Why have I chosen my area of practice? When I was in law school, I actually declared that “…I did not go to law school to become an estate planner!” That is the most ironic thing I ever said. At the time, I was all caught up in the idea that criminal law was the way to go. By the time I got my Juris Doctor degree, my education in the realities of criminal practice eliminated that goal. When I opened my own law practice, I naturally started off taking practically every case that came in the door. As I became more successful, instead of expanding my practice by taking on associates, I became choosier about what matters I would handle. My background and my American Jurisprudence Award in Trusts and Wills helped bring estate planning and probate cases to me and that was the plurality of my solo practice even at the beginning. It was, by far, the most rewarding practice area. Eventually, I limited my practice solely to that. Estate planning is one area of the law where a good attorney actually saves his or her client money and not at the expense of anyone except for the court system and its minions. I know that, if there was some way to get paid on a contingency based on the amount of the money I save my clients, instead of being paid for drawing up the documents, I would be a far richer man.
If someone comes in who’s deceased loved one did not properly prepare, I can get them through the process of settling that estate. I know the loopholes that can keep an estate out of full-fledged probate and, if there are none, get the estate distributed as expeditiously and as inexpensively as possible.
I deal with my clients person-to-person. I do not hand them a questionnaire to fill out or pass them over to some underling. If someone is seeing me to review a trust, possibly make a trust, will, or similar document, or wants to know how to deal with a decedent’s estate, I do not charge for the consultation. I will explain my fees once I have enough information. I will either quote a flat fee or explain any hourly or court-ordered fees. The client is then free to decide what to do without any obligation to me.
I do not take a case unless I believe that the client will be better off for having retained me. As for me, I am a widower with one adult son. I’ve been a lawyer since 1977. From 1996-2016 I also taught legal subjects part-time, usually, wills and trusts or business law, at various educational institutions, including three or four law schools*, one university, one college, and one community college. I have various hobbies and am always seeking more knowledge.
Robert L. Plunkett’s practice focuses on wills, trusts, probate, estate planning, and avoiding probate. He has been practicing law since 1977 right after earning his Juris Doctor with honors (Cum Laude) from Loyola Law School that same year.
Graduating in the top 10% of his class, he won an American Jurisprudence Award in Trust and Wills. He has taught legal subjects part-time at three law schools, two universities, and a college.
The bedrock of his practice is the philosophy that every client should be better off for having retained him.
Southern California Institute of Law — Former Vice Dean
Volunteer Judge Pro Tem
American Jurisprudence Award for Trusts & Wills
J.D. — Loyola Law School — Cum Laude
B.A. — University of California Santa Cruz