Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe, LLP
191 E. Deerpath, LF
Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe, LLP is an experienced North Shore estate planning and litigation law firm.
Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce: What was the inspiration for launching Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe LLP?
Rick Lesser: We’re a small law firm by Chicago standards, but actually we’re a large law firm in Lake County. We have 12 lawyers and our practice is primarily estate planning, trust administration (when the plan matures) and litigation that arises out of those matters. We help clients initially by drafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney for health care and property and sometimes more sophisticated instruments as well. Then, when the time comes, we help their named executor or successor trustee to administer the assets of the estate. I’ve been here since in Lake Forest since 1987. We started this law firm in 1997. Originally, we were Bowman and Lesser, and have had some change over time, and now we are Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe.
LFLBC: What is your business vision?
RL: I believe that we are going to continue to grow. We started out with just myself and my old partner Bob Bowman, with a shoeshine and a smile. We’ve managed to go to 12 lawyers. I think we will continue to expand. We have a part-time office in Chicago, and we may go to a more permanent location there, and we may expand out to other states as well.
LFLBC: What is one thing you want people to know about the firm?
RL: That we do high-quality legal work at a reasonable cost.
LFLBC: What other local businesses do you work with?
RL: We do a lot of work with local accounting firms, particularly Pasquesi & Sheppard, Robert C. Brown, Ballen & Company [now ARCC Consulting], and a few others. We also do work with local banks, in particular Lake Forest Bank & Trust. They are part of the Wintrust group which has a corporate Trust Company and we work with them on a fairly regular basis. We do work with other local banks including the Northern Trust Company, BMO Harris and First Midwest Bank; and financial advisors as well, like Merrill Lynch. We also do work with the local insurance agents as well as other allied professionals.
LFLBC: Tell us a little bit about the Chamber’s Legal and Financial Forum.
RL: We started that group in 2003. Because the Chamber does so much for retail, we wanted to add something for the legal and financial service businesses in the community. So, we started the Legal and Financial Forum with the idea that we would meet quarterly, in the early evening 5:30 to 6:30, at a local business’ office or a restaurant. One organization would act as the host, and they would buy the beer! The program would involve about a half hour of networking followed by about a half hour presentation by the host. With the Forum, banks, financial advisors, lawyers and accountants would have a regular means of getting together, which provided a couple of benefits—networking, education, and just a chance to get to see business associates.
LFLBC: How do you give back to the community?
RL: We are very community-oriented. We won the Chamber’s award for community service a couple of years ago. We do actual charity work, as well as a good deal of community involvement. I've been president of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, the Lake County Estate Planning Council and the Lake County Bar Association, as well as the Lake County Bar’s Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the bar. We’ve been very active in local government. I served on the Lake Bluff Village Board for eight years. And my partners have been very active with Lake Forest Caucus, and with the schools in particular.
LFLBC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
RL: Yes. I’d like to point out that it’s very important for people to make estate plans. We provide a very valuable service for our clients. Because when the time comes (and sometimes it comes very unexpectedly) people need to have documents in place. In this country, people have tremendous privacy and also tremendous variety and choice in terms of how they choose to make their own arrangements. Very little is done for you. [With that freedom], the burden is on the individual to create things, such as their powers of attorney for health care and property, which are vitally important for your care and welfare. I see what happens when people come in and there was no plan. It leaves the family members uncertain as to what to do.