and measurable outcomes on a quarterly basis, for which members choose to be held accountable to by your peers.
Each peer group is paired with a facilitator to lead the sessions, bring content, facilitate exchange of tools, ideas and information, and to ensure that members engage in collaborative and informative discussion.
During a series of WealthCounsel CLE classes being led by Thomas Fafinski in 2014, Fafinski mentioned his longtime participation with a local, non-industry-specific peer group in Minneapolis.
Upon further discussion, Fafinski explained that he had been acting as the facilitator for 2 groups since 2008, and had been a member for years prior to facilitating. One of the founders of WealthCounsel, William Conway, was intrigued by the notion of an industry-specific estate planning attorney peer group.
Conway and Fafinski consulted with Stan Miller, another WealthCounsel founder, and approached WealthCounsel leadership with a beta test concept. By 2015, WealthCounsel launched the peer group solution to 2 groups of attorneys with approximately 18 members and two facilitators—Thomas Fafinski and Nathan Nelson.
Following the yearlong beta test, WealthCounsel approved the program’s continuation. Membership in the peer groups grew, virtual peer groups were established, and the solution was featured at multiple WealthCounsel Symposiums.
In 2020, with full support of WealthCounsel, 5 years of proven performance, 6 peer groups and continued momentum, Thomas Fafinski and Nathan Nelson continued the WealthCounsel Peer Group Solution as EPiC Peer Groups, branding the solution in accordance with comments by members, who described their participation in the peer group solution as EPiC!
About Our Founders
About Thomas M. Fafinski
Thomas Fafinski is co-founder of Virtus Law PLLC, a 7-attorney firm in Minnesota which simulates a general counsel’s office for hundreds of privately held technology businesses and moderate- to high-wealth estate planning.
He graduated 13th in his class at William Mitchell College of Law, cum laude, in January of 1991, and is also a cum laude graduate of the College of St. Thomas, where he secured a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance.
Tom founded Fafinski & Wallrich, PA, which grew to a medium-sized law firm of 10 attorneys, which was eventually purchased by an investor attorney from a large law firm.
Tom had the opportunity to start Virtus Law PLLC with his partner, Nathan Nelson, in 2010.
He has served in an adjunct faculty role at Minnesota state colleges and universities, teaching business law and real estate issues. Tom has also been featured in about a dozen continuing education courses directed toward estate planning for real estate investors, sponsored and promoted by Kaplan, as well as roughly 30 hours of CLE courses on a national estate planning stage.
He is involved in a local round-table business leader peer group and orchestrates several national estate and trust law firm think tank groups.
A frequently published contributor to national periodicals such as WealthCounsel Quarterly, Dakota County Tribune, Star Tribune and various newsletters, Tom has also been featured on Todd Rooker’s radio show “Cover your Assets,” and on multiple episodes of MSP Radio. He is a contributor and member of the national asset protection, tax and estate planning organization, WealthCounsel.
He is admitted in State and Federal Court for Minnesota. Tom is an active real estate investor with commercial holdings with nearly $10M in holdings.
Tom cherishes spending time with his family and extended family and enjoys reading mystery and suspense novels, golf, Mustangs of the ‘60s, his dogs (for the most part) and attending sporting events. He is also a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan.
About Nathan W. Nelson
Nathan W. Nelson is a co-founder and managing partner of Virtus Law. He provides knowledgeable legal representation to his clients in Minneapolis and throughout the state of Minnesota in the areas of business and corporate law, asset protection, estate planning, probate, real estate, income tax planning, and managed service providers.
Before attending law school, Nathan completed his undergraduate studies at Hamline University. He then completed his Juris Doctor at what was then known as the Hamline University School of Law and earned his LL.M. in taxation from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, graduating summa cum laude. He is licensed to practice law in both Minnesota and North Dakota.
A frequent speaker on issues relating to real estate investment and privately held business litigation, Nate is involved in the Minnesota Real Estate Investors Association (MnREIA). He has been a guest speaker for real estate associations, multiple colleges and universities, on Todd Rooker’s radio show “Cover Your Assets,” and Jason Walgrave’s “Home Talk” on ESPN1500.
Nathan serves on the paralegal advisory board for Inver Hills Community College, and he is a Board Member and Housing Boards Committee Chair for the non-profit organization Community Involvement Programs (CIP). His articles have been published by Minnesota Real Estate Investors and in Minnesota Business Magazine, and he was awarded the Rising Star designation from SuperLawyers in 2015 and 2016 as well as the Super Lawyer designation in 2021 and 2022.
In his free time, Nate enjoys watching NFL football, MMA and stand-up comedy, running, and spending time with his three dogs. His favorite bands are Shinedown, Senses Fail and Underoath, and he’s also a very big Marvel Comics fan; his favorite Marvel superhero is Spider-Man, villain is Magneto and movie is “The Avengers” (2012).