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My name is Mark Petersen and I am the owner of Snake River Law PLLC. I briefly want to share with you my background and why I am a “different” lawyer.
I went to law school with the ideology that I could make a difference in people’s lives – that I would serve as a trusted advisor and counselor on legal issues to proactively help my clients plan for their futures. I believed then and continue to believe today that a lawyer should be a client’s most trusted advisor and counselor throughout their lives. However, I found that most often my involvement with a client was a one time event and that I was failing to develop the long-term relationship with my clients. My work was to keep my clients from stumbling their way through a litigation nightmare, hoping that at the end of the road, the clients could salvage some sort of positive resolution.
If I wanted to accomplish my goal as a trusted, life-long advisor for my clients, I needed to become a “different” lawyer. I needed to return to the passion that brought me into law in the first place. I needed to find a way to become a trusted advisor and counselor for my clients. The only question that I then had was “how?” While reading through an ABA email, I discovered something called the Personal Family Lawyer program. The Personal Family Lawyer program was “different”. The Personal Family Lawyer program was client focused and centered on providing quality service to clients. Perhaps most important to me was the focus on developing life-long client relationships where I could serve as a trusted advisor and counselor. So I decided to become a Personal Family Lawyer and “hang my shingle” so I could make the changes to become a “different” lawyer.
So what makes me a “different” lawyer? What have I changed to help me become a trusted advisor and counselor for my clients? As the only Personal Family Lawyer in Idaho, the first thing that I have done with Snake River Law is to banish the hourly fee. I now charge only flat fees for my services so that my clients know up front exactly how much they will be charged – no hidden costs, no hourly fees, and no bills for telephone calls – with everything agreed to up front. My clients can call me and discuss with me any issue or concern without receiving a bill. Whether it is a family law case involving divorce or child custody, or the development of a family wealth plan, my services are billed on a flat rate.
Second, I have committed myself to provide my clients with top quality planning to help protect themselves, their families, and their businesses. My clients not only receive planning documents for their specific family but also receive the long-term follow-up to make sure their planning documents are current. I am also offering membership programs that will allow me to keep my client’s estate plans and business documents up to date and current. What’s great about the membership program is that there are no additional charges for changing or updating their plan or business documents – all of this is included in the membership program. Clients in the membership programs are assured a long-term, positive relationship with me as their trusted advisor and counselor.
Finally, our planning documents focus on more than property and money – the plans also focus on the intellectual, spiritual, and value assets that my client’s hold dear to their hearts so that they pass on to their loved ones much more than just money – it allows them to pass on a portion of their lives and values.
My wife and two children have been great assets in my transformation. The love that I have for them and my desire to protect and care for them has been a great inspiration in becoming a “different” lawyer. They have brought me to an understanding that estate and business planning involves so much more than money – it includes providing a foundation of values to support my children throughout their lives. As a “different” lawyer I strive to provide the same service for my clients and their families.