2018 Leading Adviser Supplement

54 Acquisition International - Leading Advisers 2018 1807AI42 Michele Fuller founded Michigan Law Center with the intention of helping prospective clients with their estate planning goals. Eight years later, Acquisition International acknowledged Michele in the 2018 Leading Adviser Awards with the title of Leading Elder Law Attorney of the Year, for the state of Michigan. Following the win, we spoke to Michele to find out how she helps her clients through her expertise in special needs and elder law planning. irstly, Michele talks us through what she founded Michigan Law Center to do, “we help protect assets and access resourc- es for typical families but focus on those with disabilities -whether those disabilities are ac- quired at birth or later in life- in order to allow them the greatest degree of independence and vitality of life through expertise, advocacy and innovation.” Graduating from the Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts (honors) in International Rela- tions, she attended the American University of In- ternational Law Master’s program in 1993. From there, between 1993 and 1996, she completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Among her many accolades and achievements, she is a long-standing member of the advisory board for the Academy of Special Needs Planners, received the 2018 State Bar of Michigan Unsung Hero Award and is a nationally published author. Her pursuit of excellence extends to all aspects of her professional life. Always eager to improve on her business and personal skillset, Michele frequently seeks oppor- tunities to become the best attorney she can pos- sibly be in her field, and encourages her team to do the same: “I have participated in coaching with Atticus for the last seven years which has been a tremendous catalyst for positive change. We have an incredible team and firm culture. Everything we do is based on our firm values. We also focus on professional development of the team and encour- age them to stretch their skills to achieve measura- ble goals, both technical and personal.” Continuing professional development is essential in keeping apace of the sector. In this, Michele agrees, but also emphasizes the importance of nurturing an expertise in a niche area of law, “I think the practice of law is evolving, and the challenge for those in the special needs and elder care is the need to provide an excellent client experience.” For Michele, the biggest challenge to those prac- ticing specialised estate planning lies in the rise of technology, and the ease that potential clients can access planning solutions online without the need for a trained attorney, “The biggest changes to our pro- Company: Michigan Law Center, PLLC Address: 45200 Card Road, Suite 108, Macomb, Michigan 48044, United States Website: www.michiganlawcenter.com Telephone: 001 586 803 8500 The Expert in Elder Law F fession is the availability of inexpensive online one size fits all planning. Artificial intelligence in the legal field will challenge practitioners to evolve in how we practice.” Ultimately, as is the case for many areas in the professional services sector, it’s a ‘survival of the fittest’ – adapt to fit the changing environment. To help achieve this, Michele has cultivated a pro- active, collaborative and goal-oriented work envi- ronment, “I go to quarterly coaching group meet- ings where I prepare 90-day goal sheets. The first workday back, I share the concepts I’ve learned and have the team prepare their own 90-day goal sheets. The goals are both work-related and per- sonal: drink more water, exercise 3x a week, iden- tify a mess to clean up, identify specific goals and breakdown necessary steps to take, etc.” This approach plays directly into Michele’s plans for the future, which revolve around expansion into new areas and growing existing projects, “I am fo- cused on developing and expanding my team. I am the President of a non-profit, Advocacy, that acts as Trustee for complex special needs trusts. We are developing a marketing plan for Advocacy so that colleagues and families know we are available and how we can help families that need an expert, in- dependent trustee. Also, I am continuing to expand my national reach for mass tort settlement planning using qualified settlement funds.” When it comes to potential future developments in the greater elder law sector, Michele points to changes in government funded benefits and aid, “Key developments in our industry will come about due to changes in government benefits and budg- ets to fund key services that support our clients to meet basic need for income, housing, food, and care services, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.” Michele’s dedication to constant improvement, and her undisputed expertise in the field of elder law and special needs care planning have marked her among a select few. The Leading Adviser program was launched to recognize lawyers and consultants around the world who were achieving extraordinary success, regardless of prominence, or size. Michele more than deserves her place among these fellow leaders in law. Leading Elder Law Attorney of the Year, Michigan

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