Biography

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

Services/Industries

Education

  • 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

Memberships

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

Honors

  • 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 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

Matter

Community Service

Portland Regional Chamber, Chair (2012-14) Trustee (2008-16; 2019- present) Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, President (2019- ) Trustee (2016-present) Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Trustee (2009 - present) Project Green Schools, Advisory Trustee (2017-present...

News

Paycheck Protection Program Focuses on Short-Term and Misses Long-Term Damages

On June 8, the Portland Press Herald published an article, "Revamped emergency loan program remains a short-term fix," discussing the Paycheck Protection Program's (PPP) extended deadlines and loosened restrictions, but lack of solutions to...

Matter

Political Service

Mayor, City of Portland (2005-2006) Portland City Council (2002-2008) Portland City Council Transportation Committee, Chair (2002-2005) Jetport Master Planning Committee, Chair (2005-2007) Greater Portland Transit District, Trustee (2002-2005) Narrow Gauge Rail Alignment Committee, Chair...

Event

2020 OHRP Exploratory Workshop

Health care attorney Emily Fogler will be presenting at the 2020 OHRP Exploratory Workshop in the third session, discussing sharing responsibilities and protecting participants - redefining roles in the single IRB era. Stay tuned...

Publication/Podcast

PPP: How is Maine Faring?

Originally enacted on March 27, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers loan support and (potentially) loan forgiveness to qualifying small businesses – generally defined as those with not more than 500 employees. According to...

Blog

Financial Institutions . . . In the News

Town & Country Federal Credit Union to host virtual money conference ( Mainebiz 6.23.2020) Connected Credit Union and Winslow Community Federal Credit Union ’s merger is effective June 27 and will be known as...

Blog

IRS Allows Tax-Advantaged Leave Donation to COVID-19 Relief Organizations

Under new guidance, the IRS will give favorable tax treatment to employees who donate leave to COVID-19 relief organizations. In IRS Notice 2020-46 , the agency announced that employees who donate paid leave for...

Publication/Podcast

FDA Issues Guidance on IRB Review of Non-Emergency Individual Patient Expanded Access Requests for Investigational Drugs and Biological Products to Treat COVID-19

Prompted by a substantial increase in requests for individual patient access to investigational drugs and biologics to treat COVID-19, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued guidance on June 2, 2020 that outlines...

News

Verrill Welcomes Esteemed Corporate and Securities Attorney Edward Rosenthal

(June 10, 2020) – Verrill is pleased to welcome corporate and securities attorney Edward Rosenthal to the firm as a member of the Business Law Group. Rosenthal brings with him more than 40 years...

Blog

IRS Issues New Guidance on CARES Act Retirement Plan Distributions and Loans

The IRS recently issued Notice 2020-50 , which expands relief provided for retirement plan distributions and loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Distributions Under the CARES Act, a...