No element of legal practice is more important than service to families. That belief is the foundation of my career as a lawyer.

The happiness and harmony of every highly functioning family depends on its ability to enhance the lives of its members in two important ways. First, such a family constitutes a community bound not just by blood or marriage, but by common values that encourage each of its members to be productive in work, education, and service to each other and to the family's community. In that respect, such a family provides a sense of purpose and direction to its members.

Second, such a family functions to develop the unique talents and aspirations of each of its members, and engenders respect for the differences in its members' capabilities and goals.

A lawyer who is well-trained and motivated by a desire to serve families can be their most important and trusted adviser. That lawyer's role might involve discrete functions, such as the establishment of a family council, a family foundation, or a family "bank" to help finance its members' new ventures. More important, however, that lawyer's role may be long-term, serving as counsel to a family business or as one of the trustees for the family wealth.

Particularly when serving as trustee or as an adviser to the family's trustees and to its business and wealth advisers, the most important role a lawyer can play is as a mentor to younger-generation family members, helping them understand the obligations and benefits of membership in the family, and facilitating each member's efforts to identify and develop his or her own talents, aspirations, and sense of self-worth.

These are the goals to which Michael's law practice is dedicated. Michael has more than 40 years of experience advising clients on all aspects of wealth management, including tax-efficient transfer of wealth, creation of family-controlled structures for long-term financial management and disposition of family assets, risk management, and implementation and oversight of family philanthropic endeavors. Michael represents high-net-worth clients and their families in the full range of their wealth management needs. He provides trusted counsel to venture capitalists, investment bankers, founders of significant private firms, senior officers of publicly owned companies, real estate developers, key executives of pre-IPO and other emerging firms, and families with significant accumulated capital.

In his trust and estate practice, Michael has extensive experience coordinating estate and tax planning for wealthy individuals.

Michael has been quoted on estate and tax planning and philanthropy in The Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes, Financial Planning, U.S. Trust Company of New York's Business Advisor, Family Business Magazine, The Boston Business Journal, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, as well as on National Public Radio.

Representative Engagements

  • Negotiated with the IRS on terms of a private letter ruling to ensure the most favorable tax treatment of donor's multibillion-dollar philanthropic gift to a major U.S. public charity
  • Structured and implemented plans—affecting hundreds of millions of dollars each—for public- and private-company CEOs to benefit both family members and philanthropic interests
  • Coordinated tax and wealth management strategies for multiple generations of several client families to benefit future generations for decades to come
  • Strategically planned early, tax-efficient transfer of stock to children and grandchildren for key investors and executives at emerging technology companies, well before any eventual IPO or similar transaction
  • Enhanced the development program of a national nonprofit organization on a pro bono basis, including advising on sophisticated planned giving opportunities for members
  • Implemented strategic solutions for executors of numerous significant estates, dealing with difficult issues relating to valuation, management, and disposition of interests in significant closely held businesses, resolution of a wide array of tax-planning problems and opportunities, and discharge of fiduciary duties



  • Harvard Law School  (J.D.)
  • Oxford University
    • Rotary Foundation Fellow
  • Dartmouth College  (B.A., summa cum laude)
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Public Service

  • Chairman of the Board, Professional Advisors Committee, The Boston Foundation
  • Overseer, Catholic Student Center, Dartmouth
  • Member, Executive Committee, Dartmouth College Alumni Council
  • Secretary, Dartmouth Educational Association
  • Secretary, Dartmouth Alumni Association of Eastern Massachusetts

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts


  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; Member, Charitable Planning Committee
  • Member, Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises
  • Member, Corporation of Partners HealthCare


  • Recognized by Worth magazine as one of the nation's "Top 100 Attorneys"
  • Received Boston Magazine's FIVE STAR Wealth Manager Award
  • AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized in Chambers High Net Worth under Private Wealth Law
  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business under Private Wealth Law
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for Trusts & Estates in Boston, Massachusetts (since 1995)
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in Massachusetts Super Lawyers© under Estate Planning & Probate (since 2004)

To learn more about third-party ratings and rankings, and the selection processes used for inclusion, click here.

Court and Other Admissions

  • U.S. Tax Court

Firm Highlights


Maine's Evolving Economy and the Future of Remote Work

On June 8, Maine Public published "The Future of Remote Work: The Outlook for Maine Employers and Workers As Offices Re-Open," covering its Maine’s Evolving Economy series that focuses on the shifts in Maine’s...


Maine Legislature Adopts Major Revision to Its Net Energy Billing Program

On July 1, 2021, LD 936, An Act To Amend State Laws Relating to Net Energy Billing and the Procurement of Distributed Generation became law after Maine Governor Janet Mills allowed the legislatively enacted...


Can Nonprofits Require COVID-19 Vaccines?

On June 10, employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez spoke with Maine Association of Nonprofits for its blog post "Help Desk FAQ: Can Nonprofits Require COVID-19 Vaccines?" As MANP continues to receive questions from...


Future of Non-Competes: Insights into Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy


Trademark Litigation: Software

Represented trademark owner in litigation with foreign software company. Successfully defeated motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, which was affirmed on appeal. Also successfully defeated summary judgment motion, which resulted in case settling before...


Massachusetts Now Requires Paid COVID-19 Leave for all Employees

Massachusetts now requires all employers, regardless of size, with Massachusetts employees to offer employees paid, job-protected leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons, including to get or recover from a COVID-19 vaccine. Massachusetts also has established...


MAME's 32nd Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Please join us as we sponsor MAME’s 32nd Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament! Proceeds go to the MAME Scholarship Fund to help support students interested in entering the manufacturing and trade industry in Maine. At...


Portland Maine Business Podcast with Tawny Alvarez

On this week's Portland Maine Business Podcast , a podcast with Shelby Turcotte of Shelby Trained, he interviews employment and labor attorney Tawny Alvarez who shares stories that contributed to shaping her as a...


Advice from Former Portland Charter Commission

On June 23, Portland Phoenix published an article, "Those who have been there predict Portland Charter Commission faces steep learning curve," discussing the organizational meeting with Portland's newly elected Charter Commission. In the meeting...


Copyright Litigation: Software

Defended equipment manufacturer in copyright dispute involving firmware for digital subscriber line access multiplexers (“DSLAMs”). Case resolved favorably.

Contact Verrill at (855) 307 0700