Michael L. Solomon, managing member in the law firm of Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd.,says he enjoys solving problems.
His field of expertise includes estate planning, corporate and business law, tax law, and employee benefits.
“I enjoy dealing with a variety of people and trying to solve their problems,” said Solomon. “A significant portion of my practice deals mostly with individuals who own their own businesses. There are always interesting issues that pop up with these sorts of clients. The issues might involve selling the business and negotiating the best deal and tax consequences or how to transfer the business to the next generation of family members and all of the family dynamics involved with that.”
A frequent speaker both locally and nationally on tax and business related topics, Solomon has co-chaired American Bar Association National Institutes on Pension Issues. Additionally, he has been the president of the Ohio Venture Association and was a member of the board of directors of the Cleveland Area Development Finance Corp.
CJN: What recent changes in business and acquisitions law have had the most impact on your clients?
Solomon: The reduction in the federal estate tax law have changed the costs of transitioning family businesses to the next generation. Additionally, the major changes in taxation of businesses has led to new planning for many of my clients.
CJN: What is the most common mistake your clients and their families make?
Solomon: With my business clients, the older generation sometimes will delay succession planning and just put off facing the issue. In particular, if there are children in the business, the parents are reluctant to make a decision that might seem preferential to one child, such as naming one child the leader of the organization going forward. Then when the older generation passes, they leave a mess for the next generation.
CJN: What is your most frequently given piece of legal advice?
Solomon: Address your legal issues early on. Procrastination does not solve the problem.
CJN: What do you most dislike about dealing with other lawyers?
Solomon: Fortunately for me, most of the time when I deal with lawyers, the dealings are professional even if we disagree. I have had very few situations where I have felt the other lawyers are hostile or reacting irrationally. In a business transaction, I have been fortunate that the other side usually does not consider the negotiation a zero-sum game.
CJN: Should someone go online to prepare their legal documents?
Solomon: Most people should not just go online to find a form document. When you hire an attorney, you are not just buying a document, you are buying advice and counsel. If your attorney has experience, he or she will know the right questions and help you consider different contingencies. Also, the attorney can give you good advice on what is practical and what may be too complicated for your situation. For example, just because you can buy a trust form online does not mean you should use a trust.