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Council

Estate Planner’s [you supply the “i”] Council

A peer group or mastermind membership program designed to assist 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 two different meeting formats. For Business Operators and Enterprise Leader groups, there is a regular quarterly, two-day, in person meeting at a peer group member location. For Primary Driver groups, there is a monthly virtual meeting. All meetings are scheduled and structured to promote collaboration between members, including sharing information and solutions with peers on core estate planning law firm operations. Core estate planning law firm operations include: (a) sales and marketing, (b) production of legal work product, (c) finance and administration (including measuring and bench marking), and (d) strategic planning.  The collaboration and sharing is 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 quarterly basis for which you 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.

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 are firms with under 5 employees, revenue below ~$750,000 and where there are multiple leaders of the functions of the business operations (sales, marketing, production, finance and administrative). 
  • An enterprise leader law firm has sales over ~$750,000 and there are more than two functional leads in the 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 can be in a business operator group or a business operator profile can be in an enterprise leader group.

HISTORY

During a series of WealthCounsel continuing legal education classes being led by Thomas Fafinski in 2014, Fafinski mentioned his longtime participation with a local, non-industry peer group in Minneapolis.  Upon further inquiry, Fafinski explained that he actually was 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 estate planning law firm industry only peer group.  Conway and Fafinski discussed with Stan Miller, another WealthCounsel founder and approached the WealthCounsel management 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 year-long beta test, WealthCounsel approved the program’s continuation.  Membership in the peer groups grew, virtual peer groups were added 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 that their participation in the peer group solution was EPIC!

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