Female Highflier Launches Tax Law Boutique with Big Firm Skills that Lives by Its Values
Bigwig CEOs across the nation are fighting to make the client list of a little-known law firm in Omaha, Neb.
Vandenack Weaver, LLC, founded in 2005 by tax attorney powerhouse Mary Vandenack, has quietly grown into a top-drawer tax, trusts and estates, and business boutique that caters to closely held companies and their owners. Through the firm’s command of the law, optimization of tech and process efficiency, and commitment to a restricted number of clients, Vandenack Weaver delivers results.
“We wield big-firm skills, but we’ll never be big,” Vandenack said when pressed on her decision to limit the firm’s workload despite its stellar reputation and high demand across industries.
Clearly, her method has proved successful. Since founding the firm in the basement of her dad’s office almost 16 years ago, the female highflier and her small outfit have won a host of prestigious awards and honors. From being inducted into the College of Law Practice Management in 2017, to writing a leadership column and acting as Editor-in-Chief for Law Practice Magazine, to winning the American Bar Association’s James I. Keane Award, and being one of a few private practice attorneys named to Women of Legal Tech has caught the attention of elite business circles and high net worth clientele across the country. “I always want the time to work with clients like partners, to gain a deep understanding of their business and their goals, and build meaningful and long-standing relationships. That’s what allows us to perfect our legal and tax strategies,” Vandenack said.
“Mary Vandenack and her staff are able to wade through the emotions of a large family business and develop strategies and solutions to move forward despite the personalities involved,” said Leslie Volk, who made the firm’s client list five years ago for estate and business succession planning. “They also understand the legal and tax implications of their recommendations and present solutions that make for sound business decisions.”
It wasn’t just closely-held companies Vandenack’s success attracted. In 2015, inspired by her work ethic, integrity, and personal approach, Mike Weaver brought his practice to Vandenack’s firm in order to build on the differing strengths of each.
“My practice and Mary’s practice are very similar,” recalls Weaver. “Her desire to provide the best legal services to our clients and her vision of a firm that would be on the cutting edge of technology in doing so really resonates with me. The level of expertise we have is second to none.”
What Vandenack Weaver, LLC most prides itself on, though, is how it lives by its values. The firm’s values are present in its elite, concierge-level service, such as meeting with clients’ key people at their home locations—at no additional charge—joining the relevant business groups, and even exercising alongside clients at their yoga classes.
“For us, our clients are not just opportunities to bill,” says Weaver. “We don’t seek clients based on how much they might add to our bottom line; we seek clients that match up to our values. We want to be more than who the client calls when they are having trouble. We want to be a valuable part of their team, the team that will make them successful, the team driving them to achieve their goals.”
Vandenack Weaver’s dedication to the cutting edge of legal knowledge is another factor that sets them apart. VW lawyers regularly publish and speak on the national circuit about the latest tax happenings, legislative developments and court rulings. There’s also its commitment to technology, automation and innovation, which makes up a crucial part of the firm’s backbone. Vandenack is a long-time commentator for Leimberg Services, one of the best respected tax, trusts and estates publications in the industry.
“I wanted to create a firm that doesn’t just talk about technology and innovation, but that’s serious about both,” said Vandenack, who, along with her 30 years of tax law experience, possesses a systems background. “I specifically wanted efficiencies of scale.”
Efficiencies of scale means pushing for things such as e-signature, process automation, auto doc fill-in and email reminders, mobile-based tools that change service delivery, among other time-saving efficiencies. But it also means creating, for example, a database where the firm’s lawyers save their research in the same place so they can more easily collaborate using each other’s material. As a result, staff efficiency is enhanced, allowing them to dedicate more time to their clients at a better price value.
This approach has attracted top clients as well as top talent to Vandenack Weaver. Monte Schatz, a 30-year veteran of the financial services industry and an expert in resolving disputes among trust beneficiaries and estate heirs, found himself wanting more from the field he loved.
“After several gratifying years in the industry, I still desired to take my prior experience and skills and expand on those skills in the private practice of law,” explains Schatz. “Fortunately, I was able to join a firm with the passion and drive to deliver excellent legal services. At Vandenack Weaver, we utilize technology that produces client driven results while assuring a good legal business model for the members and employees of the firm.”
This is the type of forward-thinking VW exemplifies that Schatz found so unique amongst a large swath of more run-of-the-mill business tax firms. He’s not alone. Each member of VW was drawn here from large firm or corporate environments. The experiences and knowledge obtained while at those large organizations has allowed Vandenack Weaver to deliver those big-picture skills to closely held businesses and individual clients while offering the advantages of a boutique firm: personal client interaction, a passion for what they do, and an effective integration of modern technology.
“I’m really proud of where we are now, in a comfortable place, where we’re living by our core and strategic values, and committing the time and attention needed to every client, and providing services that go far beyond just providing legal documents” said Vandenack.
To find out more, visit https://www.vwattys.com/
Are you a lawyer looking to join a modern, boutique firm? Look no further than VW. It offers a contemporary compensation system, provides health and wellness support including excellent health insurance, and fosters a positive, team-oriented environment that puts the wellbeing of its people first.