In these unprecedented times, even the IRS has had to shelter-in-place until July 15th! Levin & Brend, P.C. would like to provide you with some sense of normalcy. As such, we are sending you our annual “Tax Facts” on what has traditionally been Tax Day.

2020 may be the year of the coronavirus and ZOOM, but 2019 was Jen’s year. Please congratulate Jen on becoming a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in 2019. She was also named an AV-rated attorney again as well as achieving the national distinction of Best Lawyers in America for Family Law and Collaborative Law. Jen was even featured in Chicago Crain’s 2020 edition of “The Book” in a piece focused on ADR.

Jen has really developed a successful ADR practice in the last few years, acting as an Attorney or Financial Specialist in Collaborative Process matters, acting as a Mediator or Financial Specialist in mediations as well as a financial expert in litigated cases. Even during the current pandemic, she is “Zooming” her way through her cases without skipping a beat. Jen has developed into a unique financial expert with the combination of her CPA, LLM in Tax, business valuation and forensic accounting skills and her 16 years of divorce litigation experience. Jen is currently a board member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, sits on the Collaborative Law Committee for the National AAML and spoke at various seminars in last year.

Jen and Jeff’s transition from litigating to mediating cases enabled them to participate in numerous ADR cases in the last year. Jeff is continuing to expand the firms’ business valuation and forensic accounting presence on a national and international basis. This includes acting as the mediator in cases that have business valuation and forensic accounting aspects. Now that we have all been forced to become “Zoom” experts, distance is no barrier. Of course, Jen and Jeff still value businesses and conduct forensic accountings along with John, Greg and Nick. We have been increasingly named the court’s expert in cases. We find this designation helpful in obtaining the cooperation necessary to receive the documents we request.

Nick not only investigates some of the largest forensic accounting cases but is now a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Nick is in the process of sitting for the C.P.A. and A.S.A. exams. He also prepares tax returns and conducts business valuations.

Levin & Brend, P.C. is proud to announce the addition of Marisa Paez, who joined us as a staff accountant. Marisa is currently studying for the CPA exam. Mitchell Wittmann also joined the firm as a financial analyst, and he has successfully passed the CFE exam and the first ASA exam. Marisa has been collaboratively trained and is supporting our ADR and tax practices, while Mitch has been supporting the forensic accounting and business valuation practices.

John, who is a CPA, CFA, ABV, ASA and CFE, continues to be one of brightest business valuation and economic minds in the country. He has the rare ability to clearly enunciate and simplify concepts on the witness stand while clearly explaining the rationale for his expert opinions.

Greg and Caroline prepare complex tax returns and handle IRS audits and contests. Greg also does complex estate planning and business valuations. Caroline remains active in supporting our ADR practice.

It also appears you can teach an old dog new tricks. Jeff learned a lot teaching at the 2019 AAML mediation training. The variety of attendees and instructors from all over the country brought a unique combination of perspectives and skills. Jeff says he use to keep one word running through his mind throughout a mediation, “balance.” Now, he has two, “balance” and “conversation.” Apparently, Elizabeth Hill, an AAML fellow from Kansas, beat this into his head at the 40-hour training. He now sits at the table and mediates with each side, including attorney-assisted mediation, in a conversational and balanced way. Jeff is co-chair of the National AAML’s mediation committee, a mediation instructor and has been named an Illinois Top Ten Collaborative Attorney by Leading Lawyers.

We are always willing to answer a quick tax or valuation question at no charge. We look forward to working with you in 2020. Just a reminder, we will travel anywhere that’s convenient for all involved.

Attached is this year’s Tax Facts pamphlet.

Thanks for your continued support of our firm.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay in touch.

Levin & Brend, P.C.

P.S. The AAML is now allowing applicants to begin the application process in their ninth year of practice. This will allow for admission at the beginning of the tenth year. If you would like to begin the application process please click here. It’s a fantastic organization that leads to lifelong friendships and business opportunities. Jeff and Jen have both offered to assist any applicants in studying for the financial aspects of the national test.