CLAUDIA REVERMANN practices in the areas of trust and estate planning, taxation, business law, and family law. She is also a certified public accountant. Prior to practicing law, she worked in a large regional accounting firm, doing tax compliance and lending litigation support to family law attorneys and their clients.
After working in other law firms for 11 years, you chose to open a solo practice. What led you to make that change?
Short answer is: I missed the law. For nearly nine years, I was part of a firm that was transitioning and growing. During that time, I had the privilege to partner with wonderful lawyers who shared their skills and expertise with me. I was able to be a sponge and I learned a lot. Those partners encouraged and allowed me to take a very active role in managing the firm. While management was rewarding and challenging, it was clear an imbalance had happened between my desire to practice law and the work of running a successful business. I missed focusing on client work. In going solo, I have found joy in the autonomy and independence. I decide what I will focus on and choose where I will invest my time and energy.
Tell us about your practice and how your background in accounting/tax influences your work.
When our law school property professor warned us that people who know numbers go to medical school, not law school, I smiled to myself. I have been able to structure my practice around areas that help people understand the numbers, whether that is a business owner’s financial analysis, another attorney that has hired me as a financial expert, or a client understanding the tax effect of a transaction. My passion is to educate people with confidence and humbleness.
Have you encountered any surprises as you’ve gotten your solo practice underway? Do you have advice for an attorney opening a solo practice?
I opened my practice as a true solo. Just me. I had never printed an envelope in my career, so I had to learn. I didn’t appreciate all of those little things that I had taken for granted. Six months into it, I hired someone and it’s been such a relief having Barb as part of my team. She doesn’t work for me; she works with me and is a great addition. My advice is to surround yourself with cheerleaders and drivers. I’ve been so fortunate to have great people whose advice and encouragement are invaluable assets to my firm.
What resources are important to you as a solo attorney?
Other people are my most important resource. I have a circle of attorney friends on whom I can call to ask substantive questions, to brainstorm, or to just vent. St. Cloud has a small enough legal community that it lends itself to a very supportive environment. I have received, and still do, many calls from fellow attorneys just reminding me that their phone lines are open if I need anything.
From a business perspective, I rely on online forums such as the MSBA’s solo/small listserv, and a great network of other business owners and consultants.
What activities do you enjoy away from work?
Quality time with my family and friends molds my away-from-work-activities. I’m pretty much up for anything that could be a good time. We boat in the summer, I belong to a pistol shooting league, I try to run a race or two a year, and I enjoy watching my children’s activities. Also, I would travel the world if I could do more of my work remotely and as a “hobby” I plan trips that I never actually take. Someday I will.
You volunteer for the Wills for Heroes program. Would you tell us more about the program and what you do as a volunteer?
I’ve had great experiences being involved with the Wills for Heroes program. At each clinic, an attorney and assistant meet with the first responder and spouse and within an hour they complete a will, power of attorney, and health care directive at no charge. The first responders are always so thankful and it’s humbling to be able help in a meaningful way.
My husband is a police officer and gratefully we have experienced first-hand the power of having community support for these real life concerns. Sadly, my husband’s department experienced a line-of-duty death and that officer had had his will prepared through the Wills for Heroes program. I personally saw the calming effect this planning had on his family and I was happy to have been a part of making that happen for them.