GREGORY S. DUPONT
After I first graduated from law school, estate planning was my initial focus. As a former accounting major, the detailed financial component was a perfect fit. Beyond that, I was able to counsel my clients, help solve their problems, and serve their needs — everything I originally set out to do. I became an attorney knowing that it was a useful trade, and I seemed to be fulfilling my duty just fine. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I could do more, provide more, be more.
Back in my early years, I was working on a case that involved a trust dispute. While representing the family in a deposition it struck me that the family was ultimately burning through at least $1,500 an hour paying for all of the counsel in the room. I realized that the entire situation could’ve been prevented with proper planning ahead of time, if the family had an advisor they trusted. Although my team and I were meeting a need by helping them settle their conflict, we weren’t addressing the real issue, which was how the problem arose in the first place. It was then that I had a sudden epiphany: I didn’t want to simply capitalize on unfortunate situations — I wanted to safeguard them from happening in the first place. So, I made a change.
I took a few years off from focusing on growing my law practice to take a position with a national financial planning and financial services firm. During that time I also engaged in additional studies to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). My hope was that a broader understanding of the financial services industry and the tools of financial planning would eventually allow me to better guide the clients at my own law firm. Thus, after gaining what I considered to be sufficient experience in the world of finance, I ultimately began to merge my financial planning and legal practices together. I have found that this comprehensive combination gives me the opportunity to more effectively serve both individuals and their families. Now, I get to do what I set out to do all those years ago.
Today, my clients can give me a call and ask advice without worrying about the hourly billable factor. If you’ve seen my commercials, you know that I describe myself as “a friend in the law,” and that’s exactly what I aim to be. Really, it’s not difficult given that I’m a Columbus native, and the people here truly are my friends and family.
To be honest, I find that this friendly approach benefits myself and my clients alike. You see, what I didn’t realize when I was younger was that I didn’t truly just want to master a trade. I experienced work that was soul-sucking, and I came to understand that what I valued most was my relationships with my clients. That’s what gave my work meaning, so that’s what I began to focus on.
I sit down with my clients and 'peel back the onion' so they can understand the ins and outs of their case.