Duffy Kekel LLP

Private Wealth Law Department

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Duffy Kekel is the "pre-eminent boutique estate planning firm" in Portland, says one local insider; "they're definite leaders who do an excellent job of taking a big role in the community." The firm offers guidance on estate planning, tax litigation and trust administration.

In Portland, the firm is said to be "outstanding" and to have "one of the deepest benches in town." It is also praised for its collaborative approach; a Portland estate planning specialist says it is "a wonder of a firm," adding: "How can all these estate lawyers in a state as small as Oregon have such a happy home working side by side? All these lawyers doing the same work! It's kind of amazing they have a firm that gets along. They have really good people."

Notable practitioners

Charles Mauritz is known for having a large agribusiness practice, primarily in Eastern Oregon, where he advises family businesses. "Chuck is a straight shooter," reports a fellow estates attorney; "he’s very savvy with tax planning but not one of those lawyers who tries to load up an estate plan with savings, opportunities or strategies that let the client lose track of what's going on. He doesn't overcomplicate the situation, and that's really important - we can all do really fancy things, but if the client can't follow them they're to little or no avail." Another interviewee reports on a recent matter where Mauritz had drafted a family's trust documents, saying: "I thought the trusts were great documents - very forward-thinking. He did really good work in drafting those. The small details, while obtuse, put his work and the family's trust in great stead for years ahead."

Philip Jones has a broad practice in estate planning and contentious trusts and estates, and is particularly well regarded for his expertise in income tax matters. He is seen as a "guru" in this practice area, with a hugely impressive academic understanding of estates law. "I refer to him as Professor Phil," says one source, and another praises Jones for "going out of his way to educate people" in the estate planning community. "He's very knowledgeable, and willing to help other attorneys in town," reports a further interviewee; "he's practical in his advice - he doesn't generate work for billable hours, it's all about solutions."

Shannon Connelly is "very well thought of" in the community, says a local source who also reports that "she offers a great combination of personality and law proficiency." Connelly acts on behalf of private high net worth clients in estate and tax planning matters. Another estate planner says Connelly is "really smart, and somebody who is really good with clients. She is good for clients who want something organised and for everything to be in order and punctual."

Timothy Wachter is well regarded for his work on trust administration, probate and general estate planning matters. "Tim is an excellent lawyer," says one interviewee; "he's very detail-oriented and very careful – some clients really like that." Wachter is known for working with family businesses. "Tim isn’t going to play games or be two-faced," says a source; "in the family context, you need that reasonableness."