About

About our Founder

about
Jane M. Simon

I founded LawWriter to deliver a new model of meeting families’ legal needs. The traditional model of delivering estate planning and family business services is based on a broken-down model of billable hours, impersonal transactional form documents, and fleeting relationships with clients. In contrast, I guide my clients to make the best legal and financial decisions for their families by serving as a lifetime trusted advisor. You see, I started out my legal career in litigation, and it was not a happy experience. Perhaps you’ve been involved in litigation yourself and have experienced fighting against an opponent all day long, each litigant trying desperately to defeat and wear down the rival at all costs.

That was not the reason I went to law school.

Instead, I desired a career where I could serve as a trusted advisor, counseling people to make a difference in their lives.

I wanted to work WITH people (not against them) to come up with a solution where everyone wins, and that is the foundation for my work today.

Enriching Lives Today Through Preserving Legacies

I see planning as so much more than a set of documents to stick on a shelf, never to be thought of again. Families’ lives change, the law changes, and plans that aren’t kept up to date fail when the families need it most. I ensure that families’ plans work when they need it most by encouraging communication with my clients and keeping the plans up to date. Our office doesn’t charge additionally for phone calls since our fees are all flat fees agreed to in advance.

I also believe that planning for families involves so much more than simply preserving financial assets. A family’s riches are made up of their spiritual, human, and intellectual assets in addition to their monetary wealth, so I’ve developed a system to pass on those intangible assets as well by recording parents’ wishes and advice to their children. In this manner, families and their businesses can truly leave a legacy behind.

Loss Can Be Sudden

When I was a young lawyer, my dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. My parents had worked with a lawyer in my hometown and had a living trust in place; however, the lawyer never properly ensured that my parents’ assets were moved into the trust. Consequently, my dad’s estate plan failed when my family needed it most. As a result, my family was forced through the probate process, costing my family a great deal of money, time, and heartache.

Two years after that my brother, who was 36 years old at the time, died leaving behind a wife and two children, ages 6 and 4. Although my brother left behind some life insurance to care for his family (thank goodness) he really wasn’t prepared to die that young and that was the only planning he and his wife had in place. As a consequence, life hasn’t been so easy for his wife and children since then.

These two family experiences have profoundly shaped the way I practice law today. These experiences taught me that having a fully completed plan in place is important no matter how old a person is or how healthy. These experiences also taught me the importance of preserving intangible assets like thoughts and wishes. How I wish I could have a recording or writing of some kind to remember my dad and to know what he thought of my siblings and me. I often imagine what it could have meant for my brother’s children to be able to watch a video of him speaking to them about their futures.

My Mission

Because of my personal family experiences, I am on a mission to educate families about the importance of planning so that the loved ones who are left behind are well provided for, both financially and spiritually. As a certified Family Business Lawyer®, my practice includes wealth preservation and planning for both families and their businesses to pass on their most important assets. I specialize in working with families with young children, special needs families, blended families, other types of new normal family units, and families with businesses. As the mother of a child with autism, I understand first-hand the special challenges faced by families with special needs children, and I am uniquely qualified to help solve these families solve their problems.

I serve my clients by bringing laser focus to unique issues facing their families, and I strive for a no stress atmosphere by explaining complex and confusing legal concepts in ordinary and easy to understand terms.

All Roads Lead to Today

I reside in Valparaiso, Indiana with my three children, Sarah, Matthew, and Claire. I am licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. In addition to my practice, I am also a professor at Notre Dame Law School, ensuring that my legal knowledge stays cutting-edge and up to date as I educate the next generation of lawyers.

I earned my law degree with honors from Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana, where I served as Executive Editor of the Indiana Law Journal. I practiced law for several years at the Chicago office of McDermott, Will & Emery, an international law firm well known for its estate planning practice. I also served as a law clerk to the Federal Judge Wayne R. Andersen of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

I am a frequent author and speaker on family wealth and estate planning issues for local community and parent groups. I am also a Personal Family Lawyer®, Creative Business Lawyer® and Family Business Lawyer®, all of which are designations certified by the Family Wealth Planning Institute. In addition, I am a member of Wealth Counsel.

Enriching your family’s life today through securing their future is so important because it’s a lot easier for you to take care of things today than it is for your family to take care of things tomorrow after you’re gone if you don’t. My family is living proof of that.