When Cohen Pollock & Merlin commenced doing business in 1977 it was, essentially, an estate and tax planning boutique. The vision was for it to be a “cutting edge” planning firm that would implement family planning strategies for wealth accumulation, preservation and transmission with minimum realistic tax consequences and maximum possible creditor protection - all consistent with the client’s life goals. The Firm also had an underlying philosophy of practicing law in a collegial environment with like-minded and mutually respected colleagues. Our goal was to practice law at the highest professional level with our clients’ needs as our guiding philosophy while also ensuring a healthy life and work balance. Missing a family event for work was frowned upon and contributing time and support to the broader community was emphasized.
This original philosophy of our Firm was summed up succinctly by Elliott Cohen, founding partner, in a letter he wrote to the Firm’s attorneys in 1999; he said:
When our Firm was formed many years ago, it was my intention to create a firm which would lack pomposity and arrogance, which would be devoid of internal politics and which, at the same time, would render high quality, innovative services on a responsive basis with continuing concern for our clients' well-being. Additionally, it was my hope that those associated with the Firm would put back into the community, through civic or charitable pursuits, some of the success which would, hopefully, accrue to us. Perhaps the concept was utopian; nevertheless, over the course of these past years, it proved valid, and the Firm has prospered.
Through the years, our practice areas expanded beyond its original scope to encompass corporate, transactional and real estate work, commercial litigation, and creditors’ rights. As our clients’ businesses continued to expand and deepen, the client relationships we pride ourselves on drove the need for us to expand our own services. We are proud of how we have broadened our platform to provide these essential services to our families and the businesses they own while maintaining our core philosophy. This pride is manifested by our continued representation, in more than one instance, of the children and grandchildren of some original clients.
Today, our Firm remains one of the few law firms still in existence whose roots can be traced back 40 years. Despite consolidation in the legal industry and the prominence of mega firms with locations throughout the world, our Firm has continued to remain independent and to provide cost-effective, high-quality services in a responsive manner. Our corporate, real estate, commercial litigation, and creditors’ rights attorneys routinely handle matters in which large multinational firms appear on the other side. The ability of our attorneys to mesh expertise in multiple legal disciplines and sophistication of service with a lower cost structure while, most important, retaining the personal relationship with the client, has been our recipe for success over these 40 years.
New Name | New Brand
We are now celebrating a new name and new branding for the Firm. As we change our name to Cohen Pollock Merlin Turner, P.C., it is appropriate to discuss the rationale for the change and how it integrates with the Firm’s long history.
In 2004, Tony Turner joined our practice. At this time, “estate planning” was a jeopardized practice area as Congress had “repealed” the estate tax, at least for the year 2010. Firms were moving quickly to jettison their estate planning partners as this was seen as a “dying” area. Estate planning became relegated, as in days of old, to drafting “wills and trusts”, and then only when required by their clients. Young attorneys were being discouraged from becoming sophisticated estate planners.
Why, then, did our Firm take a risk by adding Tony Turner, one of the city’s pre-eminent estate planners, when others were quickly distancing themselves from the practice area? I think there were two decisive factors: The first, and foremost, was that Tony was such an impressive attorney and person that our belief in him, his expertise and his future vision was more compelling than the “sky is falling” scenario that was being painted for estate planning in general. The second was recognition that the roots of this Firm and the fuel that drove its growth and expansion were family planning and counselling. Abandoning these roots was something that was just not in our DNA.
Needless to say, our decision proved to be a wise one as our Firm has now become an acknowledged leader in family wealth planning services and Tony has become the leader of that practice. In fact, it is quite probable that our estate and wealth planning practice is the largest in Atlanta. Meanwhile, our corporate and real estate practices have continued to flourish and our litigation services have expanded their scope to encompass fiduciary litigation and also construction, creditors’ rights and general commercial matters. Our Firm continues to remain positioned to provide the highest quality legal services with the all-important personal attention in all of these areas. We continue to believe that this combination gives us a most substantial competitive advantage in today’s legal market.
Tony’s name in the Firm signifies a new chapter in our history and a reaffirmation of both our core philosophy and our unwavering commitment to the future.
Perhaps, the most exciting aspect of our new branding is our focus on the future. A law firm, at 40 years of age, must focus on succession. We are very excited about the outstanding young legal talent, many of whom are taking on leadership roles in their practice areas and in the Firm’s governance. This ensures that the Firm remains a leader in both our practice areas and in our internal operations.
And so, in closing, WELCOME TO COHEN POLLOCK MERLIN TURNER, P.C.