Luce Forward Announces New Business Succession Planning Team – New team at prominent California firm to addressing ever-changing needs of owners of closely held businesses

SAN DIEGO (June 25, 2009) –Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP, a leading California law firm with approximately 190 attorneys throughout the State, today announced it has established a new Business Succession Planning Team, to help family-owned and closely held business owners transfer their businesses to the next generation or profitably dispose of them.

The Business Succession Planning Team at Luce Forward is uniquely qualified to assist the closely held business owner in developing a business succession plan that will successfully carry out his or her tax and nontax objectives. This distinctive qualification is enforced by the team’s combined legal experience in business, corporate, family wealth and exempt organization, fiduciary litigation, international estate planning, taxation, and securities.

“Luce Forward is a forward-thinking firm, dedicated to proactively providing solutions which address emerging client needs,” said Louis A. Mezzullo, a Partner at the firm who will lead the new team. “By forming the firm’s new Business Succession Planning Team, we are able to better provide answers for business owners who are faced with many complex issues that impede them from transferring their businesses to the next generation.”

In addition to Mezzullo, the newly formed Business Succession Planning Team consists of seasoned Luce Forward attorneys, Partners Jason A. Femrite, Michelle B. Graham, and Phil L. Jelsma, and Special Counsel, Karl A. Rand.

“Family and closely held businesses have built California, and Luce Forward’s new Business Succession Planning Team will work with the people who own and run them as we all work to build the new California,” said Kurt L. Kicklighter, Luce Forward’s Managing Partner. “The entire team is comprised of experienced Luce Forward attorneys whose collective knowledge and diversity showcase the strength in our firm’s trust and estates group.”

Mezzullo, ranked No. 1 by Chambers USA in Wealth Management for the Western Region – National, has more than 32 years of experience, focusing on taxation, estate and business succession planning, and employee benefits. He is also one of the top 50 lawyers in the San Diego Super Lawyers in 2009. Mezzullo is the immediate past chair of the American College of Tax Counsel, current Treasurer of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, current Chair of the Business Planning Subcommittee of the Estate and Gift Taxes Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation, current Vice-Chair of Publications of the ABA Section of Taxation, and past Chair of the ABA Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law. Mezzullo is a former member of the faculty of the University of Miami School of Law Graduate Program in Estate Planning. Recognized as an expert in the industry, he lectures for the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Virginia Bar Foundation, and will be teaching a course in business succession planning at the University of San Diego Law School in the Fall of 2009.

Founded in 1873, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP is a full-service California law firm with offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel Valley/Del Mar, Orange County and Rancho Santa Fe. For more information, visit
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